University Archives Collection Policy

The primary function of the University Archives is to locate, appraise, select, preserve and provide access to the records of the University and related materials of enduring historical research value. To document the intellectual, administrative, cultural, and social environments of the University of Nevada, Reno as comprehensively as possible the University Archives actively collects:

  • University records
  • Faculty papers
  • Student life and personal or organizational records

University records

The administrative records produced by the university in the course of its teaching, research, service, and outreach activities comprise the most tangible evidence of the University's history and activities and constitute a large portion of the permanent historical record of the University.

Please refer to the University Records Retention Schedule for guidance on when a record should be transferred to Special Collections and University Archives.

In general, archival records are those materials generated by University offices —in published and unpublished form — which are inactive and substantive in content, or which otherwise have enduring historical value. Records are considered inactive when they are referred to infrequently and no longer have administrative value for the office which generated them. Substantive records contain information that documents important activities of the creating office: the development of programs, changes in structure and function, etc. Archival records may be paper-based, on audio-visual media, or digital in origin.

The following guidelines will assist administrators and faculty and staff in identifying those portions of their files that are appropriate for transfer to the Archives. All information formats (e.g., printed, audio-visual formats, electronic files, etc.) are appropriate for transfer. Examples of some of the types of historically valuable records that a typical university department or office might produce in the course of its operation and should be considered for transfer include but are not limited to:

  • Correspondence and memoranda
  • Constitutions and by-laws
  • Topical/subject files
  • Meeting agendas, minutes, and other committee materials
  • Planning documents
  • Accreditation records
  • Policy and mission statements
  • Reports, summaries, and surveys
  • Procedures manuals
  • Publications
  • Faculty records of departmental or university-wide service activities
  • Promotional and outreach materials
  • Grant and project files
  • Event records
  • Research records
  • Teaching and curriculum materials (excluding student work or grades)
  • Press releases
  • Photographs
  • Video and audio recordings

Because they are only of transient value or contain confidential information, the following types of records should not be transferred to the archives:

  • Personnel records
  • Employment records
  • Student records
  • Purchasing records and other materials related to specific financial transactions
  • Travel records
  • Routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment
  • Other administrative support records

These lists are intended as general guides. If there are questions about types of records not listed here please do not dispose of them, please contact the Archives for assistance. See Transferring records for detailed instructions on preparing material for transfer to the Special Collections and University Archives department.

Faculty papers

Faculty papers can contain significant information on teaching, research, and professional activities, areas through which researchers can gain a valuable perspective on the intellectual vitality of the university community. The Archives collects the personal papers of representative faculty in an endeavor to document the intellectual environment of the University of Nevada, Reno.

The primary collecting objective is to document the careers of faculty members who meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • have been valued teachers
  • have defined significant ideas
  • have undertaken important research
  • have carried out exemplary service to the university or the larger community

The following types of material found in faculty papers are considered to have potential historical value:

  • correspondence of a substantive nature, including e-mail
  • lecture notes and curriculum materials, speeches
  • research-related records
  • bibliographies, vitae, photographs, films, and audio and video recordings

University faculty members interested in donating personal papers are encouraged to contact Special Collections and University Archives.

Student life and personal or organizational records

The department also seeks personal correspondence, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, digital files, and other personal papers, organizational records, or other types of records and general historical materials that document various aspects of the university community and the student experience.