Institute Archival Policy

The following Institute Archival policy was accepted by the Board of Trustees at their meeting held May 22, 1982.

To ensure that the history of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is documented, the preservation and accessibility of its official papers are essential. The following policy is hereby adopted:

Correspondence, records, minutes, departmental files, record copies of campus publications, financial documents and associated papers that are generated by the various academic and administrative offices in the conduct of their business, and deemed to be of historical significance to the Institute, are the property of the Institute and thereby constitute archival materials.

No archival materials may be destroyed without prior consent of the Institute Archivist. The Archivist, in consultation with the appropriate administrative officer, shall determine general guidelines for material to be placed in the Archives and the conditions of access to and period of retention for each archival file.

The following is a list of guidelines generally used by archivists to determine the intrinsic and historical value of records.

1.   Are the records official Institute records or records produced by an Institute-related organization, group, or individual?

2.   Are the records covered by retention-disposition schedules?

3.   Do the records have permanent legal, administrative, fiscal, historical, or public relations value?

4.   If the significance of the records is solely historical, does it fall within the Archives' collecting policy, i.e., do the records document an aspect of the Institute's growth and development, particularly its primary functions of teaching and research, its role in the community at large, the activities of its student body, or the development of its physical plant and grounds?

5.   Do similar records exist elsewhere, i.e., is it an official copy of a record from the office of origin or is it a duplication of the copy of record?

6.   If similar records exist, are they:

  • available?
  • more authoritative, more nearly complete, or do they summarize the essential information?
  • in a more desirable arrangement?
  • more desirable in terms of preservation?

7.   What are the restrictions on the records?

8.   Does the historical value of the records warrant the level of processing procedures necessary to preserve the records and make them available for research?

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