In the United States, university archives are part of the university organizational structure. The archives can be formed strictly of permanent university records or can also include the personal papers of individuals related to the university, most often faculty, but also administrators and students/alumni. In addition, by law, the records produced by American public universities--including many of the personal papers acquired by public university archives--are also public records, which must be appraised using their specific state-mandated records retention schedule.
The main goal of the schedule is to manage the current and non-current records of the organization in order to mitigate risk and promote efficiency. However, a records schedule is not the tool used by American archivists to appraise across or weed within personal papers collections. Selection criteria applied to personal papers is aimed at building a set of primary source or “eye witness” accounts of people, places, events, locations, and cultures for historical research.
This paper explores this tension in the collecting mission and appraisal theory and practice in hybrid institutional-collecting archives in American public, land-grant universities by reporting on the results of a survey investigating whether, how, and the extent to which archivists in these repositories use legally mandated, state-level public record retention schedules to select records for permanent retention and/or destruction across and within faculty personal papers. The results are used to consider what aspects of the university these faculty papers document. Answers to these questions have a direct impact on the public university archive’s holdings and thus on the role of the university archives in American public universities.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - Oct 4 2018|