Archives Home > Policies & Procedures: Access Policy
The Archives Department has the two-fold mission of documenting the history of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and providing access to primary sources, largely from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, that have long-term research and instructional value for UWM academic programs. The department provides open and equitable access to its services and the records in its care without discrimination or preferential treatment, and in accordance with legal requirements, institutional policies, and donor agreements.
This policy supplements information found in the UWM Libraries' User Rights and Responsibilities policy statement.
I. User Communities
- The Archives Department makes its resources and services available to UWM students, faculty, and staff, as well as the general public. No special permission or letters of introduction are required. Researchers using archives or manuscript collections must register with the Archives on an annual basis. They must present valid photo identification and sign the logbook on a daily basis [Wisconsin Statute 19.35 (1) (i)].
II. Limitations on Access
- The Archives Department is committed to preserving university records and manuscript collections and making them available for research as soon as possible after receipt. At the same time, the department may have a legal, institutional, or other obligation to restrict access to some collections or parts of collections. The Archives will inform researchers of the conditions governing access to its collections.
- University offices may specify whether records transferred to the Archives may be freely used by other persons or restricted in their use. The Archives will refer requests to access restricted university records to the relevant university office. When a request is not approved, the formal denial of access must be reviewed and either confirmed or overruled by the university's legal custodian of records in writing. [UWM Administrative Policy S-6]
- Private donors may impose reasonable restrictions with specific time limitations on collections donated to the UWM Libraries. Such restrictions must be documented in statements of gift. Donors are allowed to access collections that they have donated and restricted. However, they may not grant access to others, as such permission would legitimize unequal access to the Archives Department's collections.
- Restricted records are closed for research purposes. The Archives will not redact restricted records unless it is expressly permitted to do so under terms specified in transmittal documents (in the case of university records) or statements of gift (manuscript collections).
- Unprocessed archival and manuscript collections are generally considered open for research, provided they are not restricted. However, the Archives may need to delay access for a reasonable period of time to inventory the records or stabilize fragile materials.
III. Intellectual Access
- The Archives facilitates the accessibility of its collections by informing researchers about their existence. This is accomplished through online catalogs, inventories and other finding aids, Web sites, and the assistance of staff members.
IV. Physical Access
- The Archives’ reading room is reserved for individuals using our collections. Individuals seeking a quiet place to study should use areas in the building designated for that purpose.
- To protect and ensure the continued accessibility of its collections, all materials must be used in accordance with the regulations of the Archives.
- The Archives may limit the access of an individual who has demonstrated such carelessness or deliberate destructiveness as to endanger the safety of its collections, or violated its policies and regulations.
- The Archives may require researchers to use access copies of records in place of originals whose physical condition or format makes them unusable.
V. Reference Services
- Copying Services and Fees. The Archives facilitates access to its collections and the information they contain by providing copying services. All inquiries concerning reproductions must be referred to the staff. A photocopier is available in the reading room for self-service copying. Use of personal copying equipment is generally permitted, providing such use is discussed in advance with the staff, does not endanger the records being copied, and does not disrupt other researchers’ quiet study. Resources permitting, the Archives will conduct a limited amount of copying on behalf of researchers, and reasonable fees will be charged for this service. All copies—whether made by department staff or researchers—must be made in accordance with copyright law, departmental procedures, and concern for the physical preservation of the records.
- Research Services and Fees. Resources permitting, the Archives will conduct a limited amount of research on behalf of researchers, and reasonable fees will be charged for this service. Charges apply whether or not an actual record is found.
- Permissions for Public Use and Fees. The Archives does not charge individuals for their personal use of copies from our collections (e.g., a photographic print acquired for home decoration). However, the department requires written permission for any public use of our holdings or copies of our holdings.
In some cases, the Archives may assess a fee based on its ownership of the physical materials in its collections. This fee represents no claim to copyright to any of the materials in question, although in some cases the Archives may hold copyright to those materials. Payment of the use fee does not constitute, and should not be viewed as, permission by a copyright holder to reproduce works that are copyrighted. Users must determine on their own if the use they intend to make of images invades copyright, rights to privacy, or other rights.
- Citation Format. The Archives will provide to researchers a suggested form of citation crediting the repository and identifying items within its holdings.
VI. Loan of Materials
- University records transferred to the Archives may be temporarily or indefinitely returned to the office of origin for administrative or legal use following established guidelines. Nevertheless, the Archives strongly encourages offices to use records in the Archives' reading room instead of having them returned, or to create reference copies when the information is required for an extended period of time.
- Collections may be temporarily transferred from the Archives Department for research under the terms specified in the Area Research Center Agreement (rev. 1997) or the Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Inter-Institutional Archives Loan Agreement.
- In some circumstances, the Archives Department may temporarily loan original materials for exhibition following institutional procedures. The final decision to loan original materials is made by the Director of Libraries in consultation with the head of the Archives.
Approved by the UWM Libraries Executive Cabinet, February 2009; rev. July 2010
Comments or questions for the Archives? Send them to Ask an Archivist or call (414) 229-5402.