Policies for Administration of University of California Archives

Prepared by the UC Archivists Council
Revised April 24, 2007

I. Statement of Purpose

II. Administrative Mandate

III. Uses and Users

IV. Collecting Scope

V. Copyright

VI. Deaccessioning & Reformatting

VII. Access

VIII. Campus Collection Development Policies

IX. Review of This Policy

Appendix I. Campus-Level Core Administrative Records

Appendix II. UC Faculty Papers: Identification and Appraisal

Appendix III. California Public Records Act Guidelines for Compliance

These policies are intended for use by University of California (UC) archivists, library staff, records managers, and other administrators. They are developed and revised by the UC Archivists Council, and reviewed by the UC Records Management Committee and the UC Heads of Special Collections.

I. Statement of Purpose

UC archivists are responsible for the collection, preservation, management and use of inactive UC records of enduring value generated at the campus and systemwide levels.

Each UC campus has one or more representatives to the University of California Archivists Council (UCAC). In collaboration with UC records managers: UCAC monitors the university-wide records management program; reviews UC records disposition schedules; and identifies UC records to be designated as permanent and/or archival within the schedules. UCAC also monitors other pertinent UC records policies. 1

UCAC members work together to coordinate campus-level policies and practices as they apply to UC records.

II. Administrative Mandate

In 1963 UC President Clark Kerr established a systemwide UC records management program to manage the increasing volume of university records and to ensure the preservation of records of historical importance. In 1964 the University Librarians were instructed to establish a university archives and appoint a university archivist for each UC campus.

UC archives are intended to support UC’s commitment to instruction, research, and public service as stated in the Master Plan (1960) and in A Review of the University of California, a multi-campus System in the 1980's. 2

University of California ownership of its administrative records was affirmed by UC Vice President Earl C. Bolton in a letter dated October 31, 1969, as follows:

"With respect to [administrative records of] all of its officers and employees, including members of the faculty, whose regular or occasional performance of administrative duties puts them in possession of files, records, or documents pertaining to such duties, such files, records, or documents, including but not limited to correspondence, reports, writings, and other papers, records, maps, tapes, photographic films and prints, magnetic and punched cards, discs and drums, are the property of The Regents of the University of California, and, as such, may not be permanently removed from the University nor destroyed except in accordance with disposition schedules established by the University Records Management Committee." 3

III. Uses and Users

UC-affiliated persons are the primary clientele of UC archives. Typical uses and users of archival records include:


  • University administration
  • Faculty and student research
  • Curriculum development and instruction
  • Public relations and public information
  • University development
  • University publications
  • Exhibition programs

Access is also provided to alumni, non-UC researchers, and the general public. (see Section VII. Access)

IV. Collecting Scope

Each UC archives collects, preserves, administers, and provides access to selected inactive campus records that have enduring administrative, legal, historical or research value. 4 In most cases these materials are public records; they document the history, policies, and procedures of the campus. Many records designated as permanent and/or archival are unique (i.e., only one copy exists).

In general, records designated archival remain in the custody of their office of origin until they are no longer actively needed for business purposes. At that time, custody of the records is transferred to the archives.

Relevant materials in any format are eligible for inclusion in UC archives including: paper-based materials, audio recordings, microform, film, digital files, maps, photographs, and architectural drawings.

UC archives do not collect all university records, but primarily those records documenting the university's decision-making process and the essential cultural history of each campus. Records remain in the custody of their office of origin until they are no longer actively needed for business purposes.

IV.A. Identification and Appraisal

UC records managers and archivists work together to establish disposition schedules that identify records of enduring value for permanent retention, for transfer to archives, or for consideration for disposal; these schedules are found in the University of California Records Disposition Schedules Manual.5 Records are selected for permanent retention through a process of analysis called "appraisal" which evaluates the long-term value of records. As a result, records are selected for retention that best document the functions of the university: to convey knowledge; to foster socialization; to conduct research; and to sustain (support) the institution. 6

In addition, each campus archives collects materials that have permanent historical value and are not officially designated for the archives in the Records Disposition Schedules. Sources for these materials include administrative offices, faculty, staff, students and university support groups.

IV.A.1. Core Campus Records

UC archives attempt to acquire and preserve, at minimum, a "core" set of records that document a campus’ programs and activities. (See Appendix I, UC Campus-Level Core Administrative Records) The records of executive administrators generally are emphasized over those of subordinates.

IV.A.2. Faculty Papers

Faculty papers can be rich resources of university history in addition to documenting the careers of individuals. All UC campuses collect faculty papers selectively and administer them either as university archives or as manuscript collections. (See Appendix II, UC Faculty Papers: Identification and Appraisal)

IV.A.3. Systemwide Records

Records generated by system-wide entities such as the UC Regents, the Office of the President (UCOP), the Academic Senate, and the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) are collected by the University Archives at UC Berkeley. Other UC campus archives generally do not acquire system-wide records. 7

IV.B. Materials Excluded

Many records, publications, and data generated by UC offices and personnel do not fall within the mandate of UC archives. Each archives is authorized to identify materials that do not merit permanent retention. Examples include: scholarly publications of individual faculty members; records generated by scholarly conferences held at UC campuses but not relating to UC business; and journals or technical reports published at UC campuses that do not document UC activities.

UC campus archives generally do not acquire records that have permanent restrictions on access.

Records that have permanent restrictions on access generally are retained by the office of record and are not transferred to the UC campus archives.

V. Copyright

Copyright for UC records is held by the Regents of the University of California. Administration of UC records by each archives must comply with the policies stated in the University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership. 8

VI. Deaccessioning & Reformatting

Records may be deaccessioned (i.e., permanently removed) from a UC archives if the archivist determines that they are no longer of enduring value, are duplicative of other records in the archives, or are available in another format. The archivist may choose to contact the office of origin to determine if the deaccessioned records should be returned or destroyed, but this is not required.

VII. Access

Access policies are determined by each archivist in compliance with the California Public Records Act (CPRA) 9 and professional guidelines. 10 Access to some records is restricted, usually for a specific period of time, when they fall under CPRA exclusions. (See Appendix III, California Public Records Act. Guidelines for Compliance.)

Access to records which remain in a campus office is provided by that office, consistent with the California Public Records Act and Information Practices Act 11 or as coordinated by the campus Information Practices Officer.

Access to original records may be denied if the material is too fragile to be handled safely. Each archives makes reasonable efforts to provide timely access to the intellectual information contained in the materials by reformatting (such as photocopying, creating a microform, or digitization).

VIII. Campus Collection Development Policies

The collection development statement for each UC campus archives should comply with this Policy. Each campus promulgates its local policy for archival campus records in collaboration with other UC campuses by means of a coordinated approach to identification and appraisal. UCAC takes the lead in this activity.

IX. Review of This Policy

This policy is periodically reviewed by UCAC in consultation with the UC Heads of Special Collections and the University Records Management Committee.

2001 Apr. 25/cbbrown, dday, jmdooley;
rev. 2005 june 6; rev. 2005 oct 21

1 "Roles and Responsibilities" (Section VI). Records retention and disposition: principles, processes, and guidelines. UC Business and Finance Bulletin RMP-2 (September 2004). www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp2.pdf For a complete list of RMP series bulletins see: www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/

2A Master Plan for Higher Education in California, 1960-1975. Sacramento: California State Department of Education, 1960. pp.36-37. Charles R. Adrian et. al. A review of The University of California, a multi-campus System in the 1980's. Riverside: University of California, 1979.

3 “Policy statement on ownership of administrative records issued by [UC] Vice President [Earl C.] Bolton, October 31, 1969.” (Section I. References). University Records Management Program. UC Business and Finance Bulletin RMP-1 (August 2003). www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp1.pdf

4 Standard archival practice incorporates T. R. Schellenberg's appraisal theory of primary and secondary values in records: primary values include administrative value, legal value and fiscal value; secondary values include evidential value and informational value. See also F. Gerald Ham. Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts [Archival Fundamental Series]. Society of American Archivists. (Chicago, 1993) for a discussion of Schellenberg.

5 As of May 2002, the UC Records Management Committee initiated a revision of the University of California Records Disposition Schedules Manual. An Internet version of the current edition of the Manual is located at: www.policies.uci.edu/adm/records/721-11a.html

6 Institutional functions analyzed during the appraisal process are discussed in: Helen Willa Samuels. Varsity letters: documenting modern colleges and universities. Society of American Archivists (Scarecrow Press, 1992)

7 On occasion, and in consultation with the University Archives at UC Berkeley, campus archives collect the records of UC systemwide offices located on their campus.

8University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership (1992 August 19). www.ucop.edu/ucophome/uwnews/copyr.html

9State of California Public Records Act (Gov. Code Section 6250 et seq.) www.cdlib.org/privacy/legalpolicies.html (see under: State of California Statutes).

10 Association of College & Research Libraries and Society of American Archivists. Access to Original Research Materials, ALA-SAA Joint Statement on. (February 1994). www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/standardsguidelines.htm

11 "California Information Practices Act of 1977 (Civil Code Section 1798 et. seq.)" (Section VII). Legal Requirements on Privacy of and Access to Information. UC Business and Finance Bulletin RMP-8 (July 1992). www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp8.html

Last updated: September 1, 2016