Archival Records and Manuscript Collections – LR 213.1

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Archival Records and Manuscript Collections
Policy Number: LR 213.1
Effective Date: May 16, 1977


The chancellor of each campus will be responsible for ascertaining that the campus library will build its collections and holdings in harmony with the campus mission as designated by policies of the Board of Trustees.

In the absence of professional archivists at the campuses, it is anticipated that each chancellor will assign responsibility to a professional staff member (e.g., an historian or librarian) to coordinate and supervise the safekeeping of institutional records at that campus. The designated persons will receive, from time to time, advice and guidelines from the university archivist concerning the control and processing of university records.

The president may appoint a university archivist who will be entrusted with the safekeeping of those records of the university resulting from business transacted by the Board of Trustees, the President’s Office, and the offices of all university-wide officials. The university archivist will be responsible for efficient and economical management of the university archives and other non-current records created by the Central Administration. The archivist shall be responsible to, and under the jurisdiction of the president. He or she shall utilize the best available storage within the university for these records.

An additional function of the university archivist is to advise university officials, particularly the president and chancellors, concerning the care and processing of manuscript collections* received by the university. Whenever prospective donors approach representatives of a campus of the university with a potential contribution of manuscript collections, the university archivist should be alerted to the potential gift for any advice which he may render concerning its reception by the university. Small, locally-oriented gifts may be received by the respective campuses, with a brief description forwarded to the university archivist so that officials can apprise interested scholars throughout the university of the collection.

Significant collections** usually involving resource commitment by the university for their control, protection, classification, and usage, should be received by the university only through a contract or letter of acceptance executed by the president of the university and, if deemed a major gift in his opinion, by the Board of Trustees. In these negotiations, the president may call upon the university legal counsel and archivist for technical assistance.

In the processing of documents for the disposition of manuscript collections, the expressed will and intent of the donor will be honored to the maximum extent possible. If compatible with the donor’s wishes, the collection should be assigned to that campus in which:

  1. The nature of the material fits most closely with the role and scope of the campus curriculum;
  2. There are correlate collections or library holdings to complement the use of the collection;
  3. Skilled personnel are competent to process and manage the collection;
  4. Security measures and controls are most appropriate for the protection and servicing of the collection; and
  5. The greatest number of scholars–faculty, students, and qualified persons–will utilize the collection. The president shall make this determination upon recommendation of the university archivist, university librarians, or other officials who have interest in the particular collection being received, before he or she signs the contract.

Wherever manuscript collections are held, the university will maintain access to these materials by qualified users from any campus in accordance with the donor’s intent and the law.

*A manuscript collection is defined by the Library of Congress as a large group of papers (manuscript or typescript, originals, or copies, of letters, memoranda, diaries, accounts, log books, drafts, etc. including associated printed or near-print materials), usually having a common source and formed by or around an individual, a family, a corporate entity, or devoted to a single theme.

**A significant manuscript collection is one that records important events of statewide or larger interest or which records aspects or work of an individual known at least statewide. In either case, it is a collection which would attract the research interests of scholars or advanced students from outside the institution and beyond the locality in which the collection is preserved.

Source: University-wide Administrative Memo, May 16, 1977
Approved By:
Custodian: Office of the Chancellor