Help us preserve campus history for future generations! The Archives actively collects materials that document all aspects of campus history from UW-Madison colleges, departments, faculty, research groups, student and staff organizations, alumni and other entities with a relationship to our campus.
We collect analog and born digital formats including photographs, audio and film/video formats, oral histories, maps, illustrations and art, and artifacts and ephemeral materials. Specifically, we are interested in collecting materials that document special events or campus traditions; student life and experiences on campus; faculty, administration and staff experiences and campus involvement. Items added to the Archives collections will be rehoused in the Archives and made available to the public for research.
Once collections are part of University Archives they become In Library Use Only. On occasion we will loan materials out temporarily and these requests are handled on a case by case basis, so please contact Archives staff. Anyone is able to request, access, and use our collections in our reading room which is located on the 4th floor of Steenbock Library.
Our mission is to preserve University records and information of permanent legal, fiscal and/or historical value; provide records management services; and serve as an educational resource encouraging administrative and scholarly research in its collections. The University Archives is committed to preserving the work of individuals, departments, organizations and other entities associated with the UW-Madison, UW-System, UW Colleges, and UW-Extension in their original formats, whether that be analog or digital.
We acknowledge due to past collecting practices and attitudes that our current holdings are not complete and are lacking representation and information related to underrepresented and marginalized communities. Moving forward, we are taking necessary steps and building essential relationships across campus to ensure that voices and stories from marginalized communities are part of the UW-Madison’s historical record. For more detailed information about what we do and don’t collect, please see our Collection Development Policy.
The Archives collects materials from faculty, staff, and alumni who made major contributions to their discipline and/or to the university. These collections often contain personal and professional correspondence, diaries, journals, biographical material, records of committees, literary manuscripts, speeches, lecture notes, syllabi, photographs, audio-visual materials, electronic and born digital records, among other items. See our faculty papers collecting guidelines for more information.
In addition to collecting paper records, the University Archives also collects, preserves, and makes available electronic records and born digital materials. Efforts to capture these evolving types of records is ongoing and we continue to explore best practices so we can successfully capture records that are created and maintained by UW-Madison departments, programs, organizations, and much more. For additional information, consult our Web and Born Digital Collections Policy and Procedures.
There are a number of options to transfer materials to the Archives and all donors are strongly encouraged to complete a transfer form survey and create an inventory. Prior to sending materials to Archives, you will need to work directly with Archives staff to request and complete an inventory spreadsheet. For additional information, please consult our Transfer Guidelines.
All University Records that have met the official retention schedule (RDA) and are scheduled for permanent preservation may be sent to the Archives. The disposition of a records series is noted on the Records Retention/Disposition Authorization (RDA). See the Records Schedules page for information on preparing an RDA. For additional information, please consult our Transfer Guidelines.
University Archives subscribes to a web archiving service called Archive-It to capture, preserve, and make available university-related websites and webpages. Web archiving efforts began in 2007 and we continue to identify websites to capture and also seek suggestions from the UW-Madison community. For additional information, consult our guidelines.
While it acts as the liaison between campus departments and the State Records Center, the Archives does not itself accept inactive records for short-term storage. Many campus offices make the mistake of thinking that the Records Center and the University Archives are one and the same. In fact, the Records Center is a separate, off-campus, state facility that offers inactive records storage not only to the University of Wisconsin but to many other state agencies. For information please consult How do I use the State Records Center?