Collections normally fall into one of three categories:

groups of items that come to a library already well organized by a previous owner

groups of items that come from a single source, but with minimal or no previous organization

groups of items that are assembled into collections by the library for the purpose of processing and storage, and are therefore termed "intentionally assembled collections" (previously called "artificial collections")


All three types of collections tend to be organized around one or more unifying factors, which may include:

personal author

issuing body



language or nationality


time period


Types of materials appropriate to consider for collection-level treatment include:

groups of materials that share one or more of the above factors, and for which access can adequately be provided with a single classification number and/or a collective set of access points

groups of pamphlets or ephemera in various formats that are judged not to merit item-level cataloging, but that collectively are of research value

See also:

Appendix B:  Collection-Level Records