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University Archives Collection Policy


The West Virginia University Archives serves as the collective memory of West Virginia University. Its primary purpose, as the final repository for the historical documents of the University, is to collect, preserve, and provide access to these records. The University’s permanent records include administrative files, publications, photographs, audiovisual material, faculty papers, theses and dissertations, and memorabilia that document all aspects of campus life and the operations of WVU,
dating from the founding of the University in 1867 through the present day. The University Archives also collects materials from the two WVU Divisional Campuses, Potomac State College of WVU and WVU Institute of Technology.

The University Archives aims to support research and provide reference services for students, faculty, administration, alumni, and independent researchers. It also provides material and assistance for historical exhibits, school publications, and other University activities.

The records collected by the University Archives include:

  • West Virginia University Administrative Records
    • Board of Governors
    • Office of the President
    • Administrative Units (including Athletics; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; Federal Relations; General Counsel; Research & Economic Development; Academic Affairs; Health Sciences; Student Life; University Relations; Strategic Initiatives; and Talent and Culture)
    • Advisory Constituency Groups (Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Student Government, etc.)
      • Publications – including both unit-level and university-level newsletters, brochures, posters, and other university-level publications such as WVU magazine, course catalogs, student directories, etc.
      • Reports – including annual reports, self-studies, certification documentation
      • Events – invitations and programs for commencement and other ceremonies, dedications, campus-wide events, anniversaries, prominent lecture series
      • Minutes – from steering committees, task forces, or other groups that have historical or research value to the university
    • Academic Units/Schools, Colleges, and Divisions
      • Publications – including newsletters, brochures, student journals, posters, monographs, departmental histories
      • Reports – including annual reports, self-studies, certification documentation
      • Events – invitations and programs from events such as awards ceremonies, dedications, anniversaries, prominent lecture series
      • Minutes – from steering committees, task forces, or other groups that have an impact on the development of an academic program
      • Curriculum and Instruction—academic degree and course proposals, curriculum development files
      • Grant records, IRB records, etc.
  • Student Organizations (including fraternal organizations, clubs, and societies)
    • Publications
      • Newspapers, newsletters, and journals
    • Organizations
      • Constitutions and by-laws
      • Governance and policy documents
      • Minutes and proceedings
      • Policies and procedures
      • Annual membership rosters and committee assignments
      • Correspondence, memoranda, and subject files concerning projects, activities and functions
      • Newsletters, announcements, brochures, invitations, programs
      • Photographic images documenting organization members and activities
      • NOTE: Images should be dated and labeled with the names of people and places
  • Faculty Papers and Collections--Personal and professional papers of faculty members who have made a significant contribution to the University or their field of study.
    • Correspondence
      • Professional: outgoing and incoming letters relating to all facets of one’s academic career, including correspondence with colleagues, publishers, professional organizations and students
      • Personal: letters to and from friends, relatives and business associates
    • Biographical
      • Resumes, bibliographies, biographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings related to personal and professional activities, personal memoirs
    • Classroom material
      • Lecture notes, overheads, slides, syllabi, course outlines, reading lists, examinations, and tape recordings of lectures, speeches and discussions
    • Research files
      • Outlines, research designs, raw data, notes, analyses and reports of findings
      • Drafts and manuscripts of articles and books
      • Published articles and monographs
    • Administration
      • Departmental or committee minutes and records
      • Diaries, notebooks, appointment calendars, memorabilia
    • Audio/Visual content
      • Photographic images documenting personal and professional activities
      • NOTE: Images should be dated and labeled with the names of people and places
      • Audio and/or video recordings documenting personal and professional activities
      • NOTE: Recordings should be dated and labeled with a descriptive title; oral histories should include interviewee release forms and transcripts
  • Alumni Papers and Collections--Personal and Professional Papers of alumni who have made a significant contribution to the University or their field.
    • Roughly the same as for faculty papers
  • Artifacts
    • Uniforms, pins, pennants, letter sweaters, landscape plans and architectural renderings, commemorative items, scrapbooks (if people and places are identified)

Materials generally not accepted:

  • Routine administrative and financial records (see the University Retention Schedule for retention and disposition instructions)
  • Records protected by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Drafts or working copies of publications or reports for which a final versionexists
  • Unidentified photographs
  • Personal research, including clippings, Web page printouts and other collected materials, that does not result in a final product or publication
  • Unidentified media, such as audio or video recordings, born-digital files, or storage devices labeled as “backups”
  • Content on unusual or proprietary digital formats, unless working hardware/software is provided to aid in the reformatting of the content
  • Items with unreasonable access restrictions

Reappraisal and Deaccession Guidelines:

Materials are routinely deaccessioned from recent acquisitions as part of the normal selection, appraisal, and accessioning process. Materials may also be deaccessioned from existing collections where selection and appraisal activities were not previously performed – especially in the cases where materials were donated to the library or the university prior to the creation of the University Archives. Additionally, periodic weeding of the collection may be done to identify items which no longer fit the criteria for inclusion in the collection. These materials will be offered back to the originating office or disposed of.

These guidelines do not cover every possible situation or contingency of reappraisal and deaccessioning. Archivists should rely on their best professional judgment when dealing with specific circumstances that are not covered by these guidelines.

When considering materials for deaccessioning, the following criteria will be evaluated:

  • Does the material fall within the scope of current collection and appraisal policies?
  • Is the material slated for permanent retention in the University Archives by the University Retention Schedule?
  • Is the material a duplicate or does it duplicate information already held here or elsewhere in another format?
  • Has the material deteriorated beyond real usefulness?
  • Are there any externally imposed restrictions such as donor agreement or other legal issues that apply to this material?
  • How would deaccessioning of this material affect public access to information?
  • Would the material be more useful to the scholarly community if located at another institution?