The collection question

One of the regular questions we get is “what do you collect?”  That’s not always an easy question to answer! Sometimes the answer is: it depends. For a while now, though, we’ve been talking about formalizing our collection policy for A&SC. Or at least putting it into some sort of a written form that will help guide us as we try to answer that question. So that’s what follows. And if you still have the question “what do you collect?” Please feel free to use the contact us tab up top and tell us about what you have that we might want to make sure is available to researchers both now and in the future.

Why we collect?

The Archives is a part of the UAA/APU Consortium Library. The Library’s mission is to provide and maintain collections and resources that support the educational and research programs of the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University.  The library provides information services for the benefit of the university and research communities and the residents of the state of Alaska.  The Consortium Library evaluates, acquires, organizes, and preserves knowledge and information.  The Library emphasizes access to information and instruction on the knowledgeable use of information resources.

What do we collect?

A brief answer: personal, professional, and organizational papers from individuals or organizations with an Alaskan connection. We focus specifically on unique, one-of-a-kind materials that are not typically published nor are available through other resources. This can include diaries, letters, photographs, moving images, audio, scrapbooks, meeting minutes, and many other document types. We take in electronic records as well as more traditional media such as paper-based documents.

So what types of materials do we already have?

The papers of Alaskan politicians and legislators, public policy institutes, civic organizations, businesses, doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, anthropologists, military personnel, academics, dancers, artists, journalists, photographers, and sometimes just your average Alaskan family home movies. If you browse through our collections list, you’ll see that our holdings represent some of the diversity that is Alaska. Our researchers represent that diversity as well, and so we want to be sure to collect materials that serve all of our researchers’ needs.

So what don’t we take?

We have a few defined groups of records that we can’t take in. These include:

  • Government records, unless they’re given to us with the blessing of the archives for whatever branch of federal, state, or local government that might be.
  • Copied materials, where the originals are held by other archives or research institutions.
  • Records that are permanently closed to access or that have access restrictions that affect our ability to provide equal access to all of our researchers.
  • Collections with no relationship to Alaska — though in that case, we’ll be happy to put you in touch with another archives that may collect in that area, so give us a call!