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Georgia State University Archives

The growth and development of Georgia State University from an evening school of commerce to a major urban research university is documented in the records of campus administrative offices, deliberative bodies, and major extracurricular organizations. The University Archives includes the records of GSU presidents and other high-ranking officials, minutes of the University Senate and its committees, annual reports of deans, reaccreditation studies, research reports, theses and dissertations, catalogs, the student newspaper, and a complete set of yearbooks.

Collections and Finding Aids | Research Guides
Collecting Policy | Evaluating Archival Material | Transferring Records
Links to Other Resources

Research Guides

Research Guides on the History of the University, History of the Library, Women at the University, and Areas of Excellence at GSU.

Collecting Policy

Priorities and Limitations of the University Archives Collection:

A. Present Collection Strengths: The collection is currently strongest in documenting administrative history, master and doctoral research, the growth and development of the campus, and selected student activities.

B. Present Collecting Level: High-level administrative records (president and vice-presidents) and theses and dissertations are collected on a comprehensive level. Yearbooks, the student newspaper, and annual reports are collected exhaustively. Records of student organizations and legal and financial records are collected very selectively.

C. Limitations: Records dating prior to the 1970s are not voluminous.

D. Desired Collecting Level: The University Archives desires to collect high-level administrative records exhaustively for all time periods. Records relating to public relations, deliberative bodies, and dean’s level administration will be collected comprehensively. A sampling of records documenting students and faculty will be collected.

E. Geographical Area: Atlanta, Georgia (extended metropolitan area).

F. Chronological Periods: From founding of university in 1913 to present.

G. Subject Areas Collected: Administration and policy-making, academics (teaching and research), public relations, campus planning and development (including relations with city government and business community), legal and financial affairs, student life and activities, and alumni relations.

H. Forms: All forms of records are collected, including manuscripts, printed, audio-visual, and artifacts.

I. Exclusions: Student academic records are not collected (these are administered by the Registrar’s Office).

Evaluating Archival Material

“Archival material” can be a person’s or organization’s correspondence, unpublished reports, committee minutes, diaries, oral history interviews, photographs and videos, sound recordings, artifacts or objects.

Questions to ask when evaluating archival material:

1. Creator (such as writer, speaker, or organization): basis of authority; credibility. Who is the writer or interviewee? What was his or her role in the events or organization? Was the person in a position of authority, or was s/he challenging the status quo? Is this an eye-witness account or hearsay? How aware is the person or organization of the context of an event, of the issues under debate, of the actions and views of other people? What is the person’s or organization’s point of view, and what evidence is cited to support it? Is the person aware of his potential biases and of other points of view?

2. Historical context: accuracy, verifiability. To what extent is the information or account reliable and valid? How well and in what manner does it meet internal and external tests of corroboration, consistence, and explication of contradictions? What is the relation of this information or account to existing documentation (such as other first-hand accounts) and to secondary sources (interpretations, descriptions, and historical studies of events in books and journal articles).

3. Point of view or bias. Information is rarely neutral. Who is the writer? What are his or her relationships to other people or organizations? Is the writer an observer or a participant in an event? What is the motivation for speaking or behaving in a certain way? What does the person or organization hope to accomplish (the goal)? Is there a political or philosophical agenda? Is the person/organization aware of information that s/he or they do not present? What do other people say about the same information, the same issue, or the organization itself?

4. Currency. Was the information or account written or conveyed during the regular course of life or business? Or is it a recollection or recreation of past events? If it is a recollection of past events, how long ago did the events occur?

5. Significance. To what extent does the material add fresh information, fill gaps in the existing record, and/or provide fresh insights and perspectives? How representative is the information? Is the information facts, perceptions, interpretations, judgments, or attitudes? How does it contribute to understanding? Does it matter that we know this?

Transferring Records

The University Archives is responsible for preserving all records of permanent value that document the policies and history of the university. In addition to assisting university offices in the storage of selected records, the University Archives provides information and reference services that support administrative offices as they conduct official university business. The partnership between university offices and the University Archives also benefits the academic community by providing documentary resources, and it enhances the reputation of Georgia State University among the public.

How to Identify and Transfer Georgia State University Records:

1. To determine which office records to transfer to the Archives, review Records to Transfer. For further information about the types of records to transfer, see Documentation.

2. Complete the actions described on the Transfer of Records to the University Archives–Procedures, and fill out the Request for Transfer form.

3. Send the transfer form to the University Archives by interoffice mail for approval. The University Archivist will notify you if your request is approved.

Links to Other Resources

Records Management, University System of Georgia: A resource to enable records custodians and managers to facilitate an effective records system.
Records Management at Georgia State University
University Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign