Archives and Special Collections

Donations and transfers

What we collect

Our aim is to support learning, teaching and research at the University, and we are always pleased to hear from anyone with items or collections that they would like to offer us. A member of our team will be able to discuss your collection with you, and will assess whether it fits our collecting policy. In some cases, we may recommend that you contact another institution where your material may be more likely to reach an audience of researchers.

University staff and departments should consult the University Records Retention Schedules and Archives Selection Policy to identify which records should be transferred to the University Archives for permanent preservation. A member of our team will be happy to visit your department to make an assessment of any physical or digital records and advise you.

Transferring records

Once your records are ready to be transferred to the archives, members of the University can arrange for the Portering team to deliver paper files to the Kirby & West Special Collections Suite in the Basement of the David Wilson Library. For external donors, we can advise on the best method of ensuring that items are delivered safely and securely. We can also provide advice on how best to transfer digital records to us.

Signing an agreement

For internal transfers, this usually isn't necessary. For collections that are not already the property of the University, we will ask you to sign our standard deposit agreement form. This allows you to decide whether you would like to donate or loan material to the University, whether you would like any unwanted material returned to you, and how we will handle insurance and copyright issues. We will send you a copy of our Terms and Conditions before entering into an agreement, and welcome queries you may have about these.

Your rights

Material created by University of Leicester staff in the course of their employment is usually copyright of the University of Leicester. Ownership of the physical material in a collection is entirely separate from any Intellectual Property Rights, which are likely to be held by the original creators of the material. Archive collections often have multiple rights holders. For material to which you own the copyright, you will have the option of retaining this or transferring it to the University of Leicester.

Data protection

Archiving in the public interest is permitted under the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations. All of our archive collections are managed in accordance with Data Protection and other information legislation (including Freedom of Information). This may mean that not all material in an archive collection will be made publicly available while the people referred to are still alive.

Further information can be found in our privacy notice for archives and our data protection guidance for users.

Preparing to transfer archive material

You can help us to understand and identify material you transfer to the archives, by considering the following when preparing to transfer files to us:

  • For digital files, use clear file naming conventions, so that it is possible to tell what the file is about without opening it. For example, “HealthAndSafetyCommitteeMinutes20180905” is much clearer than “MinsSept”.
  • If you use an abbreviations (e.g. “H&S”) please provide us with details of these.
  • Consistency in naming of electronic files is important, so that it is easy to tell which files belong together. For example, if you write the whole date out then always do that, if you begin with the title then always do that. This means if any processes are automated, that it is easier to ensure the same process is applied to each file.
  • For both digital and paper files, if you have multiple drafts of the same document it is rarely necessary to keep them all. In some cases it is important to see how a document has evolved (for example literary works), but for corporate documents only the final version needs to be retained.
  • For photographs (digital and hard copy), a selection rather than all of the photographs taken will usually suffice. Please provide a key of who appears in the images and general information about what the photos show (event, date, location, name of the photographer, names of those photographed, and any other context that is useful). If you are transferring a large quantity of photographs, we may ask you to complete a spreadsheet containing this information.
  • Date format: is helpful to date files and folders (again this can help with identification and working out which are older versions).
  • For more information about transferring digital files to us, see Digital records.

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