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Donating Faculty Papers

The University Archives actively seeks to preserve and make accessible the personal and professional papers of faculty and administrators at South Dakota State University. These papers document a faculty member’s career as a researcher and educator at the University.

In addition, the papers of faculty often provide insight into the history and operations of the University that otherwise may not be found in official administrative records. Faculty papers reflect the academic life of the University and offer personal viewpoints expressed in correspondence and other materials that complement other records in the University Archives.

Where do I start?

Donating your papers is easy! Please start by giving us a call at 605-688-4906 or 605-688-5094. We'll ask a few questions about your papers that will save you some time in advance. An archivist may visit you to assess your papers and offer advice.

What types of materials should be sent to University Archives?

This list pertains to both digital and paper records. The list is by no means definitive or exhaustive. It is intended as a general approximation of materials that document the lives of South Dakota State University faculty members. Materials not specifically cited below that contribute toward documenting faculty activities are, of course, welcome.

Records accepted by the University Archives includes:

  • Audio-Visual Files. Films, sound recordings and other audio-visual records created by the faculty member. Must be  identified in some way (such as dates, names, or captions). All formats are accepted, including digital.
  • Biographical materials. Resumes and vitae, biographies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, and memoirs.
  • Certificates and awards
  • Classroom materials. Lecture notes, syllabi, and course outlines.
  • Correspondence: Official letters generated in course of conducting university business. Professional letters relating to one's academic career, including correspondence with colleagues, publishers, professional organizations, and students. Personal letters to and from friends, relatives, and associates.
  • Diaries, journals, notebooks, and appointment calendars.
  • Grants. Materials documenting awarded grants.  May include proposals, interim and final  reports and summary data. All other records may be discarded after  administrative and legal retentions are met.
  • Memorabilia. Awards, plaques, and other three-dimensional items that may be significant to one's career.
  • Photographs, negatives, slides, and digital images. Must be identified  in some way (such as dates, names, or captions).
  • Published and unpublished articles, books, chapters, and speeches. 
  • Research files. Research designs, raw data, notes, analysis and reports.

Preparing your files

This step-by-step guide covers the basics of preparing and sending your records to the archives. Contact us if we can help.

Where do I get boxes?

Bankers boxes with handles are recommended. We can help you estimate the number of boxes you will need. Normally one file drawer 20 inches deep is equivalent to one archives box.  Please contact us directly for boxes.

How do I prepare the files for transfer?

When you have the boxes, start by removing files from filing cabinets. Place the files into the boxes in the same order as they were cabinet. Please don't pack the boxes too tightly! You should be able to comfortably slide your hand into the box and covers should fit snugly.

Create a listing of materials in the boxes. Ideally, your list would include folder titles and dates along with the box numbers as you assign them as you pack.  Create a brief summary description of the materials and include the relevant information:

  • Name of unit
  • Approximate date span of records
  • Summary of contents (e.g., correspondence, 1980-1981; research reports, 1991-1994)
  • Total number of boxes
  • Number each box in pencil.

Contact us when you're ready to arrange for the transfer of your papers.

What happens to the files after they are sent to the archives?

Our staff will review, organize and describe the files. We'll remove some types of materials such as duplicates, routine transactional records (like travel vouchers), and certain types of personal information. We'll also remove any materials that would be better suited for the Libraries circulating collection instead of the Archives. If you have questions or concerns about materials removed after you send the boxes to Archives, please let us know as soon as possible. 

Depending on the current filing scheme and the age and condition of the materials, we may physically rearrange the materials and re-folder some or all of the materials. Once that's done, we'll prepare a summary description of the material with administrative information and a box container list. In some cases, we will prepare a more detailed folder listing.  This information is compiled into a collection guide or finding aid that will go online and make the collection accessible to you, others in the University, and the public. You can look at some examples of finding aids on our website.

How will I access the files?

The files will always be available for your use onsite in the Archives, and reference service by phone or e-mail is available for many types of requests. The online finding aid will serve as your new list and you can reference it when you call us. In some cases, we can mark up your original list with the new box numbers and return it to you if you need it as a cross-reference.  If this is a particular concern, please be sure to ask at the time of transfer.

Materials in the Archives are retained permanently with very few exceptions. Because the materials are rare or unique, they must be used onsite in our secure reading room. If you need photocopies, we can provide them for you according to our photocopying policy.

Please contact us in advance of your visit so that the materials will be ready for you in the reading room when you arrive. Some parts of the collections are stored offsite and may require a day or two to retrieve. In any case we always appreciate advance notice if you plan to visit.  The Archives reading room is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 4:00, and by special arrangement.

More questions? Contact us!