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Acquisition Policy

All archives need a retention plan for the records of the parent institution and a solicitation policy for historical materials to be acquired from other sources. The Open Society Archives solicits in the two core areas related to the work of the foundation, i.e., transition to open societies in Central and Eastern Europe, and human rights issues and movements. The Archives will preserve physical types of records ranging from papers to electronic, including but not limited to audiotapes, videotapes, databases, still photographs, and architectural and engineering drawings.

Retention plan: Records of Soros organizations.

In deciding whether to recommend retention or destruction of bodies of records created by Soros organizations, the Archives considers whether the records provide (1) evidence of the scope and impact of the program whose records these are and (2) important information about persons, places, events, and phenomena and:

  • legal requirements
  • administrative and financial significance
  • key evidence of establishment or disestablishment of a significant program or project
  • relative significance of the operations of the organization or program
  • relative richness of the information in the records
  • duplication of information in other records already retained
  • technical requirements to preserve the records

The time period during which the records are required in the creating office and the date at which they can be destroyed or moved to the archives will be mutually agreed upon between the creating organization and the Archives.

Solicitation policy: Documentary materials relating to the Cold War and transition period in Central and Eastern Europe.

The heart of the Archives' holding in this area is the records of the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc., and their continuum in the records of the Open Media Research Institute. The closure of the research and analysis function at OMRI as of March 31, 1997, provides a useful termination date for this collecting category, while the dates of establishment of the Communist governments in the various countries form a useful initial historical bracket.

Materials considered for acquisition in this category will be judged by:

  • extent to which the potential acquisition would usefully deepen, broaden, or extend the information already in the Archives
  • extent to which it would fill gaps in the coverage
  • extent to which a subject or form of documentation has been neglected in this or other archives, is significant, and, as such, deserves archival attention
  • relationship of the information to research traditions and trends
  • interest of faculty, institute personnel, or other constituencies served by the Archives
  • roles of other archives in preserving similar materials, to avoid wasteful duplication
  • technical considerations and costs of properly preserving and providing access

Solicitation policy: Documentary materials relating to human rights issues and movements.

The central holding in this area at present is the collection of materials relating to the war in the former Yugoslavia, acquired from the International Human Rights Law Institute. These acquisitions will generally be of contemporary materials, dating largely from the last quarter of the twentieth century. Special efforts will be made to provide archival storage and services for human rights groups. Two categories of potential acquisitions deserve special mention: materials documenting the civil wars and their aftermath in the Balkans in the 1990s and materials by and about the Rroma.

The evaluation categories will be the same as those for the Cold War materials.


The Archives normally will not accept or pursue:

  • materials which do not fit into the two subject foci
  • materials whose use would not be well served by locating them in the Archives in Budapest
  • copies of materials in other repositories, unless the materials are in jeopardy or the copies are significantly related to particular materials already held by the Archives
  • materials in formats which the Archives cannot handle adequately
  • materials with stipulations that would undermine the principles of open research facilities and equal access for third party users
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