Collection Development Statement

I. Introduction

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of Northern Michigan University and also as an archival repository for historical materials documenting the history of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This includes the counties of Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, and Schoolcraft.

II. Core Mission

A. The core mission of the Archives is as follows:

1. To appraise, collect, organize, describe, make available, and preserve primary and secondary resource materials emphasizing the documentation of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Michigan University.

2. To provide adequate facilities for the retention and preservation of such records.

3. To serve as a resource and laboratory to stimulate and nourish creative teaching and learning through the use of primary research materials and provide instruction in the use of those materials.

4. To serve research and scholarship by making available and encouraging the use of its collections by members of the University and the public at large.

5. To disseminate research and information concerning the documentary heritage of the University and central U.P.

6. To implement records management by formulating policy and procedures that will ensure the collection and preservation of University archival materials.


A. A primary goal of the Archives is the continued collection and retention of historical evidence of Northern Michigan University as a provider of higher education since its founding.

B. A primary goal of the Archives is to acquire strong primary source collections that document regional life and development of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan and to sustain significant research projects based upon this documentation.

C. A secondary goal of the Archives is to collect supportive material to provide sources of information in the areas of Upper Peninsula and Michigan history; and higher education in Michigan as it relates to Northern Michigan University.


 A. A variety of materials are housed in the Archives. These materials are organized into several collections consisting of:

a. University Archives Collection

b. Upper Peninsula Manuscript Collection

c. Iconographic Collection

d. Film and Video Collection

e. Map Collection

f. Serial Collection

g. Oral History Collection

h. General Collection

B. Materials that relate to identified Archives subject scope and require more than ordinary security because of archival or historical value, which serve as preservation copies, or serve as basic locator or aid tools which provide access to or augment materials already in the Archives will become a part of the Archives collection.


A. The Archivist has the primary responsibility for Archives collection development.

B. The Archivist encourages involvement of NMU administration, Olson Library faculty and staff, History Department faculty, NMU community, regional community, and Archives patrons in collection development efforts.

C. Archives materials are normally acquired in the following manner:

1. Donation - Donation of materials is both an active process of soliciting for particular materials and a passive process of accepting materials which are brought into the Archives. The Archives both encourages donation of materials which are brought into the Archives and actively solicits for particular materials. It is Archives policy to encourage donation of materials which are in keeping with the subject scope of the Archives collection. Gifts of materials with mixed historical values may be accepted if the Archivist has the right to discard or otherwise remove unwanted items.

2. Donations which carry stringent donor restrictions may not be accepted. The Archivist will determine that the donor has, in fact, the right to make the donation, and that the donation is not encumbered by ethical and legal problems. All donations must be represented on a legal donor form which includes a description of the materials; name, address, and signature of donor; date of donation; description of any restrictions attached with the donation, and signature of Archives representative accepting the donation.

3. Transfer of Custody - Custodial transfer is the means by which most university records are acquired by the Archives. Custodial transfer applies only to public records in which legal custody has transferred from one office to another.

4. Deposit - Materials on deposit in the Archives must be covered in a contractual agreement between the University or Archives and the depositing agency. Collections may be deposited in the Archives if a contractual deposit agreement has been established and approved by the Archivist and Dean of Academic Information Services. Any such collections must be useful to the university and region within the Archives collection scope.

5. Purchase - Purchase of manuscript and archival materials is normally discouraged. If a significant collection becomes available only through purchase, such an acquisition must be considered on its own merits. It must be noted that purchase of such materials tends to discourage donations by other potential donors. If more than one institution is involved in bidding for materials, the needs of patrons may be subverted. For these reasons, purchase of materials is generally limited to commercially published materials only.


The Archives collects materials both in response to patron demonstrated need and the Archivist's determination of collection emphasis. There should be attention given to the needs of patrons as can be demonstrated in daily activities. In many cases, collection weaknesses may be addressed through donation and purchase. Trends in the university's curriculum influence the Archives less than other departments, but the Archives collection can be useful to many academic areas within the University.

In regional documentation, the Archives seeks to acquire and preserve suitable materials that support scholarship and the curriculum at Northern Michigan University. The Archives consistently seeks to acquire current records so that future research may be served. The contemporary scene becomes historical. Research, donation, and goodwill are all served by a facility that encourages and appreciates its patrons. A community that comes to the Archives for assistance will also know where to deposit its suitable records.


Historic appraisal is the basis for selecting records and papers which are to be retained in the Archives. F. Gerald Ham's definition of appraisal in Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1993) is, "The process of evaluating actual or potential acquisitions to determine if they have sufficient long-term research value to warrant the expense of preservation by an archival repository."


The Archives exists to collect, preserve, organize, and encourage use of historical materials as outlined in this document. Due to the priority given to collection and preservation of historical materials, most action regarding limiting collection growth occurs with determination of collection emphases and at the time material is offered and/or acquired by the Archives.

Careful historic appraisal of materials is of primary importance in eliminating unwanted materials and unnecessary growth. Before materials are accepted into the Archives, the Archivist will conduct careful historic appraisal of the materials as a group.

Preliminary and subsequent weeding of a record or manuscript group occurs as the materials are being processed. Processing involves arrangement, weeding, foldering, labeling, boxing, cursory and in-depth finding aids development, and descriptive record development. Record or manuscript groups which are being processed will undergo careful historic appraisal on a folder-by-folder or item-by-item basis.

If historic appraisal has been carefully undertaken initially, the occurrence of fully processed materials being permanently removed or weeded from the Archives collection should be rare. However, reappraisal is occasionally necessary as the factors which make up a historic appraisal decision are not fixed in time and circumstance.

Limits to growth of fully processed materials may also be accomplished through other means including compact or remote storage and/or miniaturization.


A. University Archives Collection

1. Scope

In accordance with the Board of Control, the "Archives serves as a repository to ensure the preservation of the accumulated inactive and/or non-current records of the University and papers of its faculty, staff, students, alumni and others which have continuing value. Thus, Archives becomes the corporate memory of the University, preserving for the future the contributions of many individuals to its growth." (Board of Control. Northern Michigan University Statement on Records Management, August 8, 1991)

2. Official Records, Papers, and Publications of Northern Michigan University

a. Minutes, memoranda, correspondence, and reports of the Board of Control.

b. Records of the President's Office, including correspondence, administrative subject files, and reports.

c. Correspondence, subject files, and reports of chief academic affairs officer.

d. Correspondence, subject files, and reports of the chief administrative officer.

e. Correspondence, subject files, and reports of the chief student services officer.

f. Correspondence, subject files, and reports of chief officers of university units operating with a high degree of independence such as deans, directors, and administrators of colleges, divisions, programs, and institutes of the University.

g. Minutes, memoranda, and reports of all major academic and administrative commissions, councils, and committees including Academic Senate and its committees.

h. Academic departmental records including minutes, reports, correspondence, and syllabi.

i. Accreditation reports and supporting documentation.

j. Annual budget and audit reports.

k. Records of the Registrar, including timetables and class schedules, enrollment reports, graduation rosters, and other reports issued on a regular basis.

l. Alumni records, including minutes, correspondence, and reports of the alumni associations.

m. Reports of the Admissions Office and the Office of Planning and Analytical Studies.

n. Records of student organizations.

o. All publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed in the name of Northern Michigan University; including catalogs, special bulletins, yearbooks, student newspapers, university directories and faculty/staff rosters, faculty and university newsletters, unit and departmental newsletters, alumni publications, and ephemeral materials.

p. Photoprints; negatives; slides; audio and video film, tapes, and reels; oral history interviews; optical and compact discs; and electronic records documenting development of the university.

q. Maps, prints, and architectural drawings documenting physical changes and university development.

r. Reports of research projects, including grant records.

s. Security copies of microfilm reels containing vital records.

3. Personal and Professional Papers of Northern Michigan University Faculty

A. The Archives seeks to acquire, organize, and encourage use of the personal and professional papers of Northern Michigan University faculty as a means of documenting the internal life and culture of the University community. In appraising and soliciting faculty papers, the following criteria are suggested:

1. National reputation in an academic field.

2. Record of service to the University and contribution to its growth and development.

3. Service and contribution in community, state, and national affairs.

B. Northern Michigan University seeks documentation of the careers of its faculty in the following formats:

1. Correspondence: official, professional, and personal.

2. Records relating to service outside the university including community, state, and national service.

3. Biographical material: resumes, bibliographies, biographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, and personal memoirs.

4. Photographs and graphic materials.

5. Audio or video tape recordings of lectures, speeches, and discussions.

6. Lecture notes and syllabi; and copies of speeches and/or addresses.

7. Research files.

8. Departmental or committee minutes and records.

9. Drafts and manuscripts of articles and books.

10. Diaries, notebooks, and memorabilia.

11. Published monographs, articles, and reprints written by the faculty member.

4. Other Materials

A. The Archives will solicit and collect records and papers which are neither official university records nor faculty papers, but which relate to the history of Northern Michigan University. Examples include:

1. Papers, records, and published items on Northern Michigan University and its role in the history of higher education in Michigan.

2. Professional and personal papers of eminent alumni relating to their Northern Michigan University experiences.

3. Papers or records dealing with the history of Marquette and the Upper Peninsula as they relate to the growth and development of the University.

5. Ownership

Northern Michigan University shall hold title to its non-current records of historical value. These records will be acquired through custodial transfer from various offices either by way of approved records retention schedules or ad hoc transfer of records to the Archives. Papers of individual faculty and alumni will be acquired through legal donation.

B. Upper Peninsula Manuscript Collection

1. Scope

The Archives will collect manuscript materials relating to the central Upper Peninsula. Collection emphases are identified in the Collection Development Strategy Statement (to be developed). Manuscript material may be defined as recorded information which has been created in the day-to-day activities of individuals, businesses, organizations, and groups.

2. Types of Manuscripts (list serves as an example of possible items)

a. Business Records

b. Reminiscences

c. Speeches

d. Scrapbooks

e. Correspondence

f. Financial Records

g. Research and Development Records

h. Diaries

i. Minutes of Meetings

j. Histories and Papers

k. Records of Organizations

l. Family Records and Papers

m. Memoirs

n. Literary Manuscripts

3. Ownership

Northern Michigan University will hold title to these manuscript collections which will typically be received through donation, although acquisition through purchase exists as an rarely used possibility. Manuscripts may also be acquired through depository agreement in which case the University will not hold title to the materials.

C. Iconographic Collection

1. Scope

Still photographs, negatives, and prints relating to Northern Michigan University, central Upper Peninsula, and of a general subject nature comprise the Iconographic Collection.

2. Ownership

Materials in the Iconographic Collection may be acquired through custodial transfer, deposit, purchase, or donation. In general, Northern Michigan University will hold title to the material, but this varies with the legal agreement and whether the donor actually had title to the material.

D. Film and Video Collection

1. Scope

Moving images either in film or video format relating to Northern Michigan University and the central Upper Peninsula comprise the Film and Video Collection.

2. Ownership

Materials in the film and video collection may be acquired through custodial transfer, deposit, purchase, or donation. Northern Michigan University may hold title to the material, but this may vary with the legal agreement and whether the donor actually had title to the material.

E. Map Collection

1. Scope

Maps relating to Northern Michigan University; maps and plat books relating to the central Upper Peninsula, selected maps and atlases relating to Michigan, the U.S., and countries from which U.P. ethnic groups originated from comprise the Map Collection. Both current and non-current materials will be acquired for this collection since current materials quickly become historical. Therefore, collection and acquisition are easier when materials are readily available.

2. Ownership

Materials in the Map Collection are the property of Northern Michigan University.

F. Serial Collection

1. Scope

The periodical and newspaper collection will be limited to subject areas involving Northern Michigan University, the central Upper Peninsula, Michigan history and archival endeavors, and archives in general.

2. Ownership

Materials in the Serial Collection are the property of Northern Michigan University.

G. Oral History Collection

1. Scope

Oral history interviews collected under the auspices of Northern Michigan University, interviews relating to Northern Michigan University, the central Upper Peninsula, and taped recordings of speakers or events occurring at NMU or in the central U.P. comprise the Oral History Collection.

2. Ownership

Materials in the Oral History Collection may be acquired through custodial transfer, deposit, or donation. In general, Northern Michigan University will hold title to the materials, but this varies with the legal agreement and whether the donor actually had title to the material.

H. General Collection

1. Scope

This collection consists of books, pamphlets, vertical file materials, and microforms which require more than ordinary security because of their historical value, which serve as preservation copies, or as basic locator or aid tools which provide access to or augment materials already in the Archives collection. Both current and retrospective materials will be acquired for this collection.

The collection includes the following subject areas:

a. Northern Michigan University

b. Central Upper Peninsula

c. Michigan

d. History and Historical Methods

e. Historic Sites and Museums

f. Archival and Manuscript Repositories and Practices

2. Ownership

These materials are the property of Northern Michigan University.


Under extenuating circumstances, materials may be housed in both the Olson Library collection and the Archives collection. Such duplication generally will occur only under the following circumstances:

1. The item serves as a preservation copy due to its scarcity and/or physical condition.

2. The item is part of a limited number of resources serving a "ready reference" function in the Archives.