ARLIS/NA Archives: Guidelines & Procedures

By Maryly Snow, Fall 1995, revised by Nedda Ahmed, Winter 2005, revised by Rebecca Price, April 2009. 

The ARLIS/NA Archives are housed in the University Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. The University Archives at UIUC has a particular interest in archives of professional societies and collects selectively in that area. They hold collections such as the Archives of the American Library Association and the Advertising Council. 

Until the winter of 2009, ARLIS/NA Archives were housed at the University of Syracuse, along with such society archives as those of the Industrial Designers Society of America, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the Society of Christian Ethics, and numerous adult and continuing education societies. ARLIS/NA and Syracuse found each other through Antje Lemke, professor emeritus from Syracuse and friend of the former head of Special Collections, Amy Doherty. Antje was the recipient in 1987 of the ARLIS/NA Distinguished Service Award and an ARLIS/NA honorary life member. Syracuse University was no longer able to process our archives, maintain sufficient control, or provide sufficient access to our archives. We elected to relocate the archives to the UIUC Archives. 

The following main record groups of ARLIS/NA papers have been established. The finding aid is online.

  • Official Records
  • Office Files (including President, Vice President, Executive Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Chapters)
  • Historical Files (including Sections, Divisions and Round Tables, Committees, and Conferences)
  • Publications
  • Audio-Visual Materials
  • Personal Papers; and
  • External Relationships

The archival materials kept at UIUC shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following materials:

  • Photocopies of historical incorporation and organizational papers;
  • Constitution and by-laws - present and superseded texts - with dates;
  • Verbatim minutes of ARLIS/NA Meetings;
  • Officer, Executive Committee, Standing Committee, and Ad Hoc Committee reports;
  • President's correspondence and documents;
  • Executive Committee agendas, and edited and approved minutes;
  • Financial records - budgets, treasurer's reports, investment records, audits, tax exemptions;
  • Histories of Committees, commissions, and affiliates;
  • Special committees - all external correspondence, and weeded internal papers;
  • Procedural handbooks/manuals - with dates of emendations;
  • ARLIS/NA Annual and special Meeting programs, reports, financial statements, and workshop reports;
  • Scholarship, grant, or award recipients lists;
  • Publications: 1 copy of ARLIS/NA printed minutes, histories, directories, pamphlets, and other ARLIS/NA publications, as well as publications of related organizations;
  • Agreements, contracts, documents of commitment or intent with all persons, organizations, corporations external to ARLIS/NA;
  • Press releases;
  • Forms, sample questionnaires and survey results or summaries;
  • Audio-visuals: photographs, motion pictures, video and sound recordings; and Ephemeral materials: e.g., coffee mugs, T-shirts, key-rings, etc. on a selective basis.

 

What to send to the archives?

The executive director's and headquarters files and the presidents' files are to be complete. That is, copies are kept of everything that fits within the general weeding guidelines established by UIUC, including copies of items received from other people and groups. 

All other files are to include only items generated by that individual or group, or original incoming material. On a practical level, groups or individuals other than the executive director and president would keep for the archives only material that they themselves wrote, or items that were sent to them as the primary recipient. They would not keep copies of reports or correspondence generated by other individuals or groups unless they had received the original or the only copy sent to ARLIS/NA. 

The net effect of this arrangement is that there should be in the archives three copies of most major documents and reports (in the executive director's files, in the president's files, and in the generating individual or group's files), and one or two copies of other items (one copy if they were sent to or received from an outside agency or individual and two copies if they were sent to or received from another ARLIS/NA entity). 

Conference archives are dealt with separately in the Conference Planning Manual, but, briefly, conference co-chairs and committee members should include with their final reports any documents (such as forms, form letters, contracts) that could have permanent value to future conference planners. The original copy of the conference final report is deposited in the society archives. Correspondence that sheds light on the intellectual development of the program may also be retained for the archives. Routine, repetitive correspondence and other papers dealing with such matters as tours, transportation, exhibits, social events, and registration, should be offered to the following year's conference planners and then discarded. 

Chapters may collect materials that are of local interest but do not concern the actual workings of the chapters. Some examples might include catalogs or announcements from local galleries and museums, or information on local artists. When a chapter no longer wants to keep such materials they may make arrangements with a local institution to take over the collection. Copies of any documents relating to these arrangements should be sent to the ARLIS/NA executive director. If the chapter does not make local arrangements for housing of the collection, the current officers should consult with the ARLIS/NA executive director as to the proper disposition of the collection.

When to send to the archives?

Generally, any time, keeping in mind that ARLIS/NA presidents serve a three-year term on the executive board, and their papers are processed for the archives on a three-year cycle. When past presidents leave office they turn over the papers from their three-year term to the archives. 

ARLIS/NA headquarters will keep only the past three years worth of the executive director's papers, and then every three years thereafter will send the first three years worth to UIUC. At any given time, therefore, headquarters might have between three and six years worth of papers on hand. Other individuals and groups may decide for themselves how many years of past papers they want to keep and pass on to their successors. These will be sent directly to the archives. According to a survey done in the mid-1980s, most officers and groups felt that one to two years of back papers were all they needed. It is probably advisable, when convenient, to consult with your successor before making this decision. It is the responsibility of the outgoing officer, however, to weed and then list and send to the archives any papers not wanted by the incoming officer.

How to send materials to the archives?

According to standard archival practice, all papers should be kept and deposited with the archives in their original order, which is generally by subject and then chronological. The UIUC archives staff will be responsible for transferring materials to archival storage containers and relabeling them. 

Materials for archival deposit should be shipped to:
William J. Maher, University Archivist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Room 19 Gregory
1408 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801
T (217) 333-0798
F (217) 333-2868 

Tracking your shipment of archival materials is recommended. A separate cover letter indicating the general contents of the shipment and the date shipped should be sent to William Maher with a copy to ARLIS/NA headquarters and the ARLIS/NA secretary. Any questions regarding depositing or retrieving materials from the ARLIS/NA Archives should be directed to the ARLIS/NA President