University Archives Acquisition Policy

The University Archives serves the University as well as the larger research community by collecting and providing access to rare and unique materials about and created by Brandeis University. The Archives accepts many formats, including print documents and manuscripts, analog and digital audio and visual materials, and several types of electronic files and records.

Collecting Priorities

1. University Records

The University Archives acquires records and publications of enduring historical, administrative, and research value to the Brandeis University community. Records that reflect the University's functions in the areas of administration, teaching, research, program development, public relations, student support, and cultural enrichment are actively collected, as are those documenting the Brandeis activities of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Recorded data in all formats is deemed to have permanent value if it documents core components of university policy, strategic planning, curriculum, research, organizational structure, programming, campus life and culture, and the built environment. The Archives does not accept records documenting routine or perfunctory activities (e.g., purchase orders, acknowledgements of receipt), nor does it acquire records containing confidential student information protected by federal law.

2. Alumni Materials

The University Archives collects alumni material directly related to the University. This includes documentation on student organizations, student activities and social life, student activism, and student publications. Memorabilia is collected selectively. Syllabi and class notes are collected from the earliest years of Brandeis. Other types of alumni material, including academic work by students, are considered on a case-by-case basis.

3. Faculty Papers

The University Archivist may acquire or accept for donation selected papers of current and former faculty members. The decision to accept faculty papers into the Archives collection shall be guided by the following criteria:

  • The faculty member's position in and relationship to the University, as evidenced by tenure status, chairship, and longevity within the institution;
  • The faculty member’s scholarly impact on the field of study and on the greater community;
  • The quality of primary-source materials available at the time of acquisition;
  • The faculty member's involvement in departmental and/or university affairs;
  • The extent to which the faculty member's papers enhance the documentation of university history;
  • Patron demand for the faculty member's papers;
  • The faculty member's willingness to provide unrestricted access to his/her papers for research use;
  • The availability of in-house resources for properly storing, arranging, and describing the papers.

Faculty members, or their designated donors, have the right to impose reasonable restrictions on their papers to protect confidentiality. These restrictions, agreed upon in consultation with the University Archivist, must be documented in a formal gift, deposit, or transfer agreement. The University Archivist may reject agreements that restrict access to materials in perpetuity or do not specify a future date for lifting restrictions on materials.

4. Publications

The University Archives is the official repository for university-sponsored periodicals and newsletters and collects selected unsponsored literature authored by students. The Archives also collects print versions of senior honors theses and the preservation microfilm copy of dissertations. The Archives accepts donations of monographs and anthologies by alumni that contain ISBNs. Self-published materials, including websites, are not retained by the Archives, nor are journal articles, indexes, or directories produced by alumni. Selected visual and moving image materials of which alumni are the main creators may be accepted into the collection. Due to limitations in storage capacity, the University Archives does not acquire or accept donations of faculty publications. In contrast to alumni publications, most faculty publications are available in the university's libraries and in local university and college libraries.

Transfers and Donations

All decisions to acquire materials are made by the University Archives. Upon acceptance, donations of alumni and student material as well as faculty papers must be accompanied by a signed deed of gift. Most University Records may be transferred without a formal deed, as they are the property of Brandeis University. The Archives reserves the right to decline, deaccession, or dispose of materials that: 1) do not fit its acquisition policy; 2) already exist within the collection; 3) may be more appropriately housed in another repository; 4) are inaccessible to the public due to copyright or other restrictions; or 5) are too expensive to process, preserve, and store given available resources.