Donate Records to the University Archives


The University Archives of Bowling Green State University is the official repository for the historical records of BGSU from its founding in 1910 to the present.  Its holdings include administrative records of the university, including records from the Board of Trustees, the office of the President, individual colleges and academic departments, and other administrative offices and divisions.  Also included are the records of student organizations, as well as official publications of the university such as annual reports, studies, college catalogs, materials related to student life such as campus newspapers, yearbooks.  In addition to these materials, there are extensive photograph files of campus scenes, events, and of individual associated with the university.

Records are collected that fall within the University Archives' defined Collection Development Policy.  Most of the records held in the University Archives are received by transfer from a university department or unit under the relevant records retention schedule.  However, addition materials are received as donations from student groups, alumni and other individuals.

Instructions on how to transfer / donate records to the University Archives are provided below, along with information of the typical types of records we collect.  Formats for materials transferred to the University Archives may include paper documents, audio-visual materials, photographs and digital records.  Under most circumstances, the University Archives does not accept three-dimensional objects.

To discuss a potential transfer or donation of materials to the University Archives, please call 419-372-2411 or e-mail us.

Call the University Archives (2-2411) to let them know that you would like to transfer records and discuss whether the records you wish to transfer are of permanent historical value. The University Archives only accepts records that document the permanent historical record of BGSU and reserves the right to dispose of transferred records that do not meet this criteria.  Most records to be transferred to the University Archives by BGSU offices and departments will be designated either in the General Records Retention Schedule or the unit-specific schedule.  On occasion, departments and units may come across unscheduled, historical materials also appropriate for the Archives.  If you are transferring paper records, please download and use the Archives Inventory Form to provide information on the contents of each box to be transferred.  Transfers of electronic records can also be accepted.  Please contact the University Archives to further discuss this option.

For information on handling the inactive, but non-archival, records of a campus office or department, please see the Records Management website.

The records of student organizations at BGSU are extremely useful in documenting student life.  We currently hold the historic records of many fraternities and sororities (both social and service oriented); honor societies; and special interest groups whether based on ethnicity (for example, Black Student Union, Latino Student Union), course of study (National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association), or other common characteristics (Off Campus Commuter Organization).

University Archives' staff is always interested in speaking with student organization representatives to discuss possible donations of the records of their clubs and organizations.  Please see our guide to creating an organizational history for information on the types of records we are most interested in collecting.  Please note that we usually do not accept three-dimensional artifacts such as framed photographs, plaques and awards.  Depending on the nature of the items, however, we may temporarily accept them for photographing and then return the originals to the donor.

We are always happy to learn about records relating to BGSU's past for potential donation.  Our collections are greatly enhanced by the materials generously donated by alumni, faculty, staff and their families.  We are particularly interested in records that document student and academic life through the years, whether it be in the form of scrapbooks, letters home, diaries, photographs, course syllabi and note, or other record types.  If you have such items, we would welcome an opportunity to discuss with you further whether they might find a home here.

There are some materials, however, that we don't need, such as yearbooks and issues of the BG News.  Not only do we have multiple copies of these materials, these items have also been digitized and are available worldwide through the University Libraries' Digital Repository.  We also do not usually accept three-dimensional artifacts such as framed photographs, plaques and awards.  Depending on the nature of the items, however, we may temporarily accept them for photographing and then return the originals to the donor.

Thank you for helping to preserve BGSU's history.

Not all departmental or student organization records are necessary to document the history of the unit or group.  For example, the Univeristy Archives does not collect invoices or financial statements for routine/minor financial transactions.  Nor can we accept large amounts of unidentified photographs.  Things such as administrative reports, subject files, committee records, correspondence, and publications serve much better to document the history of an organization - be it student-led or a campus department. 

Consult our guide to creating an organization history for ideas as to the types of records we do seek to collect, as well as some information on creating useful meeting minutes.

In addition, follow these tips to help ensure your records are available for future generations:

1. Keep minutes, copies of publications and copies of flyers to document the varied activities of your organization.

2. Label materials/folders with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances.

3. Keep records together in one central place.

4. Develop a straightforward filing system that works for your organization.

5. Store records away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun.

6. Develop a routine for transferring inactive records to the University Archives - for example, at the end of each academic year, over the summer, or whenever leadership changes.

7. Don't forget about electronic records your organization creates - University Archives staff can provide advice on maintaining these records as well.

The BGSU University Archives offers a place where all records (whether from a campus department, student organization, or individual alumni) are professionally cared for, stored in boxes especially made to ensure the records longevity and protect them against environmental hazards, and arranged and described online to further their availability to other members of the donating organization as well as to scholars near and far interested in the history of the group or individual.

Updated: 06/05/2023 09:27AM