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Common Archival Series

What Should I Send to the Archives?

The UWM Archives seeks to preserve and maintain an accurate and complete historical record of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Almost every office and department on campus produces records of historical significance, here defined as any record that documents the decision-making process, sets or interprets policy, or provides evidence of a major activity.

The below list, based on general records schedules for UWM, is intended to provide campus offices with an idea of the kinds of records the Archives is most interested in. It is not meant to be inclusive. If you have a record series that you think should be preserved permanently, please let us know.

Subject Files: Otherwise known as “program files,” “office files,” or “departmental files,” this series documents the activities of academic departments on campus, including the internal development of programs and reviews thereof, special events and conferences sponsored by a department, outreach programs, and policies and procedures for department operations. These files may include correspondence, reports, memoranda and notes, publications, announcements, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other material related to particular subjects, projects, or correspondents.

As units create subject files in the course of business-related activities, the files naturally reflect the internal development and operation of office or departmental programs. Subject files constitute by far the bulk of the collections in the UWM Archives and are usually the richest records series from a researcher’s standpoint. Please note that the Archives is generally NOT interested in drafts or “working papers” unless they reflect significant change in the direction of the report or project.

Meeting Minutes: Minutes and associated material (including attachments) from ad hoc, standing, departmental, and task force committees, as well as from governance bodies such as the Faculty Senate and Academic Staff Senate.

Minutes are great resources for researchers who wish to track discussions regarding legislation, reports, budgets, program and curriculum planning, and other key aspects of campus life.

Publications: Programs, newsletters, leaflets, newspapers, catalogs, programs, posters, brochures and booklets, bulletins, and press releases produced by the University and its associated offices and departments.

These publications provide an important look at how events and programs around campus were advertised, and often produce some of the most colorful and exciting archival material.

Accreditation Files: These records, by their nature, create a snapshot of the state of a department or program, including information on curricular development, faculty research, course syllabi, and qualitative and quantitative evaluations of the program as a whole. The value of accreditation files, both to researchers and to departments preparing for their next accreditation cycle, cannot be overstated.

Tenured Faculty Personnel Files: These records document the teaching and research career of (usually) long-term faculty at UWM. While in general these files are closed to general research, schools, colleges, and departments find them useful for researching faculty history for recognition or benefits purposes. These files have a 30-year retention in offices per the UW Human Resources Records Schedule, but because they are scheduled for permanent retention, the Archives will accept them at any time after the faculty members’ retirement.

Grant Final Reports: These records provide evidence of the research activity of a department, center, institute, or individual faculty member, and often contain information or data of interest to researchers not found in any publications that may come from the original research product. Particularly if the reports are being created electronically, transferring a copy to the Archives helps ensure that the University has a full record of the type of research being conducted.

Planning Documentation: Strategic Planning provides a look at the vision and objectives of a department or program, regardless of whether the actions item in the plan are ever implemented. These documents are critical for helping researchers get a handle on the driving philosophy of a department.