Written collection development policies and cooperative collecting activities are two tools that archivists are encouraged to use in the course of creating and adding to their repositories' collections. Written collection development policies are advocated as a way to ensure that collections have a coherent and well-defined focus, while cooperative collecting practices are seen as a way to ensure that related materials are not scattered among far-flung repositories and that repositories' scarce resources are not needlessly squandered on unnecessary competitiveness for collections. However, not only are there numerous impediments to the effectiveness of either of these tools, many repositories do not use them. A survey of manuscript repositories reveals some of the reasons why more repositories do not engage in these practices, while quantitatively demonstrating the benefits they offer to repositories that do.

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