The University of Illinois Archives is the repository for not only the non-current records of the University but also the personal papers of faculty and staff. In accord with provisions of the General Rules Concerning Organization and Procedure (Article VI, Section 4), the Archives preserves and makes these documents available to aid in research on the history of the institution and on the development of academic disciplines. The personal papers of faculty and staff provide a rich source for historical research. The following guidelines will assist faculty and staff in identifying those portions of their files that are appropriate for transfer to the Archives.
Items likely to be of archival interest include:
- Biographical information: resumes and published and manuscript biographical sketches;
- University official correspondence and files: outgoing and incoming letters and memoranda relating to departmental and University business, committee minutes, reports, and files;
- Professional correspondence (outgoing and incoming) with colleagues, publishers, professional organizations, and former students;
- Teaching material: one copy of lecture notes, syllabi, course outlines, reading lists, examinations, and correspondence with students;
- Publications: one copy of all articles, books, reviews, or works of art;
- Audio-visuals: photographs, films, and sound and video recordings;
- Personal and family correspondence, diaries, photographs.
Note: All information formats (e.g., published, typescript, audio-visual, and electronic data, such as computer disks and files) are appropriate for consideration for transfer. For documents in formats requiring any form of machine intervention, such as videotapes, kinescopes, and all computer files, consideration should be given to transferring the equipment needed to access the documents or, preferably, converting the documents to a format accessible to the Archives’ users. Early consultation with the Archivist is strongly encouraged for all such materials.
Documents which generally should not be transferred without prior consultation with the Archivist include:
- Detailed financial records, canceled checks, and receipts;
- Routine correspondence, especially non-personally addressed mail and routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment;
- Grade books and class rosters;
- Duplicates and multiple copies of publications, course materials; all other duplicate material: keep only the original and heavily annotated copies;
- Typescripts, drafts, and galleys of publications and speeches unless the final publication or presentation is unavailable;
- Books, research papers, journal articles, and reprints written by other persons;
- Research notes and data if a summary of the data is available and transferred; bibliographic notes and notes on reading. Because of wide variations in the nature of research data, it is best to consult with the Archivist before discarding research notes and data.
- Artifacts and memorabilia. The Archives does not collect non-documentary objects except in cases of great importance and a manageable physical size and condition. Please call the Archivist to discuss options for preservation of such objects.
Material should be transferred in the order in which the faculty or staff member maintained them. A letter briefly identifying the material and describing the activity to which they relate should accompany the transfer.
Because files held by faculty and staff can contain official record copies of documents made or received in the conduct of University business, persons reviewing these files may also wish to consult the University Archives’ Transfer Guidelines for Office Records of Campus Administrative and Academic Units.
This list is intended as a general guide. Because of broad variations in personal papers, it is advisable to consult with the Archivist to determine how your own files relate to these guidelines. Exceptions often are made after a review of the conditions under which the documents were generated and their potential usefulness. Please telephone the Archivist at (217) 333-0798.
WHEN IN DOUBT, DO NOT THROW IT OUT!