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Archives: Policies and Procedures

Mission Statement

The Archives of the New England College of Optometry preserves the history of the College and its contributions to vision science, and its impact upon the optometric community in New England and the world. The Archives identifies, preserves, makes available, and uses those records and materials that capture the evolution and culture of the College since its founding and how its faculty, staff, and students have accomplished the College’s continuing mission of excellence in optometric education, research, and clinical services.

Scope of Collecting

The Archives identifies and collects records regardless of format that are considered of enduring value. Such records may be deemed to have permanent legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical value by the Archives and creator of the materials, or may be designated as permanent on a College-wide records retention schedule. Such materials may be in different formats, including paper, magnetic, or digital.

Archival materials may include, but are not limited to: non-current records and other materials created or collected by various boards, committees, administrative and academic departments and staff in fulfilling the College’s mission and functions; publications created by the College; photographs of buildings, people, events, equipment, and activities; audiovisual materials; and small artifacts. The Archives will also collect the record copies of masters’ theses and be on the distribution list for widely-distributed materials. The Archives expects to undertake, preserve, and manage oral histories documenting specific clinical and scientific achievements, events, and people at the New England College of Optometry.

The Archives welcomes the offer of personal papers of faculty and alumni relating to their professional activities or the history of the College, provided that the Archives incurs no obligation to retain such material as an integrated collection or in any donor-prescribed form. The Archives will not purchase such materials.

Donation and Accession Policy

The Archives is responsible for the appraisal and accessioning of the records and materials. No materials will be sent or delivered to the Archives without its prior notification and approval. If you are within the College: please contact the Library, and a staff member will come to your office, interview you about the records, review the materials, and box those that he or she deems of potential archival value. If you are a former staff or faculty member, student, or external organization representative wishing to donate materials relating to the College: please contact the Library first to determine whether the Archives already has copies of the materials, or whether the materials fit within the scope of the collections policy. Rare or unique materials will require a deed of gift that the Library will provide and ask the donor to complete and sign before sending/delivering the materials to the Archives. The same procedure will be followed for the donation of personal papers. The College cannot offer or pay for monetary appraisals of gifts that a potential donor may desire for tax purposes.

All materials accepted by the Archives will be accessioned, assigned a unique identifying number, and described briefly (office of origin, type of record, date range, contents, condition, restrictions). For larger groups of materials, a container list will be compiled as part of the accession record. The transfer will be acknowledged.

Standards of Care

The care and preservation of the archival materials, a tenet of the Archives’ mission, is carried out by arresting deterioration and maintaining collections in as original condition as possible. Every effort will be made to provide the best possible environmental conditions, including control of temperature, humidity, lighting, and air quality. Provisions are to be made for the protection of collections from fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and damage in transit. Established procedures are set up to handle all emergencies. Materials will be housed in archival-quality enclosures and stored in or on appropriate steel equipment. Materials may be reformatted for preservation and for access purposes.

Arrangement and Description

The Archives arranges and describes the materials it receives according to standard archival methodology and techniques. Finding aids and/or series descriptions for collections that are open to both internal and external users are available online and in the Library. Selected materials are available online.

Access Standards and Restrictions

Materials that have been accessioned but not yet fully arranged and described may be used by the Archives staff to answer inquiries and by the originating department. Others will not have access, but may apply for access to the Archives.

In addition, there will be restrictions on some materials based upon the originating department’s wishes, or the Archives’ discretion. Such restrictions shall be recorded in the accession record.

Donors of personal papers may also request restrictions and, if accepted by the College, such restrictions shall be recorded in both the accession record and deed of gift. If at all possible, the Archives will use a rolling date system so that materials will become available after a certain number of years.

The Archives may need to limit access to original materials due to their condition or fragility. Such restrictions will be clearly described for each group of records and noted in the appropriate collection description.

Rules for the handling of archival materials shall be provided to all in-person researchers. In-person researchers must contact the Archives in advance of a visit. The Library staff will provide access to unrestricted collections to an external researcher after that individual has read and signed a permission-to-use form, and has been interviewed. Requests for photocopies or other reproductions will require completion of a separate request form. The Archives will maintain a file of both types of request forms alphabetically by year.

Staff members will retrieve archival materials and supervise their use. Any copying will be done by the Library staff. External researchers must apply for permission to publish. They shall observe conventions of credit in acknowledgments and footnotes.