Special Collections Department
University Archives Mission and Collections Policy
The Iowa State University Archives serves as the official repository for the permanent records of Iowa State University. Its primary purpose is to serve the administrative, teaching, research, and public service needs of the University and other user communities. In order to fulfill this purpose, the University Archives collects those records that have enduring value to documenting the history of Iowa State University, its administration, programs, services, and members of its community. Records which possess historical, administrative, legal, and fiscal value are identified and retained permanently. The University Archives then preserves these records and makes them available for researchers.
The University Archives seeks to document the Iowa State
University community, which includes the administration, faculty, students, alumni, and
staff. In assessing records appropriate for permanent retention, the University Archives
attempts to collect the documentation produced from the conduct of University business.
There are seven functions common to the operations of most academic institutions: convey
knowledge; advance knowledge; confer credentials; foster socialization; maintain and
promote culture; sustain the institution; and provide public service.
[Varsity Letters: Documenting Modern Colleges and Universities, Helen Willa Samuels, The Society of American Archivists and the Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1992. pp.19-23.]
III. Record Types and Formats:
1. Official records, papers, and publications of Iowa State University.
These records (which give evidence about the functions, policies, and decisions of the University) include among many different forms correspondence, reports, minutes, directives, announcements, publications, architectural and building plans, machine-readable files, and any other material produced by the University in pursuance of its functions. Faculty and professional & scientific personnel records are retained by the Provost's Office. The disposition of student records will be at the discretion of the Deans and the Registrar's Office. Records containing student information may be restricted due to University policies and state and federal laws. The University Archives also collects all publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed by Iowa State University including catalogs, yearbooks, student newspapers, University directories and faculty/staff rosters, faculty and administrative newsletters and publications, and alumni publications. Audiovisual records documenting the development of the University such as photographic prints and negatives, slides, motion picture film, oral history interviews, audio and video tape, discs, and recordings are solicited as well as dissertations and theses. Machine-readable data files generated for conducting University business will be considered for permanent retention as well. The University Archives may maintain security copies of microfilm produced by any vital records program. Maps, prints and drawings documenting the physical growth and development of the University form an important part of the collection and will be collected as well. The University Archives will consider retaining selected artifacts relating to the history of Iowa State University.
2. The Papers of Iowa State University Faculty.
As an important part of its mission of documenting the life of the Iowa State University community and placing it in a broader social context, the University Archives actively seeks to acquire, organize, and make available the personal and professional papers of the Iowa State University faculty. Faculty papers offer insight into the history and operation of the University that otherwise may be lost by relying only on official administrative records. They reveal professional interests and opinions that frequently clarify matters mentioned in the official records of the central administration. Faculty papers document the academic life of the University and relate one's academic career to his or her total interests, thereby constituting an important record. Personal viewpoints expressed in personal correspondence and documentation resulting from service on academic committees may provide a better basis for understanding the University than official records from administrative offices alone. Without a broad range of faculty papers available for consultation, the University Archives cannot provide a full compliment of perspectives regarding the historical activities of Iowa State University.
Types and Formats:
The following types of documentation reflect and illuminate the careers of the Iowa State University faculty and are sought by the University Archives: official, professional, and personal correspondence; biographical material; photographs; tape recordings; class lecture notes and syllabi; research files; departmental or committee minutes and records; drafts and manuscripts of articles and books written; and diaries, notebooks, and memorabilia.
The Iowa State University Archives is committed to preserving selected faculty papers and to making them available for research as soon as possible. At the same time, it has an obligation to guard against invasion of privacy and to protect the confidentiality in its records in accordance with law. Therefore, every private donor has the right to impose reasonable restrictions upon his or her papers to protect confidentiality for a reasonable period of time. Restrictions on access are for a fixed term and are determined at the time of donation. The University Archives does not accept agreements that restrict access to material in perpetuity or does not supply a specific date releasing the restriction. It encourages minimal access restrictions consistent with the legal rights of all concerned.
3. Artifacts or Three-Dimensional Objects
The University Archives seeks to collect artifacts that further the Department’s mission to identify, select, preserve, create access to, provide reference assistance for, and promote the use of rare and unique research materials that support major research areas of Iowa State University. This includes rare and unique objects pertaining to Iowa State University, agriculture and rural life, science, and technology. The Department will consider for inclusion in the collection artifacts that contain well-documented provenance (1) and are in fair and original condition The Department will limit collecting to items that can be reasonably preserved, cared for, stored, and made accessible for research and exhibit purposes.
 Provenance includes where, how, and by whom the item was created,
acquired, and/or used; how the donor came to possess the artifact; and
any other pertinent information regarding the object.
A. Transfer of Records - The transfer of University records to the University Archives must be in accordance with the "Iowa State University Schedule for Records Retention and Disposition." The University Archives will accept University records which are scheduled for permanent retention only. It will not accept records which are scheduled for destruction. University records considered for transmittal to the University Archives for permanent retention must be reviewed and appraised by the Head, Special Collections, prior to transfer acceptance. All transfer of records must be placed in acid-free records cartons (supplied by the University Archives) and accompanied by a listing of the contents. Please consult the University University Archives' Policy and Procedure for Transfer of University Records for procedure explanation and compliance.
B. Deed of Gift/Transfer of Records Forms - The University Archives will not accept materials without a legal transfer of title through a deed of gift, deposit agreement, transfer of records form, or other official acknowledgement. All transmittal forms must be signed by the Head, Special Collections, and the donor/official from the transferring office.
C. Loans and Deposits - Materials loaned or deposited with the University Archives will be accepted when the conditions for acceptance are favorable to the University Archives and the Iowa State University Library.
D. Closed Collections - The University Archives will not accept materials that are closed to the public in perpetuity.
E. Deaccessioning - Duplicates and materials that do not reflect the University Archives' collecting areas or do not possess sufficient archival value may be deaccessioned, subject to the documented terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws.
F. Revision of Policy - The University Archives reserves the right to amend its collection development policy at any time.
VI. Procedures for Reviewing Collection Development Guidelines:
This collection development policy is designed to serve the mission and goals of Iowa State University, the Parks Library, the Special Collections Department and the University Archives. In order to determine the effectiveness of this policy, at the end of every calendar year, the Head, Special Collections, will review the acquisitions, user records, and deaccessions of that calendar year. The policy will be re-evaluated and changed as needed to meet the goals of Iowa State University and the University Archives (Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library).