The following issues should be taken into consideration when you are deciding to donate your personal papers or your association's papers to an archival repository.
Facilities and Staff:
- Ask for a tour of the facilities to make sure that the repository has proper space and shelving and that the storage space is climate-controlled to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels.
- Ask the staff to show you the methods they employ to preserve and provide access to their existing collections.
- Ask for an organizational chart to see if the repository is properly staffed.
- Ask to meet with the person to whom the head of the repository reports; make sure the institution supports the archival repository.
- Go to their web site to see what information is available to the public.
- Most archival repositories will ask that you dontate the collection to the institution (usually through the foundation). This allows the repository to take needed measures to properly care for the collection and provide access to researchers.
- Most donation agreements will require that you sign over property rights and any existing copyrights.
- Most donation agreements will allow you to add stipulations to the agreement (e.g., copyright restrictions or access to the collection.)
Relationship Between Donor and Repository:
- You should feel comfortable that the repository and its staff will remain in contact with you as needed.
- You should be able to have access to your collection at any time the repository is open.
- You may be asked to provide financial assistance, especially if it is a professional association collection to assist the staff to meet storage, preservation and access requirements.
- Transfer protocols for additions to the colleciton should be established.