Personal Papers of Individual Faculty Members FAQs

What material is considered to be “personal papers”?

  • Personal papers are considered to be papers in the possession of and being maintained by individual faculty members and do not include material and documents from research groups

Examples of personal papers are listed below:

  • teaching materials including lecture notes, course syllabi, assignments, lab manuals for courses etc.
  • research materials including notes etc.
  • photographs of the faculty member, research colleagues/staff, laboratories and equipment
  • final drafts of unpublished articles and reports
  • oral history interviews
  • biographical information including curriculum vitae
  • diaries/journals
  • correspondence with colleagues and students
  • correspondence and other documents relating to professional or research organizations with which a professor has been involved

Can I store my papers in the Archives and Research Collections Centre (ARCC) without formally donating them?

Faculty papers are considered to be personal papers belonging to the faculty member and are not Western records -- see Section 5.00 of the Western University Archives & Records Policy #1.30.

5.00 Notwithstanding section 4.00, the provisions of this policy do not apply to the records that are created or acquired by faculty members or other officers or employees pursuant to their individual responsibilities for teaching or research, unless the records are donated to the University Archives.

They cannot be stored in the ARCC without formally donating them.

If I choose to donate my papers can I limit access to them?

Every private donor has the right to impose reasonable restrictions on his/her papers to protect confidentiality as determined through mutual agreement between the University and the donor. The specific restrictions are determined at the time of donation, are for a fixed term and are specified in a formal donation agreement.

Can I weed the papers after I have donated them to Western Archives (eg. after I have signed the donation agreement?)

Once the donation agreement is signed the material becomes the property of Western Archives and therefore no weeding can be done by the faculty member.

Can I add to the papers after I have donated them to the Archives and I have signed the donation agreement?

Yes. Additional material can be added but it will be treated as a separate donation.

Can I receive a tax receipt for my donation?

Yes. The value of the donation must exceed $250.00 in order for a receipt to be issued.

Do I have to pay for the appraisal?

You are responsible for paying the cost of the appraisal. However once per year (usually in the fall) Western Archives retains the services of an appraiser to do an annual review. If you are willing to wait to use the services of that appraiser your material can be appraised during this larger annual review at no charge to you.

Will material that is weeded by Western Archives’ staff be returned to me?

The fate of weeded material is specified in the donation agreement. It can be returned to you or it can be destroyed.

If my papers are being donated should I “reorganize” them ahead of time?

No, reorganizing your papers is not necessary. Indeed it is preferable that they be left as they are so that their context of creation and use is clear.

What criteria are used to determine what will be accepted as a donation?

The following general criteria are to be used to determine if a faculty member's papers will be accepted into the Archives, although each donation is considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • faculty member's academic reputation and output as a scholar
  • faculty member's involvement in departmental and/or university affairs
  • extent to which the faculty member's papers enhance the documentation of university history by complementing existing holdings or filling gaps
  • faculty member's involvement in organizations and institutions related to his/her academic discipline

I am going on sabbatical for a year -- can I store the materials from my office in the ARCC?

No. The ARCC is not a storage facility that can be used for short-term storage of personal material. All material in the ARCC must either be university department records that are transferred through the record centre process or formally donated through the archival process. External companies will provide storage services at a reasonable cost. Contact Western Archives (x81111 or for a list of vendors.

Will the ARCC accept personal papers for shredding?

The ARCC cannot coordinate the destruction of faculty members’ papers.