Policy for The Van Pelt and Opie Library
Michigan Technological University is a doctoral, high research activity university (Carnegie classification R2). The University’s library, the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library (VPOL), understands the importance of providing awareness to its users of its collection development policy which strives to provide guidance in the building and stewardship of its collections. The policy supports the library’s mission and vision and is also in accordance with the mission, vision, and goals of the University.
The Van Pelt and Opie Library strives to meet the needs of its users with primary focus on the faculty, staff, and students of Michigan Tech, which encompass the greatest number of those served. VPOL also serves the greater communities of Houghton & Hancock, Michigan as well as providing services across the Upper Peninsula. Through interlibrary loan, electronic resources, and open stacks, the library endeavors to meet the needs of all library users throughout the state, country, and world.
The library has grown from an initial gift of 3,000 bound volumes to today’s collection of approximately 188,000 monographs. The library’s journal collection is 98% digital with a deep collection of printed historical engineering journals. As of January, 2017, students and faculty have access to 32,000 direct subscriptions (mainly in STEM disciplines) and additional access to 121,000 other serial titles. More on the history of Michigan Tech’s library can be read in an Alumni News article written by one of the library’s archivists.
The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections (University Archives and Historical Collections or Archives), a department within the VPOL, focuses on the history, culture and peoples of the region with a special emphasis on mining history and commerce as well as the University’s history. In addition, the department serves as a regional repository for noncurrent public records in the western Upper Peninsula. The archives is mainly a paper-based archive, but it also hosts over 11,000 digital images online, which are openly available through the Copper Country Historical Images database.
The Van Pelt and Opie Library will seek to collect, preserve, and provide access to materials in print and other physical and electronic formats to support the current and future research, teaching, and programmatic needs of Michigan Technological University.
The university allocates funds to support collection development in the library. These funds are used to purchase books, journals, and databases in both print and electronic formats as well as select non-print materials. The library’s collection budget may be supplemented by gift funds.
Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (2012)
For those responsible for the development and management of library collections and/or the provision of library programs and services, this specifically involves:
- Providing an equitable basis for purchasing materials and providing programs and services.
- Ensuring that consideration of the needs of historically oppressed, underrepresented, and underserved groups is integral to collection development and management and the provision of programs and services. Regularly assessing the adequacy of existing collections, programs, and services to ensure they are reflective of the diversity of the library’s constituent populations.
- Regularly reviewing the current and emergent demographic trends for the library’s constituent populations to inform collection development and management and the provision of programs and services.
- Providing increased accessibility through cataloging by allowing natural language words and advocating for changes in the LOC heading
- Creating and advocating for the creation of programs and services that are reflective of the cultural heritage, cultural backgrounds, and social identities of the library’s constituent populations.
- Including constituents as major stakeholders in decision-making and advisory entities and the planning, development, and evaluation of collections, programs, and services.
The Van Pelt and John and Opie Library (VPOL) subscribes to the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) principles. VPOL recognizes that these statements uphold the fundamental right to free access to ideas and the freedom of expression which is central to the educational process.
The J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library recognizes the importance of all patrons’ privacy as it relates to the use of university library resources and services. The library asserts that a patron’s right to open inquiry without scrutiny or examination by others is essential to freedom of speech and thought and the spirit of American universities. The library continually maintains controls and procedures to ensure this right.
Americans recognize a right to privacy in the United States Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, Fourth Amendment -- and the state of Michigan has specifically defined a library privacy act regarding the disclosure of library patron information (Michigan Library Privacy Act of 1982: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-Act-455-of-1982).
The VPOL conducts activities regarding private and confidential information to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws. The VPOL collects only personally identifiable information (PII) that is necessary to provide services and resources. PII is deleted or destroyed as soon as practical in order to maintain patron confidentiality. All library staff and student workers receive training on the rights and responsibilities of handling PII. The library has designated that only the library director is authorized to receive or respond to requests for PII from law enforcement or other individuals.
In addition to law, the Van Pelt and Opie Library and its employees subscribe to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights as it relates to privacy and confidentiality:
“We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.” (Code of Ethics of the American Library Association, Section III: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics)
- The ALA Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill
- The ACRL/ALA Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/intellectual
- The Freedom to Read Statement http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement
- Freedom to View Statement http://www.ala.org/rt/vrt/professionalresources/vrtresources/freedomtoview
The Van Pelt and Opie Library complies fully with all of the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The library proactively provides copyright-related information and education concerning the reuse of its collections.
The Van Pelt and Opie Library is committed to participating in resource sharing and cooperative acquisition activities. Through cooperative collection development and resource sharing, the library is able to reduce costs and provide broad access to information for our patrons.
The VPOL is a full partner in the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI). MI-SPI is a partnership among 11 of Michigan’s publicly supported universities and is a shared print monograph retention program. The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) are the facilitators for this project. Information about the MI-SPI project can be found on the MCLS website, http://mcls.org/engagement/mi-spi/. Additional collaboration with MCLS fosters consortial pricing and licensing agreements which provide pricing benefits resulting in lower costs.
The Van Pelt and Opie library actively engages in interlibrary loan activity to fully meet the resource needs of the University community. The VPOL participates in MeLCat, an interlibrary loan system which shares books and media resources among participating Michigan libraries, generally for longer loan periods than traditional interlibrary loan (ILL), benefiting students, faculty and researchers. The library also provides interlibrary loan services for acquiring journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters not available in our collections. Data concerning requested content is collected and regularly reviewed to help inform collection development decisions.
The collecting depth of each subject for the library’s principle collection is determined by the material needs for the various degree programs and levels offered here at the University. Based on the University’s curriculum, materials are selected in each subject area and collection depth intensity levels are assigned to each subject area. The library collects in three intensity levels with collecting activities also determined by subject area, and by the need to support the teaching, research, programmatic, and accreditation needs at the University. Collection depth intensity levels are also affected by current funding levels and adjustments are made in relation to overall library expenditures.
3a BASIC STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL:
The basic subdivision of a level 3 collection provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the basic or primary works of a subject area. The collection includes the most important primary and secondary literature, a selection of basic representative journals/periodicals, and subject based indexes, the fundamental reference and bibliographic tools pertaining to the subject. This subdivision of level 3 supports lower division undergraduate courses, as well as some of the basic independent study needs of the lifelong learner.
3c ADVANCED STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL:
The advanced subdivision of level 3 provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the primary and secondary topics of a subject area. The collection includes a significant number of seminal works and journals on the primary and secondary topics in the field; a significant number of retrospective materials; a substantial collection of works by secondary figures; works that provide more in-depth discussions of research, techniques, and evaluation. This level collection can support master's degree level programs as well as other specialized inquiries such as those of subject professionals with special libraries.
4 RESEARCH LEVEL:
A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertation and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results and other information useful to the researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is usually retained for historical research and actively preserved. A collection at this level supports doctoral and other original research.
Anderson, J. S., & American Library Association. (1996). Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements (Vol. 2nd ed). Chicago: ALA Editions of the American Library Association.
The primary goal in the selection of physical and electronic materials for VPOL is to create a balanced collection that supports the teaching, research, programmatic needs, and academic mission of Michigan Technological University. These policies are intended to guide this ongoing process which can vary due to changes in curriculum, program, and academic work needs. The collections librarian, in collaboration with faculty colleagues, assists in decision making for material which supplements the library collection as well as support their school or department’s resource needs. Selection of all desired material is not always possible due to fluctuations and inadequacies in the library’s resource budget from year to year. Recommendations by library patrons for materials for selection are welcomed and can be made through the library’s Recommend a Purchase Form.
Principal Material Selection Criteria
The following selection guidelines are taken into consideration when selecting material for the library’s collections.
- Price and availability
- Relevant to the curriculum
- Documented demand
- Patron requests
- Research needs
- Interlibrary loan history
- Frequency of document delivery requests for materials on the same or similar subject
- Quality of content
- Presentation and usability (style, clarity, intuitiveness, and organization)
- Timeliness and lasting value of content and format
- Aesthetic considerations
- Literary, artistic, or social value
- Appeal to the imagination, senses, or intellect
- Relationship to other items in the collection
- Comparison to MI-SPI library holdings relative to applicable resource sharing options
- Quality of scholarship
- Accurate, usable index
- Pictorial representations
- Authority and reputation of author, publisher, or vendor
- Scope, audience level
- Positive reviews from credible sources
- Preference given to English resources (except for materials that support the Humanities Modern Language program)
Selection Criteria for Journals and Electronic Resources
In addition, the following guidelines will also be taken into consideration for the selection of journals and electronic resources:
- Agreement types (one-year, multi-year, and maintenance)
- Consortium pricing
- IP recognition
- Number of seats available to users (multiple or unlimited)
- Access restrictions
- Embargoes imposed by publishers
- Collection available in Alma or MARC record available to download
- Licensing preferences
- Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) compliant
- Perpetual access
- Vendor support and reliability
- Interlibrary loan supported
- Usage statistics
- Prefer COUNTER compliant
- Number of turnaways (attempts to access)
- Avoid overlap with other eResources
- Full-text search availability and inclusion within subscribed databases
- Print is chosen when electronic access is cost prohibitive. Print may also be chosen when it has an added value (i.e., illustrations) or when permanent access to print is desired. If permanent online access to eJournals is provided, print will not be retained
- Electronic access will be preferred if cost, availability, and quality are equal or close to print
The J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library welcomes donations of books and other materials (referred to as gift-in-kind) which will increase the capability of the collection and support the curriculum, research, teaching, and mission of Michigan Technological University. Gifts-in-kind are accepted according to specific guidelines, which are explained within this policy. Please contact the library at email@example.com or 906-487-2507 with questions about donations for the main collection. Gifts to the University Archives and Historical Collections are welcome and are handled by calling the archives office at 906-487-2505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Monetary donations to the library are also gratefully accepted and can be made by calling the library administration office at 906-468-2501 or email at email@example.com for more information.
Gifts-in-kind the library gratefully accepts:
- Items that support the current or future curriculum, teaching, research, or programmatic needs of the University
- Recently published (within the last five years) academic books in good physical condition
- Books by university faculty or alumni
- Journals that are identified as able to fill gaps in the library’s holdings
- Items with local or historical interest or origin:
- Records of local government, churches, businesses, and social organizations
- Personal manuscripts and family papers, letters, postcards, and scrapbooks
- Published monographs, newspapers, journals, and magazines; unpublished booklets, pamphlets, etc.
- Audiovisual materials, including outdated and current media formats, such as discs, tapes, films, records, photographs, negatives, glass plates, etc.
- Clippings, postcards, and other ephemera (ie: flyers, posters, broadsides, playbills, ticket stubs, etc.)
- University-related and local memorabilia and objects, such as pins, badges, sports keepsakes, etc.
- Oversize materials like maps, atlases, lake charts, blueprints, engineering drawings, architectural renderings, and such about the Upper Peninsula or Great Lakes, and their environment, peoples or history
Gifts-in-kind to the library will be accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the library. The donor understands that retention, location, cataloging, digitization or other considerations related to the gift’s use or disposition are at the discretion of the library in accordance with the university’s policies. Materials not added to the collection may be sold through the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library’s sales or disposed of ethically through charitable organizations. Proceeds from the sale of materials will be used to directly support the library and archives.
Gifts-in-kind to the Van Pelt and Opie library are tax deductible. The library, however, cannot appraise gifts for income tax purposes. Donors should seek out qualified appraisers, their attorneys or tax advisors, and the latest IRS regulations.
There are significant handling, cataloging, and processing costs associated with items added to the Library's collections. Please review the library’s policy before donating large gift collections to ensure donated materials meet the library’s collection needs and do not cause unexpected out-of-budget costs.
If our donation policy does not meet your needs, the following sources may be able to provide assistance. By listing the following sources, The Van Pelt and Opie Library does not imply endorsement:
- Your Old Books https://rbms.info/yob/ - Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. “This guide addresses some frequently asked questions about rare and older books and their values.”
- ABAA - The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America https://www.abaa.org/booksellers/. The ABAA’s website provides a searching tool to find members by name, state, regional, and specialty
- Additional sources for donating material (check with the company’s website for their donation policy)
- Books For Africa: https://www.booksforafrica.org/
- Better World Books: https://www.betterworldbooks.com/
"An edition of a book specifically intended for use of students who are enrolled in a course of study or preparing for an examination on a subject or in an academic discipline…sometimes published in conjunction with a workbook, lab manual, and/or teacher’s manual." Joan M. Reitz, ODLIS – Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, (11/19/07)
Like most academic libraries, the Van Pelt and Opie Library is generally unable to purchase textbooks for its collections. Reasons for this include:
- Cost. Textbooks tend to be expensive and require frequent updating as new editions are published.
- Space considerations. The library does not have the space to house required textbooks for each university course.
- Collection policy of the library. Textbooks are teaching tools rather than scholarly works on a topic. As such they generally do not fit the library’s collection policy.
- Electronic access. The library is unable to subscribe to ebook versions of textbooks due to restrictions imposed by textbook publishers.
When feasible, instructors may place a copy of their textbooks on print course reserve in the library.
Exceptions to policy
- Exceptional circumstances affecting access to textbooks through traditional means. If a textbook is unavailable through commercial means to students, but may be acquired by the library.
- Textbook provides the only or best coverage of a subject, or is a significant or historical study of the subject.
Titles that are not typically identified as textbooks and support the University’s teaching and research interests, but are used in courses to support/facilitate instruction/learning may be acquired.
The Leisure Reading Collection is curated to meet the recreational reading needs of the library’s community. It is intended to be a browsing non-academic collection featuring, but not limited to, fiction, non-fiction, biography, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, young adult, horror, and graphic novels. New books are purchased by the Collections Librarian for this collection quarterly using funds provided by the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library. Suggested book titles for this collection are always welcome and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to space considerations, frequent deselection of materials from this collection is necessary.
The John Opie Business Leadership Collection (Opie Collection) is intended as a collection of business leadership books, both academic and non-academic, of interest to the library’s diverse community. New books are purchased periodically by the Collections Librarian for the Opie Collection using gift funds provided by Arthur and Robert Namerow. Suggested book titles for this collection are always welcome and can be emailed to email@example.com.
Open access resources are born-digital information to which access is free or “open.” Most open access resources allow users to download, copy, print, display, distribute, search, index, and link to the work. Open access resources remain the intellectual property of their creators, who have attribution rights as well as control over the integrity of their work, generally expressed through a Creative Commons license.
The Van Pelt and Opie library is committed to the principles of open access, as outlined in the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. By making resources freely available on the public internet, Open Access publishing supports free exchange of information and ideas vital to scholarly discourse.
Open access works are subject to the aforementioned Selection Criteria for Library Resources with specific focus on:
- Technical functionality
- Ease and feasibility of maintenance
Open access works are discoverable and accessible through the library catalog and Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, the university’s digital repository.
Open access resources will be reviewed to ensure continued functionality, suitability, and relevance to the curriculum and research needs of the university. Materials will be considered for deselection if they have become obsolete, are no longer freely available, or no longer meet the selection criteria.
The Van Pelt and Opie library is the second oldest Federal Government Depository in Michigan beginning in 1876, and currently serves as a selective repository. The core of this documents collection began with the personal depository collection of Senator J. A. Hubbell. A number of historic materials are held uniquely and, in recent years, the depository was designated as digital only. The University of Minnesota Libraries serve as the Regional Federal Depository Library for our library and provides interlibrary loan access to government documents no longer received/held by our library.
The library purchases select equipment for circulation as appropriate to support the success of our patrons based on:
- A need or desire for the use of the equipment
- Availability of funding to provide access to the equipment
- A satisfactory plan to organize, store, maintain and circulate the equipment
The Van Pelt and Opie Library strives to acquire and maintain a collection of Michigan Tech authored monographs. This includes monographs authored or edited by Michigan Tech faculty and staff. The general and electronic selection criteria also applies to Michigan Tech authored publications.
- Print: The library’s main circulating collection contains one print copy of all dissertations and master's theses completed at Michigan Tech from circa 1929 through 2011. For preservation purposes, a non-circulating print copy of historic dissertations, theses, and reports are maintained in the Archives. The earliest volumes are from 1890, with theses and reports print copies through 2012 and dissertations print copies through 2015.
- Electronic: Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech retains a growing collection of dissertations, master’s theses, and master’s reports. The collection goes back as far as 1998 but is not comprehensive prior to 2012. Works are submitted with their author’s permission for either open access or Michigan Tech only access.
Newspapers are selected with priority given first to local or regional newspapers and then major U.S. papers. Additional guidelines include:
- Provides a unique contribution to the collection
- Relevance to the curriculum
- Scope, audience level
- Print newspapers are displayed for a limited time and then newspapers of local interest are retained for the Archives. Electronic format is preferred.
Although the library collection includes some DVD and VHS, the library no longer actively purchases film and television programs and series in these formats. The library currently subscribes to Kanopy, an electronic resource, which provides access to a large database of film and television materials. Due to cost restrictions, Kanopy movie and film requests can only be made by faculty for instructional purposes. Requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For guidance on additional media resources, contact a librarian at email@example.com.
Standards requests are reviewed on a case by case basis with preference given to Michigan Tech students for specific research and/or projects. Faculty may request standards when needed for instructional purposes. Specific requests can be made by using the Request a Standard Form. While the library does maintain a small collection of print standards, the library is no longer actively collecting in print formats. The majority of standards are available electronically through ASTM Compass, IEEE Xplore, SAE Mobilus, and TechStreet Enterprise.
Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech is a repository providing organization, description, worldwide access, and long-term preservation for original works created by members of the Michigan Technological University community.
The content accepted for deposit covers a broad spectrum of research, scholarship, campus publications and other original works. Examples of possible content include, but are not limited to, pre- and post-print journal articles, research data, teaching materials, books, dissertations, theses, journals, essays, student projects, and technical reports. Content of enduring value produced or sponsored by administrative offices, academic departments or research units may also be included. Examples may include magazines, conference proceedings, newsletters, and other campus publications. The complete content policy can be found at https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/dc_information/1/
Deselection of library materials is an integral part in the maintenance of an active and ever-growing collection. In order to accommodate fluctuations in the ever-changing nature of information, the library’s collections are regularly evaluated for outdated, inaccurate, and worn-out materials. Assisting in the deselection of monographs is the library’s participation in the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI). MI-SPI is a shared print weeding and retention program which allows for the deselection of widely-held print monographs in relation to collaborative retention requirements and overall retention of rare items. Whenever possible, the collaboration with faculty in the evaluation of materials is utilized. The following guidelines are used for deselection criteria:
- Inaccurate, outdated, and misleading information
- Overlap in other sources
- Circulation and usage statistics
- Multiple copies no longer needed
- Physical condition of materials
- Stable electronic equivalent
This section of the policy shall be reviewed and revised by the Collections team annually from its approval date.
Policy for the University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections (“Michigan Tech Archives” or “Archives”), a department within the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library (Van Pelt and Opie Library), collects, preserves, and makes accessible historical and cultural records and materials pertaining to the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University in order to support education, research, community memory.
The Archives will be the first and best resource for historical information about the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University.
Scope of Collections
Specific topical strengths and future collection development goals are outlined below, but in general the Michigan Tech Archives serves as a regional manuscript repository for historical materials relating to the Lake Superior basin and Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, particularly the “Copper Country” comprising Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties which help to form the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Archives also collects materials relating to the history of Michigan Technological University and selected institutional records deemed to be of permanent historical value. In an agreement with the State Archives of Michigan, the Archives also collects noncurrent public records from Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties. The department occasionally acquires materials from the upper Midwest or beyond if there is a direct contextual or topical link to the archives main areas of collecting focus.
Research and Reference Support Services: The primary work of the Archives is to collect, preserve, and provide meaningful access to historical materials of use in research and learning.
Archives Instruction: In concert with research support, the archives engages diverse audiences to provide primary source research instruction, archival research overviews, and departmental orientations and tours.
Faculty and Graduate Student Research. The Archives works actively with faculty and graduate students on targeted, long-term research projects, sponsored projects, and other research endeavors. The Archives also holds a print copy of historic Michigan Tech doctoral dissertations and master’s theses (up to INSERT YEAR) and reports acquired prior to the onset of Digital Commons.
Digital Collections: In addition to traditional print collections such as documents, photographs, newspapers, and maps, the Archives is actively involved in the stewardship of digital collections and proposes digitization projects that benefit our researchers and supports access and preservation of actively used collections. Information about the Archives, its programs, and collections is made accessible through a variety of digital and web media including its website, social media platforms, the Copper Country Historical Images database, online collection finding aids, and catalog records in the Library’s catalog, WorldCat and ArchiveGrid. The Archives actively collaborates with colleagues within and beyond the Library to ensure we continue to be innovative and responsible in how we create and manage our digital assets. Recent and current projects include a transition from Archivist’s Toolkit to ArchivesSpace, a migration from a homegrown platform to the digital asset management vendor-based platform Preservica, digitization projects for the Keweenaw Time Traveler, and a proposal to digitize mining employee records.
Outreach: The Archives engages in outreach and community programs which draw attention to its collections and researchers, educate the public about regional history, and encourage an appreciation of the importance of archival collections. These include open house events, speaker series, travel grant programs, and presentations by staff to campus, K-12, and community organizations. The Archives is also a co-sponsor of the District One Michigan History Day competition, a program in partnership with the Historical Society of Michigan in support of National History Day.
Sponsored Projects: Each calendar year the Archives seeks out and applies for sponsored projects and foundation funds to conduct collections projects, preservation and conservation work, outreach, oral history, exhibits, and other new initiatives and special programs.
Keweenaw Heritage Site Network: The Archives is an active member of the Keweenaw Heritage Site program, administered by the National Park Service. Archives staff frequently collaborate with other heritage site partners and consult on issues pertaining to archival collections, access, storage, and other preservation concerns.
Exhibits: The Archives designs and mounts exhibits and topical displays highlighting its collections and programs. These include small displays in the Archives reading room and the Memorial Union Building, virtual exhibits in its web environment, as well as travelling exhibits which tour to libraries, museums, schools and other host sites throughout the region.
Publication and Presentation: In addition to encouraging researchers to pursue publication of their work in journals, monographs, and web outlets, the Archives seeks publication, presentation, and educational opportunities to highlight its collections, programs, and services through local, regional, national, and international journals, conferences, workshops, events, etc.
Clientele Served by the Collection
Michigan Tech Campus Community. The Archives seeks to support appropriate research and publication by current and emeriti faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students including but not limited to disciplines of history, industrial heritage, industrial archaeology, environmental history, environmental policy, civil and mechanical engineering, and the humanities. The Archives provides instruction and supports collaborative projects which use its collections. Although the Archives does not provide all encompassing records management to the University, it does house noncurrent university material, including photographs, biographical material, and other items of permanent historical value which are of ongoing use by University staff and administrators.
External Researchers. The Archives seeks to support research by external researchers, including independent scholars and those affiliated with other academic institutions. The department operates an annual travel grant program, funded by the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, to support research and publication by researchers and scholars from outside the area. The Archives provides free access to a variety of other researchers, including genealogists, K-12 faculty, and students, local property owners and municipal employees, and other general researchers pursuing local topics of interest. The archives is free to use for anyone. The department also maintains an active remote research assistance program through the LibAnswers portal, opening our collections to clients all over the globe. The department provides one hour of courtesy research for remote patrons to conduct quick research look-ups. If deeper remote research is required, the Archives staff will refer patrons to a list of third-party, unaffiliated local researchers familiar with our collections.
The Michigan Tech Archives welcomes gifts of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other historical materials that relate to the history of Michigan Technological University and the western Upper Peninsula. It is, in part, through such generosity that the Archives is able to add depth and diversity to the archival resources made available to our research communities. Particular interest is paid to scholarly, current but of enduring historical value, or rare items in good physical condition.
The Michigan Tech Archives serves as a regional manuscript repository for historical materials relating to the Lake Superior basin and Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, particularly the “Copper Country” comprising Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties which form the Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining is a key historical component of the region’s history, yet the collections of the Michigan Tech Archives extend beyond this single industry to document all aspects of the area’s natural and social history. In addition to regional history, the Michigan Tech Archives collects materials relating to the history of Michigan Technological University. Although the Archives does not provide comprehensive records management services to the University, it does document campus history through selected institutional information deemed to be of permanent historical value.
Within these two broad topical themes of regional and campus history, the archives seeks to document aspects of the natural landscape, the built environment, immigration, settlement, community, aspects of work and social life, as well as the history of companies, institutions, social organizations, events, and the personal experiences and memories of a wide array of people and identities.
The Archives has strong representations of mining company corporate records, engineering and architectural drawings, local history monographs, photographs, maps, regional newspapers, records of area social organizations, and genealogical records.
The Archives seeks to enhance its collections to better support research into environmental concerns, social history, labor activism, cultural history, and comparative research using existing collections and similar material in other regions around the Lake Superior basin. The Archives is interested in identifying gaps within its collections and taking appropriate steps to solicit materials to fill such gaps.
Short-term collecting goals include environmental protection organizations and the island of Isle Royale in Lake Superior, a national park which has been host to a long-term scientific study of predator-prey ecosystems between wolves and moose. The Archives is also interested in increasing its holdings of first-person accounts of residents such as diaries, journals, personal correspondence, and oral histories. In addition, the archives is interested in expanding its holdings pertaining to underrepresented voices in regional and campus history, particularly as it relates to social and cultural history. The Archives is interested in building a more diverse and inclusive historical record in an effort to fill gaps in existing local history. Themes of collection development around various underrepresented ethnic, cultural, and social identities is of high importance.
The Archives does not limit its regional collections to any specific era, though material relating to the life of the University dates from its founding in 1885.
The Archives collections are primarily in the English language. Historical materials which are in other languages and fall under the Archives collecting themes are also accepted although description and support of their use may be limited.
The Archives primarily collects two-dimensional regional historical material. These are most often items such as:
- Diaries and journals
- Business records
- University records and documents
- Family papers
- Research files
- Photographs and negatives
- Various printed ephemera
The Archives also seeks published material, including fiction and non-fiction monographs, newspapers, and periodicals. An agreement with the State Archives of Michigan provides a cooperative arrangement for selecting and preserving local government records, including but not limited to naturalization records, census, and circuit court records. In relation to the history of Michigan Technological University, the Archives collects institutional publications, minutes of boards and committees, some records generated in the course of university business, as well as papers, photographs and ephemeral material that document campus life, cultural history, and sports and recreation; particularly the student experience.
While the Archives is mainly a paper-based repository, there are instances of multimedia formats within the collection. The department is limited in its ability to offer meaningful access to outdated media formats, so does not actively seek these materials out unless they are of supreme historical importance. Examples of formats include but are not limited to:
- 16 mm film reels
- Microfilm and microfiche
- Analogue video cassettes in various forms
- Phonograph records
- Reel-to-reel audio tape in various sizes
- Audio cassettes
The Archives is open to accepting donations of born-digital materials, such as e-mail, data sets, or personal research in digital formats. Sometimes these items make more sense to be included in the Library’s Institutional Repository, Digital Commons. Those interested in donating large instances of born-digital material should consult with the University Archivist. A limited number of digital items may be accepted for addition to the Copper Country Historical Images database, but current staffing and technology infrastructures can’t support larger digital curation projects that are not thoroughly discussed in advance of the donation.
As of fall 2019 the Michigan Tech Archives is a contributor on a collaborative planning grant to propose a digital preservation and access network for archival resources maintained in regional archives, libraries, and cultural heritage agencies. This planning grant is a stepping stone to a larger implementation grant which would hopefully provide a more robust ability for the Archives to offer digitization services of various media types and provide meaningful access to various media formats and digital records. This project is in collaboration with the Northern Michigan University Archives, Lake Superior State University, the Peter White Public Library, and the Marquette Regional History Center. The project is funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The Archives does not typically collect three-dimensional artifacts or archaeological artifacts. Potential donors of three-dimensional items may be referred to local museum organizations or the Michigan Tech archaeology lab operated by the Social Sciences Department. As Michigan Tech currently has no campus historical museum, the Archives occasionally accepts three-dimensional artifacts which relate to the University’s history or the local region, but this is on a case by case basis. Three-dimensional objects are also occasionally accepted as necessary components to donated manuscript collections. This is on a case-by-case basis and is decided upon by the University Archivist.
In 1972, the Michigan Tech Archives entered into an agreement with the State Archives of Michigan to serve as an official regional depository for certain state, county, and municipal documents. Governmental agencies in the region, working within state records retention policies, may transfer specified record groups to Lansing for permanent retention as part of the State Archives’ collections. With the agreement of the Michigan Tech Archives, the State Archives may place certain noncurrent records on deposit in the Archives in Houghton for use by residents, genealogists, and historical researchers. The agreement specifies six counties in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula: Gogebic and Iron counties and the four Copper Country counties of Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon. Governmental records currently on deposit are predominantly from Houghton and Keweenaw counties and include survey and tax records, voting rolls, circuit court documents (including divorce decrees), jail records, naturalization records, and public school records.
The Archives is a member of the statewide Preservica Consortium, administered by the Archives of Michigan under the leadership of State Archivist, Mark Harvey. The consortium provides significant subscription savings as well as some platform support for Preservica, the digital asset management platform on which the Copper Country Historical Images database is housed.
The Archives is an active member of the Keweenaw Heritage Site program, administered by the National Park Service. Archives staff frequently collaborate with other heritage site partners and consult on issues pertaining to archival collections, access, storage, and other preservation concerns.
The Archives is an institutional member of the Historical Society of Michigan, the Michigan Archival Association, the Houghton and Keweenaw County Genealogical Society, and the Northland Historical Consortium.
Although no other formal collaborative agreements are in place, the Archives maintains contacts with other archives, libraries, and museums in the area and seeks to work collaboratively in collecting, preserving, and providing access to manuscript material throughout the region. For instance, Finnish language materials may be referred to the Finnish American Historical Archives housed at Finlandia University, while donors with three-dimensional artifacts may be referred to museum organizations. As a note, professional archival principles discourage the division of collections for retention at multiple institutions.
The Michigan Tech Archives generally accepts formal donations as permanent additions to its collections. In some cases, however, decisions to deaccession and remove collections at a later date will occasionally occur. In such cases, every effort will be made to return collections to the original donor. If the Archives is unable to locate the donor (or their descendents) pursuant to a good faith effort, materials may be transferred to another repository, sold, or disposed of.
This section of the policy shall be reviewed and revised by the staff of the Archives annually from its approval date.