CBHC / RCAHMW > About Us > Corporate Information > Policies > Library Collection Policy

Library Collection Policy

This document describes the principles under which the library selects, manages, and makes available published material for the benefit of both staff and public users. An online catalogue is available at https://rcahmw.gov.uk/discover/the-library-catalogue/. The policy is reviewed annually and revised every three years. Other revisions may be prompted by a significant change in circumstances.


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) is established under Royal Warrant to investigate and record the historic environment of Wales. Accordingly, it compiles and makes available the national archive, known as the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW), and has the lead role in ensuring that Wales’ archaeological, built and maritime heritage is authoritatively recorded. It also seeks to promote the understanding and appreciation of this heritage nationally and internationally.

The Library that supports the work of the Commission and complements the collections of the NMRW is an open access resource.  It is focussed on topographical and thematic material relating to the archaeology and architecture of Wales, supported by major works on method, theory and contextual publications from around the world. Current library stock amounts to approximately 25,000 items made up of serials, monographs, pamphlets, guidebooks, legislative documents and maps. 52 journal titles are currently subscribed to, and others have been donated. It also provides access to some electronic publications.

The library collections are situated in two main areas: the public Library and Search Room which is situated on the first floor of the National Library of Wales, and the Staff Library, housed in the ‘Archive and Library’ area of the Royal Commission’s Main Offices.

Collecting Policy

The library collects and purchases material in the following categories:

  • Published excavation reports.
  • Works on archaeology.
  • Works on industrial archaeology.
  • Works on maritime archaeology.
  • Texts on cartography and place names.
  • Monographs on Welsh archaeological or architectural sites.
  • An archive set of RCAHMW publications.
  • Biographies of architects, designers, landscape and garden architects, sculptors and artists working in architectural decoration, archaeologists with Welsh connections, and photographers with connections to the archive holdings of the National Monuments Record of Wales and specializing in architectural and archaeological subjects.
  • Standard works on building types and aspects of their decoration.
  • Guide books to archaeological and architectural sites in Wales and some from outside Wales included for contextual purposes.
  • Works on the main periods, styles, schools of architecture and architectural decoration.
  • Texts on town/urban planning.
  • Works on garden history/archaeology/landscape history.
  • Works on heritage management, conservation and preservation of sites.
  • Works on archaeological theory, excavation and survey techniques as relevant to the work of the Royal Commission.
  • Works on the history of photography if relevant to the collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales.
  • General works on history where they provide context for the Royal Commission’s work.
  • Works on Welsh history where relevant to the work of the Royal Commission.
  • Multiple editions of monographs will be collected if revisions have been made. This aligns with the RCAHMW’s primary remit to record the historiography of how archaeological, architectural and historical thought has changed over time in Wales.
  • All RCAHMW publications.
  • All Cadw publications.
  • Works on Scotland, Ireland, England and the rest of the world will be limited to:
  • Important works used for comparative purposes.
  • Works received as part of existing subscriptions.
  • Works in a European language and/or with English translation.
  • A core collection of general reference works.
  • A small amount of material on ‘Business Management’ is purchased to support the work of staff in such areas as ‘Project Management’, ‘Compliance’ and ‘Marketing’.
  • A small collection of rare, antiquarian and fragile material is held.
  • Relevant archaeological and architectural serials are subscribed to or collected through other reciprocal arrangements, in both electronic and hardcopy formats.

Selection Criteria

The following procedures and criteria apply when selecting stock:

  • Titles are selected through the use of specialist subject journals, staff requests, book reviews, recommendations, advice from subject specialists, publishers’ catalogues, websites etc.
  • The Information Services Manager evaluates all book and journal requests made by staff in view of the collecting criteria and the budget available.
  • Stock reflects the work of the Royal Commission and the research needs of staff.
  • The collection will be developed to meet the needs of both staff and public users.
  • The Library will only collect material that can be made available to the public.
  • Gaps in the collections will be filled as resources permit. While priority will be given to purchasing current works, an attempt will be made to replace ‘missing’ items and key older works.
  • Recommendations will be welcomed from users, however, the Library retains the right to refuse to purchase unsuitable material.
  • Language – most purchases will be in Welsh or English. Where a Welsh language and an English language copy of a text is available both will be purchased.
  • In most cases paperbacks will be purchased instead of hardbacks as the most cost effective form.
  • Space available in the Library.
  • Where items are in high demand 2 copies of a publication may be purchased or requested.
  • E-publications are purchased when cost effective.
  • Rare or antiquarian texts are purchased or accepted as part of a donation if they fall within the Scope defined below and a new edition is unavailable.
  • Copies of books may be requested for the library through the Enquiry Service as part of negotiated licence agreements, if the subject complies with the Collection Management Policy and enhances the collections.

Donations are welcomed if they fall within the Scope defined below. Material will not be accepted if there are any restrictions regarding the RCAHMW’s future use or disposal i.e. ownership must be transferred to the Library on receipt of a donation.

The Information Services Manager will make the final decision on new acquisitions as she/he is aware of the total stock and the demands being placed upon it.


All the Welsh county journals are collected as well as specialist serials relating to archaeology, architecture, history and maritime archaeology.

Journals will be acquired in both print and digital formats while space allows. For existing journal subscriptions digital content will be subscribed to as and when it is made available.

Priority is given to maintaining and expanding existing subscriptions. New subscriptions will be made available, online and in print, providing they conform to collecting criteria and budget is sufficient. It may be necessary to cancel an existing subscription to help pay for new titles.

Electronic Resources

The Library provides access to digital resources, including e-books, whenever appropriate on the grounds of content and good value for money. The number of concurrent user licences for e-books will be determined on a title by title basis. 


Judicious stock editing is undertaken to maintain the collection meets current needs. Material will be withdrawn if it no longer meets the collecting policy set out above, or if it is a duplicate copy of a resource that is no longer in heavy demand. Withdrawn material may be offered to other libraries, sold at a RCAHMW book sale, sold to a specialist bookseller or recycled.

Mae’r polisi hwn hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg | This policy is also available in Welsh.

Open Government Licence logo This document is available under the Open Government Licence.

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