Collection Development Policy


Wisconsin's cultural heritage institutions, through collaborative effort, provide the global community access to our state's history, culture, environment, government, and economy through a variety of digital formats via the World Wide Web.




Guiding Principles

The following principles govern Wisconsin Heritage Online and provide the basis for the collection:



The audience is broadly defined as the combined audiences of all Wisconsin Heritage Online Content Providers. Due to the open nature of the Internet, people from around the world will access digital materials held by participating institutions regarding the history, culture, environment, government, and economy of Wisconsin. A wide variety of uses may be made of individual digital objects as well as the collection as a whole. To focus the initial efforts of the project, the Wisconsin Heritage Online Planning Committee identified five user categories:



The different interests and needs of these users influence a variety of decisions regarding digital images. Decisions on the depth and breadth of the coverage, the intellectual level, the quality of the images, and the display approaches all are based on the audience, as determined by the institution delivering the digital objects.



The principal participants in Wisconsin Heritage Online are any Wisconsin archives, historical societies, community groups, educational institutions, businesses, libraries, museums and other organizations that have digital materials available for harvesting. Wisconsin Heritage Online may harvest digitized collections hosted by both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.


Cultural heritage institutions of all types in Wisconsin can contribute their digital content to Wisconsin Heritage Online through:


General Criteria for Content Providers

Content Providers must


Existing watermarked collections may be harvested for Wisconsin Heritage Online. The Milwaukee Public Library, service provider for CONTENTdm hosted collections, will not advocate watermarking or provide a technical solution or training for watermarking collections.  


Project Review Process


Subject Formats and Categories

Wisconsin Heritage Online Content Providers will digitize materials from their collections that represent the historic, cultural, environmental, governmental, and economic heritage of Wisconsin. The original materials may be textual, including diaries, letters, manuscripts, and published works; photographs; maps; art in two and three dimensional format and art reproductions; three-dimensional artifacts; graphic materials, including architectural drawings; digital audio and video; and microform.


Thematic categories may include, but are not limited to, the following:


Art and Architecture

Business and Industry


First Nations of Wisconsin



Immigration and Settlement

Institutions, Organizations & Associations

Medicine and Health





Wisconsin Heritage Online does not claim ownership of digital objects linked from the Wisconsin Heritage Online portal. Ownership remains with the originating site.


Data Accuracy

Responsibility for accurate data rests with the institution contributing the digital content. Wisconsin Heritage Online does not warrant the accuracy, authority, or completeness of any information made available through the Wisconsin Heritage Online portal. Wisconsin Heritage Online recommends all Content Providers have an online means of collecting information regarding the accuracy of the content and a policy for the review and revision of their site.


Denial of Harvesting into Wisconsin Heritage Online

The Wisconsin Heritage Online Collection Development Working Group may occasionally decide that a collection is not appropriate for harvesting for the following reasons:


Removal of a Site

From time to time, the Wisconsin Heritage Online Collection Development Working Group may recommend removal of a particular collection. Content may be removed for one or more of the following reasons:


The Content Provider may appeal the Collection Development Working Group’s recommendation for removal of their content from Wisconsin Heritage Online. In all cases, the Wisconsin Heritage Online Governing Board will be the final arbiter.


Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed by the Wisconsin Heritage Online Collection Development Working Group every two years. The Collection Development Working Group will provide recommendations to the Wisconsin Heritage Online Governing Board for review and approval.