Access to Unprocessed Collections Policy and Procedures

The University of Arkansas Special Collections strives to make all research materials available for research as quickly as possible, subject to university policies and guidelines detailed below. Special Collections welcomes any researcher requests to use unprocessed collections for research purposes and asks that such requests be directed to Research Services. Research Services will work with researchers and the Collections Management team to facilitate access to the unprocessed collections. While we endeavor to grant access to all requests, Special Collections must weigh access against the preservation, privacy, and administrative issues permitting access may present.

When a researcher requests to view an unprocessed collection, a Research Services staff member will review the request to determine if the collection can be made available for research purposes. Research Services may restrict access to portions of an unprocessed collection or all of the collection due to legal, institutional, or preservation concerns.

Criteria for Making Unprocessed Collections Accessible

Personally-Identifying Information (PII) and other types of protected information: The unprocessed collection does not contain any PII, student records, medical records, or employee/personnel, or the materials containing confidential information can be safely removed from the collection before making it available to a researcher by Research Services staff.

Research Services staff will attempt to remove any materials containing confidential information from the unprocessed collection before making it accessible for research; however, researchers should note that this may not always be possible.

Preservation: Many unprocessed collections present preservation concerns, some of which can be hazardous to human health, the facilities, and other research materials in Special Collections. Therefore, all materials must undergo a preservation review before making them accessible to researchers. If it's possible to separate materials that require preservation treatment from the rest of the collection, Special Collections staff will make every effort to do so to allow access to the collection. In some cases, Research Services may create access copies of the original to increase the accessibility of a collection.

Administrative: If an unprocessed collection is scheduled to be processed within one month of the request, Special Collections will ask the researcher to wait until after the collection has been processed to conduct their research.

Donor-Imposed Access Restrictions: Some donors may impose access restrictions to some or all of a donated collection during the donation process. In that case, Special Collections will not be able to grant access to restricted materials.

Policy Concerning Personally Identifiable Information

Some collections may include sensitive or confidential information protected under federal and/or state privacy laws and regulations or under donor terms of gift, including but not limited to medical, educational, or employment records; social security numbers; bank account numbers; or credit card numbers. Researchers who find sensitive information should notify a staff member and agree not to copy or disclose this information. The researcher assumes all responsibility for infringement of right to privacy in his/her use of the materials, and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Arkansas, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses arising out of use of archival collections held by the University of Arkansas Libraries.