Archives and Special Collections Policies
In order to develop and maintain our Archives & Special Collections, policies are in place to care for our materials and guide researchers.
Archives & Special Collections (ASC) is committed to preserving collections and making them available to current and future researchers. Due to the rare and unique nature of the materials in ASC, specific guidelines apply. To ensure that materials are well-cared for and available for future use, all researchers are required to complete a registration form upon arrival, present university or government-issued identification, and sign this form agreeing to observe this policy. Staff members are available during a researcher’s visit to answer questions as well as ensure the proper care and handling of material.
- ASC is open 8:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday. Materials will be pulled up to 4:45pm. Contacting ASC in advance is encouraged.
- All items must be used in ASC’s reading room. Materials cannot be checked out or removed from ASC.
- Researchers will request materials by completing a call slip. A staff member will retrieve the materials.
- The number of items given to a researcher for use at the same time is limited and will depend on the condition of the materials.
- Researchers must not remove paper clips or staples from documents. Ask ASC staff for assistance.
- No tracing, folding, marking, or leaning on material is allowed.
- Researchers will keep materials flat on the surface of the table or in book cradles provided.
- Documents housed in folders must remain in the folder. Items must remain in the order in which they are found.
- Researchers may use personal cameras. Researchers may request a photocopy or digital copy. Staff will provide them depending on the condition of the item and potential copyright restrictions.
- ASC reserves the right to review any papers, notebooks, portfolios, or similar when researchers enter and leave the reading room.
- Items will be removed and a researcher’s privileges revoked if they are observed in any behavior that could damage collection material.
Items allowed in the reading room:
- Camera (no flash photography is allowed)
- Laptop, tablet, or other electronic device and power cords (without cases and set to silent)
- Cellphones (set to silent or vibrate)
- Pencil and paper
Items not allowed in the Reading Room include, but are not limited to:
- Food and drink
- Pens or markers
- Outerwear and umbrellas
- Any type of purse, bag, briefcase, laptop case, etc.
- Envelopes and folders
- Personal scanners
- Tripods and lights
Researchers are encouraged to use personal cameras when conducting research in ASC. Images are for private study, scholarship, and research use only. The following rules apply:
- Researchers will obtain permission from staff before taking any photographs.
- Researchers will include in each photograph a strip provided by ASC stating the repository name for citations.
- It is the responsibility of the researcher to keep accurate citations for all items photographed.
- Researchers will not disturb other researchers in the reading room.
- Researchers will not take photographs of the staff, reading room, or other researchers.
- Researchers will not publish images in print, post them on the Internet, nor exhibit them without obtaining permission from ASC.
- Researchers will not donate, sell, or provide reproductions to another repository.
- Researchers may request publication-quality images from ASC. Fees may apply. Researchers must use the provided citation in the publication.
- It is the responsibility of researchers to obtain permission to publish from copyright owners.
- ASC reserves the right to deny permission to photograph material at its discretion.
Cameras are available for check-out by UNO students, faculty, and staff at the library’s Main Service Desk on the 2nd floor.
If you are using a digital camera, the Cornell University Library guide "Cameras as Research Tools: A guide to tools & techniques" and the Harvard Library guide "Zotero: A How-To Guide" offer useful guidance and suggestions.
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, financial and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska at Omaha assumes no responsibility.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, UNO Libraries' Archives and Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at the library's Copyright and Fair Use Policies.
Materials in UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections are historical in nature and reflect the society in which they were produced. As such, they may contain racial, gender, sexual, religious, and other language and imagery that are offensive by today's standards. The documents, images, publications, and other materials have been retained in order to fully represent the materials in their original format. If the offensive text is not in the original, but in a finding aid, catalog record, or other description created by library employees, please contact Archives and Special Collections to bring this to our attention. Archives & Special Collections is guided by the core values of the Society of American Archivists. If you have questions about this statement or about Archives and Special Collections’ work, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-554-6046.
Approved by ASC 2019-07-29
Reviewed by Library Leadership 2019-08-21
- All reproductions other than with your personal camera, whether photocopies or digital reproductions, are made by staff. Due to the physical condition of some material or copyright restrictions reproductions may be limited or not possible.
- Reproductions in any format may not be further reproduced, sold, shared, or given to another person, company, or institution for any purpose without the written permission of Archives & Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the user to investigate the copyright status of any given item and obtain permission where needed prior to publication or distribution.
- Requests for reproductions should be as specific as possible as Archives & Special Collections staff cannot undertake individuals’ research projects. Researchers who cannot visit Archives & Special Collections may contact the department to request the names of local researchers.
- Reproductions will be made in the following formats: PDFs, JPEGs, and photocopies. Delivery of digital reproductions is free via email or cloud-based file storage.
Cost for Reproduction and Delivery
may be payable by cash, check or money order
- PDFs or photocopies (printed materials), less than 100 pages requested: Free
- PDFs or photocopies (printed materials), when the total requested (lifetime) is more than 100 pages: 10¢ per page
- Digitizing images: $5.00/image
- Digitizing oversized images: Consult staff
- Shipping & handling: Begins at $5.00
- Delivery via CD or DVD (must be specifically requested): $10/disk
Archives & Special Collections will in most cases be able to complete orders within 15 business days. The following fees apply to requests for rush orders:
- Within 10 business days: $50.00
- Within 5 business days: $100.00
- Within 3 business days: $200.00
Audio and Video Digitization
Reproductions of audio and video formats may in particular be complicated and require close consultation with Archives & Special Collections staff. When the digitization of audio or video materials cannot be completed by Criss Library staff because of the fragile condition of the source material or unavailability of playback equipment in the library, a quote to digitize the item(s) to appropriate archival standards by a vendor may be requested.
Permission to use materials must be obtained from Archives & Special Collections. Fees for the publication, display, or broadcast of material from Archives & Special Collections may apply for commercial uses.
Fees per use:
- Books and periodicals: $50.00
- Other print products: Contact Archives & Special Collections for pricing
- Web page: $10.00
- Exhibit display: $25.00
- Film, television, cable, satellite, Internet-based broadcast, etc.: $200.00
- All other uses will be negotiated with the director of Archives & Special Collections
Criss Library’s Archives & Special Collections grants researchers permission to publish, display, or broadcast materials from its holdings for which it holds ownership and/or other rights. Permission must be requested for publications in any format including print, electronic, web, film, or other. Unless explicitly transferred to the university, copyright to material may be held by the creator(s), their heir(s), or designee(s) and it is the responsibility of researchers to request copyright permission from those individuals or entities separately.
All researchers requesting permission to publish material must complete this form and submit it to the director of Archives & Special Collections. If your request is granted, you will be notified within 10 business days. Researchers may be responsible for associated fees.
UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections is the university’s repository that serves university users, the Omaha community, and all other researchers through its unique, rare, and specialized research collections of manuscripts, archives, books, and published material. This policy provides information about Archives and Special Collections’ practices that guide acquisition decisions in line with the mission and priorities of UNO Libraries and professional best practices.
The three collecting areas of the department are University Archives, Manuscript Collections, and Books and Published Material. Within these areas the department is committed to increasing the representation of Black, Native and Indigenous, Latino and Hispanic, Asian American, LGBTQIA2S+, women, and the disabled as creators and voices in the collection. Archives and Special Collections acknowledges and works to uplift the voices that have not been prioritized through historical records for preservation and access. This work is important to creating a more complete picture of history, in particular the UNO and Omaha communities.
Archives and Special Collections will review this policy at least every five years and more frequently as necessary to recognize the ongoing evolution of the repository, library, and university.
The University Archives is the official repository of UNO publications and records relating to the history of the university.1 In addition, the University Archives strives to document the full experience of UNO students, employees, and alumni through collections both official and unofficial. The department is committed to expanding the voices of the historically marginalized in university history and the University Archives through collection and preservation of personal and organizational material.
The manuscript collections2 are focused primarily, but not exclusively, on voices and experiences from Omaha. This includes personal and family papers, organizational records, and collections of material gathered by someone who is not the creator. Archives and Special Collections acquires and preserves material in concert with local cultural heritage organizations to support ethical collecting and expand the voices of the historically marginalized. The focus of ongoing collection development includes human rights, democracy and civics, and the arts.
Books and Published Material
Archives and Special Collections’ books and published material are acquired to support teaching, research, and subject areas related to the strengths of the department’s existing collections and priority subjects. The department is committed to expanding the voices of the historically marginalized in the repository through collection and preservation of books and published material. Existing notable topics in the department include:
- Fine press books including letterpress and artists' books
- Selected Nebraska authors and literature
Archives and Special Collections will accept materials that fall within the scope of this collecting policy with consideration for format. Examples include analog papers, photographs, negatives, slides, and film, as well as digital images, documents, videos, and audio recordings. Some formats including early electronic records and audio-visual materials, complex data sets, and large digital files may require special preservation measures to ensure long term access and use. Artifacts and memorabilia will be considered for addition to the University Archives and U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives. Acceptance of materials is subject to additional deliberation due to institutional resource constraints.
The same policies that guide the acceptance of analog records apply to Archives and Special Collections’ consideration of born-digital records. Digital records undergo an evaluation process similar to analog formats, which includes requesting provenance or descriptive information from donors. If content has been digitized by the donor, we prefer to acquire the items in their original analog format. Acceptance of digital records into the repository means that material will be preserved according to standards and best practices and may be made accessible online.
Materials and Subject Areas Not Collected
Archives and Special Collections aims to build a repository that supports the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s mission, vision, and values3 for Nebraska’s metropolitan university as well as the Library’s mission and strategic plan4 for diverse, equitable, and inclusive access to information. Archives and Special Collections’ practice is to build upon existing collecting strengths, as well as support new and related areas of growth. In order to do this, archivists must identify materials that strengthen our collecting goals and those that do not. The repository does not collect:
- Items or collections with permanent or indefinite restrictions
- Reproductions of materials held in other repositories
- Routine financial records (invoices, cancelled checks, etc.)
- Objects and artifacts (except for Secretary Hagel artifacts and selected UNO artifacts)
- Works of fine art
- Research notes, unless included as a sub-unit of a collection of related primary material
- Local, state, and federal government records
- Autographs (signatures with no historically significant information)
- Collections that are primarily in non-English languages and not related to our collecting scope and priorities OR unrelated to the Omaha area
- Duplicates of material already in Archives and Special Collections, unless the duplicate is in better condition than Archives and Special Collections’ copy
- Collections with unclear or contested provenance and origins
- Munitions, explosives, chemicals, liquids, foodstuffs (including dried or desiccated), pest or mold infestation, or other material that may knowingly or unknowingly present risks to health and safety.
The department makes no agreement that unsolicited material received from anonymous donors who do not provide contact information will be added to the collection.
All repositories have an obligation to preserve and make available for research and use the materials they have acquired. UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections takes this obligation seriously and will not indiscriminately acquire materials for which it does not have the resources to properly arrange, describe, provide access to, or preserve. The department will work with other repositories during donation negotiations as needed if concerns arise about resources or if the repository is not adequately able to reflect and serve the needs of the donating individual or community. The department may collaborate with community organizations, including community archives, on collections care, access, description, digitization, and hosting.
Archivists will take care to collect in a culturally sensitive manner and consult with stakeholders when appropriate. In working towards better practices of conscious editing5 and reparative archives6 the department will work with stakeholders to implement language setting, culturally appropriate terminology, and mediation of access to sensitive or sacred materials to those outside the relevant communities. The department is committed to increasing the representation of Black, Native and Indigenous, Latino and Hispanic, Asian American, LGBTQIA2S+, women, and the disabled as creators and voices in the collection.
Collection Development Responsibilities
Archives and Special Collections’ archivists have primary responsibility for building the collections. Archivists will evaluate material offered to the department to identify material for accessioning based on various facets of collecting value including administrative, historical, enduring, intrinsic or other value. Consultations with the library’s subject specialists, university faculty, or other subject experts will take place at the discretion of the archivist during the evaluation process. Ultimately, all acquisition decisions are made by archivists in Archives and Special Collections on a case-by-case basis considering technical needs (for digital records, media formats, etc.), required resources, and responsible collecting as described in this document.
Restrictions on Access
Archives and Special Collections recognizes the rights of private donors to impose reasonable restrictions on materials. Restrictions on access should be for a fixed term, determined at the time of donation, and included as part of the donation agreement. When necessary, Archives and Special Collections encourages minimal, temporary access restrictions such as 20 years or less. Longer access restrictions may be appropriate in extraordinary circumstances and will be granted at the discretion of archivists in Archives and Special Collections. Extraordinary circumstances may include university records covered by FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and any records with significant privacy concerns, including medical records. Differentiated access for Indigenous, Native, and other communities and peoples represented in collections may be applied when appropriate to their own sacred and cultural values and concerns. After consulting with archivists, donors may choose to temporarily restrict access to online digital collections.7
Materials that do not reflect Archives and Special Collections’ collecting scope, do not possess sufficient archival value, duplicate other material in the collection, or that pose a threat to other collections or staff may be deaccessioned subject to documented terms of the donation agreement, university regulations, and state and federal laws.
Deaccessioning does not apply to items removed or discarded in the course of regular archival evaluation and processing of collections by Archives and Special Collections personnel.
To propose the deaccessioning of archival material, archivists will bring written justification before the department for approval. The justification should include a brief description of material to be deaccessioned, reason(s) for deaccessioning, any relevant considerations related to the donor and deed of gift, and options for disposition (transfer, return to donor, sale, or destruction). Archivists will consult and, as applicable, follow the Society of American Archivists’ “Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning.” 8
Archives and Special Collections will retain a record of all justifications for deaccessioning, approved or not. When a justification is approved by the department, the director of Archives and Special Collections will communicate deaccessioning decisions to the dean.
Information on major changes to the collection is provided to subject specialists and the University Committee on Library and Learning Resources.
1 Memo, Chancellor Del Weber, December 12, 1994 in “Official Designation of University Archives,” University Archives File Cabinet Collection, UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.
2 “Manuscript collection,” Dictionary of Archives Terminology, Society of American Archivists. https://dictionary.archivists.org/entry/manuscript-collection.html (accessed March 4, 2021).
3 Mission, Vision, and Values, https://www.unomaha.edu/strategic-planning/plan/index.php (accessed March 17, 2021).
4 UNO Libraries’ Mission and Strategic Plan, https://www.unomaha.edu/criss-library/about-us/mission-strategic-plan.php (accessed March 17, 2021).
5 “Conscious Editing of Archival Description at UNC-Chapel Hill,” Jackie Dean, Journal of the Society of North Carolina Archivists, http://www.ncarchivists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/jsnca_vol16_dean.pdf.
6 “More Than Metadata: Reparative Work at the University of Virginia’s Special Collections,” Whitney Buccicone, Gayle Cooper, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Descriptive Notes, Summer 2020, https://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/descriptive-notes-summer-2020.pdf.
7 See the UNO Libraries’ Take Down Policy for matters of third-party rights of privacy, publicity, copyright or trademark, etc.
8Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning, Society of American Archivists (2017). https://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/GuidelinesForReappraisalDeaccessioning_2017.pdf
Approved by Archives and Special Collections April 5, 2021
Reviewed by Library Leadership May 2021