Guidelines for Donating Materials to University Archives

University Archives Collecting Scope

The University Archives will acquire materials which document the university’s history, organization, structure, programs, and functions. To augment this information, the University Archives may also acquire materials from affiliated institutions, campus organizations, alumni, retirees, and personal papers from individuals.

The University Archives will acquire records in all formats except those in electronic form. Some exceptions to this rule may be granted when the born digital material is burned to CD or DVD prior to its transfer/donation to the University Archives. Also, the University Archives will have to review the transfer/donation of artifacts or similar museum materials on a case-by-case basis. These will only be acquired selectively if they relate directly to the history and development of the university and if storage space will allow.

The University Archives will review all transfers/donations to determine the pertinence of materials to our collecting scope. Records may be in any physical form including, but not limited to the following:

  • Documents
    • School and departmental records and correspondence that document historic aspects of the university’s development
    • Papers and correspondence of faculty, staff, alumni, retirees or other individuals associated with the university that documents the life of the university community
    • Faculty research
    • Curriculum information
    • Class schedules
  • Images, both still or moving
    • Photographs
    • Negatives
    • Slides
    • Moving images
      • Film
      • VHS tapes
      • DVDs and CDs
  • Ephemera:
    • Posters
    • Newspaper clippings
    • Brochures
    • University publications
    • Flyers
    • Convocation programs
  • Artifacts or memorabilia

Items the University Archives Does Not Collect

  • Materials related to people’s personal or family lives
  • Born digital items such as e-mail, websites, databases, etc.

Please remember that each case is different and the University Archives will evaluate each offered donation on a case by case basis. If you are in doubt, do not throw it out! Contact the University Archives first and we will be glad to evaluate your collection.

Transferring Collections to the University Archives

  1. Contact the University Archivist Ty Lovelady by phone at (972) 883-2110 or through email at Ty.loveady@utdallas.edu. If possible, please attach a detailed inventory of the material you wish to transfer to the University Archives. Please provide your contact information, location, and availability for us to come over to appraise your collection.
  2. We will appraise your collection to determine its size, date range, condition, and types of material contained in the collection.
  3. We will then box the collection and move it to the Special Collections where it will be accessioned.
  4. Once accessioned, the archivist will prepare a Transfer Agreement that will need to be signed by the transferring department’s appropriate authority. The originating unit should note on the transfer agreement any conditions or restrictions it wishes to impose on the collection. It should be noted that conditions listed should direct the archivist regarding what to do with duplicate material or materials not germane to the collection. Special Collections normally does not accept donations with restrictions, but will discuss restrictions with the originating unit or donor. We do, however, restrict information that may violate privacy such as Social Security Numbers, or other private information that may be found in collections. Once signed, the Special Collections Department acquires custody of the collection.
  5. Retirees, graduates, etc., donating collections will be given a Deed of Gift to sign. The deed of gift conveys physical and intellectual ownership to the archives. Please see above regarding special conditions and restrictions.

Processing and Description

Once a collection is ready for processing, it will be placed in a queue based upon perceived research value or need by the university community. The archivist will apply accepted archival guidelines for the collection once it is selected for processing. If, during processing, items are found that need to be removed from the collection, the archivist will follow the conditions noted in the transfer agreement or deed of gift. If no conditions or restrictions are listed, the archivist will remove and discard the items.

Once processed, a finding aid will be written that will describe the history of the originating unit or historical sketch of the donor and describe how the collection is arranged. The finding aid is then printed and placed in the Special Collections department. Additionally, electronic copies will be placed on the Special Collections’ website and on Treasures @ UT Dallas, which is the University’s institutional repository. A copy will also be sent to the originating unit.

Deaccessioning Archival Materials

Items found not pertaining to the collection, items of a personal nature, or collections that no longer fit into the collecting focus will be de-accessioned from the archives. An inventory of de-accessioned items will be made and attached to a de-accession form and kept on file. These de-accessioned items/collections will be returned to the originating unit if instructed in the Transfer Agreement.

Comments on Access

The University Archives are open to everyone, including all university faculty, students, staff, and the community at large. Materials housed in Special Collections do not circulate. Researchers wishing access to these materials will have to use them in the Special Collections Department. No appointment is necessary, but it is encouraged in order to best maximize the researcher’s time. Please consult the fee schedule for reproduction prices.