This article describes the process of updating and broadening the collection policy of the Ohio Public Policy Archives (OPPA) at The Ohio State University Libraries to include a more diverse representation of policy and policy making on the national level. The author conducted a thematic analysis of peer congressional collecting policies to determine whether a notable difference exists between language describing the acquisition of congressional collections and language describing the acquisition of public policy collections. The thematic analysis highlights new areas of focus and reinforces the research value of congressional collections. OPPA's updated collection policy built on the identified themes to further illuminate the research value of congressional collections while also making room for the addition of new perspectives on the U.S. policy-making process.
Following his decision not to seek a fifth term in Congress, Senator John Glenn wrote to then-president of The Ohio State University, Gordon Gee, sharing his ideas for the future of his personal, NASA, and congressional papers. Glenn posed questions that would please any archivist—questions about how his papers would fit alongside other manuscript collections at Ohio State, how they would be supported and further developed, and how they would be used to support instruction and education.1 Without knowing it, Glenn modeled the best of what a collection policy should do—establish scope and fit, identify programs and stakeholders supported, and create a cohesive plan for growth.
Collection policies can serve as a North Star for archival programs, but as F. Gerald Ham warned in his 1974 Society of American Archivists (SAA) presidential address, collection development that is too narrow can also turn archivists and repositories into weathervanes, all too sensitive to the changing focus of current historical scholarship.2 As researchers refocused the documentation of history away from powerful, elite, and privileged individuals—often male—and toward the experiences of “ordinary people” and social histories,3 so too have archivists reevaluated and refocused their acquisition activities to preserve narratives traditionally underrepresented in archival collecting institutions. Perhaps at odds with the school of social history of the past forty years are congressional collections; yet, as Maurita Baldock and J. Wendel Cox demonstrate, congressional collections contain a wealth of research materials representing the diversity of American public interests, political processes, and functions of government. Baldock and Cox argue that congressional collections are a natural “first stop and point of return” for any researcher interested in American political issues.4
If congressional collections are indeed experiencing a “weathervane moment,” there is great opportunity in embracing the broader history of U.S. policy making. With Baldock and Cox's “new perspective” on the role of congressional collections in the context of cultural and social history, how can collecting institutions such as the Ohio Public Policy Archives (OPPA) use their collection policies to speak to the value of congressional collections within the landscape of American policy making? How can policy language specifically address the significance of congressional collections through the evidence of collaboration, process, and politics rather than only through the stature and reputation of the member of Congress? This article addresses these questions through thematic analysis, a qualitative method, of congressional collection policies. The results illuminate new language that the author was able to incorporate into the new collection policy with the purpose of broadening the collecting interests in public policy and policy making while also highlighting the research significance of existing congressional collections.
The Ohio Public Policy Archives, formerly known as the Ohio Congressional Archives, is a collaborative effort of The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The archives was established in 2004 following the recommendations put forth by the Third Report of the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress for the “development of statewide Public Policy Centers that include a strong archival component with a focus on political and public policy documentation.”5 The papers of Senator John Glenn, which were donated to the university in 1999, served as the core collection and foundation upon which the archives solicited and attracted papers of other members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress. The archives also solicited collections in the spirit of House Concurrent Resolution 307, which expressed the “sense of the Congress that members' congressional papers should be properly maintained” and that members should arrange for the donation of their papers to dedicated centers or institutions properly equipped to manage them.6
The first collection development policy was last updated in 2013 and prioritized the acquisition of materials from the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress before, during, and after their time in office; the materials of their personal advisors and staff; and the papers of those who actively campaigned for but failed to win a seat in the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress.7 In 2019, the archives held ten collections that totaled approximately 1,910 cubic feet and included the papers of two senators, seven representatives, and one political advisor and U.S. ambassador. The most recent acquisition was the papers of Representative Patrick Tiberi in 2018.
In 2019, following the retirement of the Ohio congressional archivist, Ohio State University Libraries hired a public policy archivist to manage the collection. The archivist position not only changed title but was also reclassified as a tenure-track faculty position to include a more clearly defined collaborative and instructional relationship with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Prior to 2019, instructional activities primarily drew from the John Glenn Archives and focused on Ohio State University undergraduate courses in history and English, with occasional outreach to area library science programs and elementary school programs. Despite being united by the legacy of John Glenn's gift to the university, little instructional collaboration existed between the John Glenn College and the archives. The college's curriculum is increasingly data- and policy-driven, with nearly a quarter of graduates from the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science programs seeking employment in the nonprofit sector.8 For the John Glenn College, the concept of public service does not necessarily lead graduates to seek work in government or elected office. This prompted the archivist to think how the archives could better serve both the faculty and students of the John Glenn College through broadening collecting efforts into the public policy, management, and leadership fields while still maintaining strength in congressional collections. The process of reevaluating collection priorities required an understanding of the history of preserving the records of Congress and of peer archival collecting practices. Both processes were critical for the archivist to better understand the nature of congressional and political collections in the U.S. archival landscape.
Since the 1970s, efforts have advocated for the coordinated collection and preservation of congressional collections. In 1978, the Conference on the Research Use and Disposition of Senators' Papers convened in response to the “recent interest in ‘non-elite' history that has prompted many to recognize the intermediary role all congressional representatives play between the public and the federal government.” The conference addressed the “concern for senators' records” and how to process, store, and provide access to them.9 It would not be until the conference at Harpers Ferry in 1985 that a set of actionable recommendations for repositories storing congressional collections emerged.10 Sponsored by the Dirksen Congressional Center and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Harpers Ferry Conference echoed previous calls for the preservation of congressional records. The Congressional Papers Project Report (a.k.a. The Harpers Ferry Report) established the minimum standards for congressional collections and repositories, records management in Congress, and strategies for cultivating relationships between congressional offices and repositories. The report's section on “Standards for Congressional Collections” outlines the prioritization process for accepting collections based on the member's stature and relationship with the constituency, in addition to the quality and the manageability of the collection.11
The publication of The Documentation of Congress: Report of the Congressional Archivists Roundtable Task Force on Congressional Documentation in 1992 identified the creation of a collection policy statement as a key step toward a collective documentation strategy for the U.S. Congress.12 On this recommendation, Faye Phillips adapted the rubric presented in her 1984 article, “Developing Collecting Policies for Manuscript Collections,” to meet the needs of congressional collections and archivists.13 The rubrics for congressional collections and manuscript collections have remained a de facto standard for collecting repositories.
Efforts advocating for the collection of congressional collections often stress the unique demands these collections pose on repositories, archivists, and researchers. In Managing Congressional Collections, Cynthia Pease Miller stresses the importance of congressional collections going to repositories with the necessary staff and facilities to manage their large size and complexity.14 Large congressional collections require more space and processing time than traditional collections and, in many cases, expert knowledge of congressional culture and the legislative process.15 Similarly, the size and breadth of congressional collections present researchers challenges in navigating their complexity and their geographical distribution across the country in home-state public policy centers or universities.16 Given these challenges, administrators and archivists alike may question the feasibility and returns on investment when acquiring high-profile and resource-intensive collections. Not only does the presence of a collection policy provide a way to formally identify existing collecting strengths and interest in collecting congressional collections, it also serves as a method to refine the scope of collection and decline collections out of scope.
The advantages and disadvantages of archival collection policies have been well chronicled. While many agree that collection policies are a vital first step to engaging in collection, management, and appraisal activities, others warn about the rigidity and the low adoption rate of standardized policies.17 Phillips' rubric still provides the strongest case for adopting a standardized approach to documenting the policies that govern an institution's collection activities. The argument for a standardized structure and terminology rests on the belief that a shared language can reduce competition among repositories by encouraging comparison of different policies and ultimately lead to greater collaboration among institutions with similar or adjacent collecting interests.18
Comparison and sharing of policy language are often encouraged in archival practice. However, the archival literature does not reflect a structural approach to the work of comparison. A handful of studies examine collection policies across a wide-spectrum of institutions. In 2001, Cynthia Sauer explored the perceived conflict in the literature around the virtues and limitations of cooperative collecting policies.19 Jennifer Marshall and Tara Wink used content analysis to evaluate the application of Philips's framework across a collection of web-accessible and publicly available collection policies.20 Both studies determine that consensus among the structure and content of collecting policies is limited, despite the seeming ubiquity of Phillips's rubric.
These examples provide valuable insight into the methods used to conduct a cross-institutional study of collection policies. While the literature primarily focuses on analysis of the content, structure, and inferred value of collection policies, little speaks to the language of collection priorities between institutions of similar collecting interests, irrespective of real or perceived collecting competition. To that point, the literature on policy analysis seems to focus on collection policies across heterogenous institutions. Even Marshall's policy review of university and college archives is not entirely homogeneous, as it indicates many of the surveyed institutions most likely have dual responsibilities to archives and special collections as opposed to singularly archives or special collections.21, 22
This research project analyzed collection policy language among congressional collecting institutions representing a homogenous sample. The project's goal was to determine whether a notable difference exists between language describing the acquisition of congressional collections and the language describing the acquisition of public policy collections. Analysis of policies with similar collecting interests enabled comparison of policy language as it relates to collecting priorities without concern for inclusion of specific format or elements. Unlike previous studies,23 where comparison of collection policies was challenging due to inconsistent application of recommended elements, this study analyzed language in the entire policy, regardless of where it appeared.
While the chosen methodology in this project is similar to that of other studies of collection policies,24 the goals of this research were markedly different. The ultimate goal of this analysis was practical in nature and was intended to inform updates to a local collection policy. Congressional collecting policies were identified for inclusion in this study using convenience sampling. First, the author consulted the list of institutional members of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and the Society of American Archivists' Congressional Papers section and browsed institutional websites for publicly available collecting policies. The author also solicited collection policies from the SAA's Congressional Papers Section listserv and received two policies that were publicly available and had previously been identified. A total of twelve policies were collected. A small number of the policies were for collecting units focused specifically on congressional collections, but the majority of collected policies included congressional collections as a collecting interest within a larger special collections or archival collection policy. All collected policies are publicly available.
This study used thematic analysis, a flexible qualitative methodology used to compare data with the purpose of identifying themes or patterns.25 Analysis began with the author first reading through and becoming familiar with the language, structure, and priorities of each collected collection policy. Once familiar with the data, the author then reread each policy while creating codes for phrases or words within the policy. Codes were identified through an inductive approach, meaning the data guided the identification of themes as opposed to the author approaching the data with a predetermined code set (known as a deductive approach). Once all policies were reread and coded, the author established the initial code set, combined repetitive codes, and normalized language. Once a manageable code set was established, the author reread and recoded the policies with the new code set.
Next, the author analyzed the codes and the relationships between them. Using sticky notes and other visual representations, the author physically organized codes into themes or thematic categories. This process was iterative, and, at some points, the author identified many themes and subthemes, only to rearrange them. This process ended when no new themes emerged, also known as analytical saturation. It should be noted that the author was the only researcher, and important aspects of qualitative analysis that ensure the credibility of a study, such as researcher triangulation and peer debriefing, were not present.26 The author justified pursuing this study despite this possible shortcoming given the study's exploratory and pragmatic nature.
Of the 12 collecting policies reviewed, 2 lacked language specifying a congressional or public policy collecting focus, despite the author's knowledge that such collections existed at the institution. These policies were removed from the data set. Of the remaining 10 policies that did reference a congressional or public policy focus, four major collecting effort themes were identified: 1) official actors, 2) unofficial actors, 3) process and procedures of government, and 4) topical specialties. These themes, outlined in Table 1, highlight the flexibility with which congressional or political collections can build their collections.
The first, and most evident, theme represents what can be thought of as a traditional “top-down”27 collecting focus for congressional archives. The official actor theme represents a focus on collecting the records of elected or appointed individuals with a constitutional role in policy making. This includes officials on the local, state, and federal levels of government, “alumni who have distinguished themselves in government service,” state congressional delegations, the federal judiciary, and presidential cabinets.28
Some policies reference individuals, often notable for their public service and connected to the home institution, whose donations—records or financial gifts—establish the archives and direct the collecting focus. Such individuals, thematized as official actors, were coded as cornerstone collections and, in some cases, were named donors of the archives or center. Of the 10 policies with a congressional collecting focus, 6 indicated the gift and or influence of a cornerstone collection as setting the direction for future collection.
The records of official actors make up what are traditionally considered congressional papers—or records demonstrating the history and activities of congressional offices. Their organization around a central member of Congress is an artifact of traditional manuscript and archival collecting practices but is also a response to the collection jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). While official administrative, legislative, and committee records are destined to be kept at NARA, the files generated by a congressional office are considered the property of the member.29
A handful of policies supported the collection of materials from individuals or groups who were involved in the creation of public policy within the U.S. political system yet did not have a constitutional or legally mandated role. Organizations such as political parties, grassroots organizations, and non-government organizations play vital roles in researching and enacting public policy. Additionally, observers such as journalists, cartoonists, and scholars are not directly involved in the policy-making process but study, report, or document it and may influence or reflect public opinion regarding a particular policy or the political process as a whole.
One repository includes “social and political activism” among its collected subject areas and seeks to expand documentation of “political parties in [the state] beyond the Democratic Party.”30 In some regions, labor unions are a powerful political force, and collecting policies, such as the one at a midwestern university that collects the “records of labor unions and community advocacy groups” as part of its Political Papers unit, reflect that significance 31
Process and Procedures of Government
This theme represents the iterative nature of policy making and the various processes of making meaning in policy or enacting it. The theme seeks to unify collecting foci that relate to the process-driven aspects of government and policy, not solely the participants. One institution's policy is to collect records “that contribute to the understanding of American political history and practice.”32 This includes the interaction of official and unofficial actors and also collecting interests that focus on the process and not necessarily the participants. This theme also addresses collecting in areas that demonstrate civic engagement, or, as one policy states it, “the dynamic relationships between people and government,”33 or another, “where public interest intersects with the three branches of government.”34 This theme is also explored through the election processes or the process of campaigning.
Process and procedures of government may be present in official and unofficial actor collecting efforts, but the fact that this theme presents itself distinctly throughout the data set suggests a pivot in how congressional collections are collected, understood, and interpreted.
The final theme concerns specific topics of policy focus. In many cases, the topical or subject-based collecting goals are related to the expertise, interest, and policy history of official actors' collections but may also be issues of local or regional importance. This may include anything from international or global politics and policy, to social and cultural issues, or environmental and economic issues. One policy listed a wide range of interested topics including “public infrastructure development, land use and environmental issues, social relations issues and trends (ethnicity, gender, class) economic development issues, civil and human rights . . .”35
Like the process and procedure theme, this theme represents types of collections that may be included within other themes, but, because of the prevalence of topical collecting foci in the collection policies surveyed, this theme was created to demonstrate the new opportunities and avenues open to congressional archives around relevant policy topics. It also demonstrates that congressional collections contain more than just biographical information about a member of Congress and are inherently interdisciplinary depending on the types of committees or legislation the member worked on. While topical collecting interests have been placed in an overly broad category, the existence of this theme evidences their importance in congressional collections.
Congressional collections at face value represent the archival record that Howard Zinn evoked in 1970 that values the stories of the rich and powerful individuals in society over those leading ordinary lives or are far from the traditional nodes of power.36 Despite their focus on what may seem top heavy, congressional collections are often vital repositories for stories and concerns of everyday citizens. Like corporate or business archives, congressional collections comprise records created by a group of individuals both internal and external to the member's office. Congressional records are less biographical and more collective, displaying a wide variety of social and political interests, private and public participants, and a diversity of ideas.37 The collection policy should be seen as a tool to explicitly state this truth and commit to build upon it.
The themes identified in this study provide a useful language to cohesively discuss the variety of collection priorities that fall under what are generally considered congressional archives. The themes also provide the archivist with new directions for collection, directions that could further efforts to document underrepresented perspectives and individuals involved in policy making. It is one piece in a larger effort to illuminate the research potential of congressional collections and make more apparent the diverse and wide-ranging voices, perspectives, and topics found within them. By incorporating more deliberate policy language and collecting priorities, coupled with the data-driven processing, advocacy, and outreach efforts proposed by Baldock and Cox and other archivists,38 congressional archivists can highlight collections for what they really are, a “crossroads . . . of modern American politics.”39
At the time of submission, this research has been incorporated into the updated collection policy for OPPA. The following section demonstrates how three of the themes identified were incorporated into the revised collection policy.
To date, OPPA's collecting strengths primarily focused on the official actors theme, and, while the revised collection policy continues to support the acquisition of collections within that theme, the author made efforts to broaden collection to incorporate collections that not only paint a fuller portrait of policy making by Ohioans but also reflect the goals of the institution's and the archives' stakeholders. Specifically, priorities expanded to include elected or appointed officials from the other two branches of the federal government, with the understanding that policy is introduced, developed, and refined under the jurisdiction of each branch and often in collaboration. New language in the “Statement of Purpose” expresses collecting interest in “the function and history of policymaking in the federal branches of the U.S. government and informed by individuals and groups from the state of Ohio.”40
The updated policy specifically identifies “organizations and groups involved with and informing the federal policy-making process but who do not serve in an elected role”41 as an area for future growth and development. The policy provides the examples of “political parties, activists, grassroots organizations or political action committees in addition to public policy scholars from Ohio.”42 This section was inspired by language of peer collecting policies identified in the thematic analysis and marks a significant shift from the priorities of the previous OPPA policy in which ancillary groups were not identified in the collection focus and unofficial actors were only represented through collection of congressional staff papers.
Incorporating unofficial actors in the updated collection policy opens up the possibility of acquiring collections from policy makers from Ohio not traditionally represented within congressional collections, including those from groups and individuals working on policy that benefit traditionally marginalized groups and populations. For example, it is plausible that under such a policy, OPPA could collect records from an Ohio-based nonprofit working on policy relating to food deserts, a political action committee supporting women running for elected office, or a research center advocating for urban revitalization and sustainable growth.
Phillips identifies this group of individuals and organizations as ancillary and notes their importance in what bills are presented and passed, public perception of Congress, and “almost every aspect of what Congress is and does.”43 Phillips stresses the significant impact ancillary or unofficial actors have on the member(s) of Congress and seems to indicate that the ancillary organizations or individuals should be collected in conjunction with the related member of Congress. The application of the unofficial actor theme in the context of this research study seeks to expand on Phillips's definition to ensure that the full nature and scope of policy making is reflected in the archives, regardless of whether the ancillary or unofficial actor is tied to a specific member of Congress.
Process and Procedures of Government
The John Glenn College of Public Affairs is one of OPPA's key campus partners, and its mission includes a strong message of civic engagement. The college seeks to “enable [students, public affairs professionals, and citizens] to make positive impacts on communities, states and regions, the nation, and the international community.” Additionally, it seeks to “engage public officials, representatives of public groups and citizens in dialog, deliberation, and action to improve the performance of democratic governance.”44 These two examples speak to a culture of civic engagement and one that John Glenn specifically addressed in his letter to President Gee when he proposed the donation of his papers to Ohio State and the creation of a public policy center.45 The goal of a public policy center and, by extension, a public policy archives, is to foster, document, and preserve that engagement between individuals and their government. For this reason, “the impact of federal policy on the State of Ohio and its citizens”46 remained a collecting mission, and “individuals . . . involved in national public service”47 was added as a collection priority. Both of these examples represent the broader processes and procedures of the government theme and were included in the updated collection policy to better meet the needs of existing public policy research and to more accurately represent in the historical record the participatory nature of the American political system.
A notable exception in the updated collection policy is specific identification of topical collecting areas. In many cases, topical collecting interests emerge through the collection of the other thematic categories, such as official and unofficial actors operating in the policy-making landscape, especially when one considers the breadth of topics included in congressional and policy collections. The decision to focus broadly on policy makers—be they official or unofficial actors—and the process of government came from a desire to remain flexible to pursue a wide variety of collections. This does not preclude the addition of specific topical collecting priorities at a later date.
Ultimately, the priorities identified in the new policy are not significantly different from those in the old policy. With a slight adjustment to language as outlined here, the new policy highlights the historic value of congressional collections while also opening up the priorities to those who may not have seen themselves or their records belonging in the congressional archives. Both versions of the collection policy are available in the Appendixes.
John Glenn's final prompt to Ohio State's President Gee demonstrates not only his lifelong commitment to public service but also the critical function of congressional records. Glenn writes “. . . we should look beyond the next decade or so and contemplate how the John Glenn collection will endure as an active, vital resource for scholars, students and the general public fifty years from now.”48 Glenn's papers and the records of other members of Congress and public servants are vital evidence of the American political tradition, but these collections do not exist in a vacuum. Situating these collections in the larger landscape of U.S. policy making can highlight the value of congressional collections and the diversity of topics and perspectives they contain while also providing a roadmap for continued growth. The collection policy and other high-level documents are a natural place to begin this work.
Through thematic analysis of peer congressional collecting policies, the Ohio Public Policy Archives was able to expand the collection scope and priorities to better reflect the role of the archives within the larger Ohio State community and the role of congressional collections within the history of policy making. While the analysis does not point to a clear delineation between the language used to describe congressional collections and language describing public policy or political collections, it illuminates just how closely the concepts are related and the continued relevance of congressional collections.
Appendix A: Thematic Analysis Code List
General Public Official
Campaigns and Elections
Modern / Twentieth Century
Social and Cultural Issues
Appendix B: Ohio Congressional Archives Collection Management and Development Policy, 2013
A. Statement of Purpose
The Ohio Congressional Archives is a collaborative effort of The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to collections of historical documents and related materials compiled by or pertaining to members of the past and present Ohio delegations to the United States Congress. The goal of the Ohio Congressional Archives is to make available for research and educational use unique and historical material documenting: a) the workings and history of the U.S. Congress; b) the participation and contributions of Ohio members of the U.S. Congress; and c) the impact of the U.S. Congress on the history of the State of Ohio.
The purpose of the Collection Management and Development Policy is to identify areas of collection and to manage resources by establishing priorities.
B. Nature of the Archives
The papers of Senator John Glenn serve as the core collection of the Ohio Congressional Archives. This nationally significant collection is the foundation upon which the Ohio Congressional Archives shall solicit and attract the papers (correspondence, memoranda, briefing books, speeches, statements, diaries, reports, etc.), audio-visual materials (photographs, video and film footage, audio recordings, etc.), and artifacts (awards, memorabilia, etc.) of other individuals who once served or currently serve as elected members from Ohio in the U.S. Senate or in the U.S. House of Representatives.
C. Collecting Activities
The Ohio Congressional Archives seeks to cooperate with other institutions within the State of Ohio in efforts to insure the preservation of the records compiled by significant members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress. The underlying purpose of these cooperative efforts is to provide access for public research purposes to these important historical collections. In addition, the Ohio Congressional Archives seeks to cooperate with and participate in national efforts to preserve the records of the U.S. Congress by active membership in the Congressional Papers Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists. The archives also maintains inclusion on the Roundtable's national roster for Representatives and Senators of recommended institutions with the facilities and expertise to house congressional collections.
The following is a ranking by priority of the types of materials collected by the Ohio Congressional Archives. Individual collections will be assessed on their merits and historical significance and weighed against the budgetary considerations necessitated by their acquisition.
The papers and related materials of members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress compiled while in office.
The papers and related materials of members of the Ohio delegation compiled during their careers prior to or after their term(s) in the U.S. Congress.
The papers and related materials of personal advisors and staff personnel to members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress.
Oral histories of Ohio members of the U.S. Congress, their political advisors, and key staff members.
The papers and related materials of individuals who actively campaigned for but failed to win election to a seat in the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress.
Appendix C: Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection and Development Policy, 2020
Statement of Purpose
The Ohio Public Policy Archives is a collaborative effort of The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to collections of historical documents relating to the function and history of policymaking in the federal branches of the U.S. government and informed by individuals and groups from the state of Ohio. The Ohio Public Policy Archives makes available for research and education use unique and historical material documenting:
the function, history, and process of policymaking in the U.S. Congress,
the participation and contributions of Ohioans in the three branches of the federal government,
the impact of federal policy on the State of Ohio and its citizens, and
the participants and processes of policymaking on a national level.
In 1999, The Ohio State University obtained the congressional, NASA, and personal papers of Senator John Glenn in conjunction with the founding of the university's John Glenn Institute of Public Service and Public Policy, which became the John Glenn College of Public Affairs in 2015. Senator Glenn's collection served as the core collection of the Ohio Congressional Archives which was established in 2004.
Founded following the recommendations put forth by the Third Report of the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress for the “development of statewide Public Policy Centers that include a strong archival component with a focus on political and public policy documentation,” the Ohio Congressional Archives sought to acquire the collections of current and former members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress.
In 2020, the Ohio Congressional Archives was renamed as the Ohio Public Policy Archives to better reflect the expanded collection scope and goals.
The Ohio Public Policy Archives seeks to cooperate with other institutions at Ohio State and around the state of Ohio in an effort to ensure the preservation of the records compiled by policymakers, elected and appointed, serving in the federal government. The underlying purpose of these cooperative efforts is to provide access for public research purposes to these important historical collections. In addition, the Ohio Public Policy Archives seeks to cooperate with and participate in national efforts to preserve the records of the U.S. Congress by active membership in the Congressional Papers Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists. The archives maintains inclusion on the Roundtable's national roster for Representatives and Senators of recommended institutions with the facilities and expertise to house congressional collections.
Areas of Existing Strength
The Ohio Public Policy Archives' collections are strongest in congressional collections from Ohio members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate from the 1940s to present.
Areas for Continued Growth and Development
The Ohio Public Policy Archives seeks to grow its collections in material from women, Black and Indigenous people, and people of color elected or appointed to federal office and/or involved in the policymaking process on the national level. The Ohio Public Policy Archives also seeks to expand its collection efforts to include other organizations and groups involved with and informing the federal policymaking process but who do not serve in an elected role. This may include political parties, activists, grassroots organizations, or political action committees in addition to public policy scholars from Ohio.
The following is an example of the types of materials collected by the Ohio Public Policy Archives. Individual collections will be assessed and weighted against the goals of this policy and by budgetary considerations necessitated by their acquisition.
The papers and related materials of members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress.
The papers and related materials of Ohio officials elected or appointed to federal office.
The family and personal papers and related materials of Ohio politicians and officials elected or appointed to federal office during their careers prior to or after their terms in office.
The papers and related materials of individuals and/or organizations from Ohio involved in policymaking or national public service.
Statement on Diversity in Collecting Activities
The Ohio Public Policy Archives acknowledges that archives are not neutral and the pursuit for neutrality in archival collection and description has further underrepresented, maligned, and misrepresented communities and people. The Ohio Public Policy Archives commits to regularly assessing the adequacy of this policy, collecting practices, and programs to ensure they reflect the diversity of the Ohio Public Policy Archives' constituent populations and researchers.
Correspondence from Senator John Glenn to Gordon Gee, March 6, 1997, UA.RG.3.L, Box 56, Folder 7, Office of the President (Elwood Gordon Gee (First Administration)) Records, The Ohio State University Archives, Columbus, Ohio.
F. Gerald Ham, “The Archival Edge,” American Archivist 38, no. 1 (1975): 8, https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.38.1.7400r86481128424.
Dale C. Mayer, “The New Social History: Implications for Archivists,” American Archivist 48, no. 4 (1985), https://doi.org/10.17723/AARC.48.4.L107660916858K13.
Maurita Baldock and J. Wendel Cox, “New Perspectives on Congressional Collections: A Study of Survey and Assessment,” American Archivist 81, no. 1 (2018): 94, https://doi.org/10.17723/0360-9081-81.1.84.
Congressional Papers Forum, “Third Report of the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress,” Proceedings, August 29, 2001, S. Pub. 107-42.
U.S. Congress. House. Expressing the sense of Congress that Members' Congressional papers should be properly maintained and encouraging Members to take all necessary measures to manage and preserve these papers. H.Con.Res 307. 110th Cong, Agreed to June 20, 2008.
Ohio Congressional Archives, The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections, “Collection Management and Development Policy” (2013).
John Glenn College of Public Affairs, “2019 BA Career Outcomes” and “2019 BS Career Outcomes,” https://web.archive.org/web/20210417044218/http://glenn.osu.edu/undergraduate/declaring.
Rebecca Conard, “Review: Proceedings, Conference on the Research Use and Disposition of Senators' Papers,” The Public Historian 1, no. 3 (1979): 88, https://doi.org/10.2307/3377541.
Faye Phillips, “Harper's Ferry Revisited: The Role of Congressional Staff Archivists in Implementing the Congressional Papers Project Report.” Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists 6, no. 1 (1988): 27, https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/vol6/iss1/3.
Frank H. Mackaman, Congressional Papers Project Report (Washington, DC: National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 1986), 36.
Society of American Archivists, Task Force on Congressional Documentation, Karen Dawley Paul, United States, Congress, and Senate. The Documentation of Congress: Report of the Congressional Archivists Roundtable Task Force on Congressional Documentation (Washington, DC, US GPO, 1992).
Faye Phillips, “Developing Collecting Policies for Manuscript Collections,” American Archivist 47, no. 1 (1984), https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.47.1.x07k74g7331762q2, informed the publication of “Congressional Papers: Collection Development Policies,” American Archivist 58, no. 3 (1995), https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.58.3.lh733452uv674280.
Cynthia Pease Miller, Managing Congressional Collections (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2008),15–20.
Mike Strom, “The Congressional Archive: A Breed Apart.” Journal of Library Administration 52, nos. 3–4 (2012): 334, https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2012.684531.
Baldock and Cox, “New Perspectives on Congressional Collections,” 87.
Cynthia Sauer, “Doing the Best We Can? The Use of Collection Development Policies and Cooperative Collecting Activities at Manuscript Repositories,” American Archivist 64, no. 2 (2001): 318, https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.64.2.gj6771215231xm37.
Phillips, “Developing Collection Policies for Manuscript Collections,” and Jutta Reed-Scott, “Collection Management Strategies for Archivists,” American Archivist 47, no. 1 (1984): 25, https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.47.1.wt6721l537810j13.
Sauer, “Doing the Best We Can?,” 308–49.
Jennifer Marshall, “Toward Common Content: An Analysis of Online College and University Collecting Policies,” American Archivist 65, no. 2 (2002): 231–56, https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.65.2.d14g7x2615270j61; and Tara Wink, “Archival Collection Development Policies: A Study of their Content and Collaborative Aims” (master's thesis, University of North Carolina, 2010).
Marshall, “Toward Common Content,” 255.
A notable exception, in the area of congressional collections, is Sara Roberson Kuzaks's study of state archives' collecting policies and their priorities for collecting the papers of state legislators. Kuzak collected survey responses from six state archives and summarized individual responses noting the varied approaches and priorities in collection. Sara R. Kuzak, “Collection Policies at State Archives for Legislator's Papers,” in An American Political Archives Reader, ed. Glenn R. Gray, L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, and Karen D. Paul (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2009), 39–50.
Marshall, “Toward Common Content,” and Wink “Archival Collection Development Policies.”
Marshall, “Toward Common Content,” and Wink “Archival Collection Development Policies.”
Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke, “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology,” Qualitative Research in Psychology 3 (2006): 6; and Richard E. Boyatzis, Transforming Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development (London: Sage, 1998).
Lorelli S. Nowell, Jill M. Norris, Deborah E. White, and Nancy J. Moules, “Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 16, no. 1 (2017), https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1609406917733847.
Term used by Paul Milazzo as cited by in Baldock and Cox, “New Perspectives on Congressional Collections,” 87.
Baylor University, “[Baylor Collections of Political Materials] Collections Policy,” 2015, https://www.baylor.edu/library/index.php?id=974515, captured at https://perma.cc/DF58-L5YP.
National Archives, The Center for Legislative Archives, “Congressional Collections,” September 9, 2016, https://www.archives.gov/legislative/repository-collections, captured at https://perma.cc/8629-XFAM.
Albert Gore Research Center, “Collections Policy,” August 2017, https://www.mtsu.edu/gorecenter/docs/collections-policy.pdf, captured at https://perma.cc/3KNK-3NV2.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, “Special Collections Research Center Collecting Policy,” https://lib.siu.edu/_common/documents/scrc-collecting-policy.pdf, captured at https://perma.cc/S8LB-6KH8.
Baylor University, “[Baylor Collections of Political Materials] Collections Policy.”
Baylor University, “[Baylor Collections of Political Materials] Collections Policy.”
University of Georgia, “Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies Collection Development Policy,” January 2016, https://www.libs.uga.edu/russell-library/about/policies, captured at https://perma.cc/GP72-Z7T9.
University of Georgia, “Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies Collection Development Policy.”
Howard Zinn quote in Ham, “The Archival Edge,” 5.
Baldock and Cox, “New Perspectives on Congressional Collections,” 96.
Archivists who advocate for data-driven assessment efforts include Lisa R. Carter, “Articulating Value: Building a Culture of Assessment in Special Collections,” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 13, no. 2 (2012): 89–99, https://doi.org/10.5860/rbm.13.2.376; Joyce Chapman and Elizabeth Yakel, “Data-Driven Management and Interoperable Metrics for Special Collections and Archives User Services,” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 13, no 2 (2012): 129–51, https://doi.org/10.5860/rbm.13.2.379; and Melanie Griffin, “A Methodology for Implementing the Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries,” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 7, no. 1 (2020), https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol7/iss1/14.
Baldock and Cox, “New Perspectives on Congressional Collections,” 94.
The Ohio State University Libraries, “Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection Management and Development Policy,” September 2020, https://library.osu.edu/oppa/collection-development-policy, captured at https://perma.cc/8H9H-ZDYR.
The Ohio State University Libraries, “Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection Management and Development Policy.”
The Ohio State University Libraries, “Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection Management and Development Policy.”
Phillips, “Congressional Papers: Collection Development Policies,” 263.
John Glenn College of Public Affairs, “Our Mission,” https://web.archive.org/web/20210412234726/http://glenn.osu.edu/about/glenn-college.
Correspondence from Senator John Glenn to Gordon Gee, March 6, 1997.
The Ohio State University Libraries, “Ohio Congressional Archives Collection Management and Development Policy” and “Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection Management and Development.”
The Ohio State University Libraries, “Ohio Public Policy Archives Collection Management and Development Policy.”
Correspondence from Senator John Glenn to Gordon Gee, March 6, 1997.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carly Dearborn is assistant professor and the public policy archivist at The Ohio State University Libraries. She manages the Ohio Public Policy Archives and is responsible for promoting and expanding the archives through out-reach, instruction, and reference services. Dearborn also provides support to the members of the Ohio delegation to the U.S. Congress on access and preservation of their records. Prior to her arrival at Ohio State, she was the digital preservation and electronic records archivist at Purdue University. She has a master's degree in information science from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree from the University of South Dakota.