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Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries

Special Collections
and University Archives

Collecting Areas

Vanderbilt University Archives

Phone: (615) 322-2807
Mailing Address:
Vanderbilt University Archives
Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-2427

About Us
Collecting Areas
Transfer Material
Finding Aids and Holdings
Record Group Listing
Library History

The Vanderbilt University Archives adheres to Society of American Archivists (SAA) guidelines and standards in collecting and maintaining  university records and archives.  For more information, please see SAA's page on Core Values and Code of Ethics for archivists.

Faculty Papers Policy

Vanderbilt University Archives collects the personal papers of eminent Vanderbilt faculty on a case by case basis. Due to space and limited resources, however, we cannot collect the personal papers of every Vanderbilt faculty member. A faculty member may be asked to organize, deduplicate, or otherwise prepare papers for receipt by the archives. We use the following criteria to determine if particular faculty papers warrant acquisition and preservation by University Archives:
    • research value of the papers;
    • faculty member’s record of service to Vanderbilt and contribution to its growth and development;
    • faculty member’s record of service and contribution to community, state, and/or national affairs;
    • faculty member’s national or international reputation in an academic field.
    • Please note: we do not retain every document; weeding and deduplication may be part of normal processing.

Below is a list of the types of documents we collect and a list of those we cannot accept.

Types of materials we collect:

    • annotated scores
    • correspondence (including email)
    • diaries and journals
    • biographical material (resumes, curriculum vitae, bibliographies, biographical sketches, personal memoirs, etc.)
    • grant proposals and reports
    • records of committees that the faculty member chaired
    • literary manuscripts
    • speeches and lectures
    • lecture notes
    • photographs
    • audio-visual materials (unique, non-commercial recordings and raw tape/files)
    • observational research data (data that are time bound and difficult to recover, repeat, or reconstruct)

Types of material we do not collect:

    • drafts of publications, although we may evaluate these on a case-by-case basis
    • student records such as papers, assignments, and grades (these are confidential under the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA)
    • photocopies of material found in books or articles
    • papers or items with obvious mold growth
    • personal financial or health information
    • issues of journals and magazines, including reprints, off-prints, and preprints
    • university publications such as issues of the The Hustler or Alumni magazines, as well as department newsletters.
    • artifacts, organic material, award plaques, flammable material, food, drink, oil, or any items that may off-gas or contaminate the collections

University Records Policy

The following types of records are maintained in the University Archives:

    • Legal documents (e.g., charters, constitutions, by-laws), policy statements, and reports (along with their supporting documents), minutes, substantive memoranda, correspondence, and subject files for Vanderbilt University's:
      • Board of Trust;
      • Chancellor, academic, legal, financial, student affairs, and administrative officers;
      • Deans of schools;
      • major academic and administrative committees, including Faculty Senate.
    • Reports of:
      • self-studies and accreditation visits;
      • annual budgets and audits;
      • offices of admission, institutional research, university relations-public relations and development (fundraising);
      • research projects, including grant records.
    • Records of:
      • departments, e.g., minutes, reports, syllabi, faculty vitae, and sample test questions;
      • retired, resigned, terminated, or deceased personnel the school employed;
      • the registrar, e.g., calendars and class schedules, non-current student transcripts, enrollment records, graduation rosters, and other reports issued on a regular basis;
      • academic, honorary, service, and social organizations of students, faculty, administrators, and staff on campus.
    • All publications, newsletters, posters, or booklets about or distributed in the name of the institution or one of its sub-units, e.g., books, posters, magazines, catalogs, special bulletins, yearbooks, student newspapers, university directories and faculty/staff rosters, alumni magazines, lecture series, and ephemeral materials.
    • Special format materials documenting the operation and development of the institution, such as:
      • audio, audiovisual and multimedia productions - still photographs, slides, negatives, motion picture films, audio and audiovisual cassettes;
      • oral history interviews with their transcriptions;
      • maps, blueprints, and plot plans of the campus and its buildings.
    • Ph.D. and M.A. theses and dissertations.
    • Electronic records and descriptive aids for maintaining access to the records.
    • Artifacts relating to the institution.
    • Records and papers produced by school-related organizations, groups, and individuals while actively connected with the school, such as private papers of faculty members produced while working with or for the school; as well as manuscript collections related to the school.

University Archives and Medical Center Archives

A distinction should be made between the University Archives and the Medical Center Archives. The Medical Center Archives are housed in and maintained by the Eskind Biomedical Library. We primarily serve the university community, while the Medical Center Archives primarily serves the hospital and medical school.