University Archives – Collection Guidelines


The University Archives are part of the Washington State University Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC). Our mission is to collect, preserve, and share the history of the university through the paper, publications, photographs, and media produced by it. The University Archives are primarily concerned with documents produced by organizations which are either part of WSU, or which are affiliated with WSU – materials from individual faculty, students, and staff are the purview of the Manuscripts section of MASC.

General Guidelines

What the University Archives will take is highly situational, and thus hard to strictly define. Please feel free to contact us with questions at However… as our mission focuses on the sharing of the history of WSU, we do not collect items which must be permanently closed to public access. Records transferred to MASC will be open to the public. Neither are we simply a records storage area; our space is limited, and records accepted here need to possess research value or be of historical interest. For information regarding legal questions dealing with campus records, or for help finding storage elsewhere, please contact WSU’s Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms.

Commonly Accepted Materials

  • Newsletters, bulletins, programs, and other publications produced by WSU-affiliated organizations or departments.
  • Official minutes and records of WSU-affiliated departments and organizations.
  • Summary departmental records of WSU-affiliated research, artistic works, or other projects.
  • Complete correspondence files of higher level WSU officials.
  • Materials which document the actions of WSU-affiliated organizations or WSU-related events.

Commonly Rejected Materials

  • Materials containing privileged information (note that if something is privileged now but will become eventually publicly available we can accept it and place access restrictions until that future date; it is the responsibility of the originating department to identify such records prior to transfer).
  • Financial records beyond a summary level, including payroll, personnel, and travel/purchase records or receipts.
  • Instructional materials.
  • Records still in active, regular use.
  • Materials lacking any apparent order and/or context.
  • Materials which are excessively damaged and/or dirty.

As stated above, please note that these are highly situational; exceptions are regularly made for materials with a particular historical value or quality. Also remember that MASC holds more than the University Archives. If you have questions, please contact us.

Materials accepted by the University Archives become the property of MASC, and will not be returned to their originators save in exceptional circumstances. While all records will be publicly available in MASC, if you believe that you will want your records back then please do not transfer them. The Archives are intended as permanent holdings, but should circumstances force the disposal of given materials, an attempt will be made to offer them back to the originators before disposal. It is not uncommon for some materials to be designated for disposal during the processing of collections.

Guidelines for Transfer

Please contact the University Archivist at prior to transferring any materials. The Archivist will either accept, refuse, or request to examine the materials prior to transmittal.

In transferring accepted items to the Archives, please numerically label all boxes so as to identify the order of your materials. Please include, both in print and electronically, if possible, any organizational materials, filing systems, or other documentation which you have used for managing these files, as well as any information on access restrictions. The more information you can provide with regard to content, context, significance, and order of these items, the more usable they will be to future researchers.