The collections in SJSU Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) are generally open to the public for research. These collections include the University Archives. Information on access and permissions policies is available on the SJSU Special Collections & Archives site.
Detailed information on access policies and procedures for SJSU Special Collections & Archives, which includes the University Archives, is available on the SJSU Special Collections & Archives site. In general, the best place to start before making a reference request is the finding aids on the Online Archive of California. The majority of University Archives collections include the university’s name as the first words in the title. Many of these titles also include historical names such as San Jose State Normal School.
Preparing for Milestone Celebrations
Entities on campus (organizations, departments, programs, offices) often reach out to the University Archivist with a request for help locating historical records to showcase as part of a milestone celebration, such as the 50th or 100th anniversary of a historical event. Depending on the University Archives’ holdings at the time of the request, it can take hours or over a year to locate relevant materials. Ideally, such requests are made at least one year in advance and include a team of people who are ready to review the collections the University Archivist indicates. Due to the intensive time required for such projects, it is rare that the University Archivist will be able to conduct this research on behalf of the entity.
The default state for all collections in the University Archives is unrestricted and open to the public for research. On rare occasions, records stewards may want to restrict access to a collection, or to certain folders within a collection. These restrictions can be put in place through conversation with the University Archivist and Director of Special Collections & Archives, and should be noted on any Transfer of Records documents. Agreements to restrict access to records will not supersede any legal orders that may arise regarding the release of records. Also, these agreements are grounded in mutual trust and are not legally binding. The best approach to restricting access to records is usually to delay transferring records to the archives until it is the right time for them to be available to the public.
Because the majority of University Archives collections are accessible to the public, we avoid collecting materials that contain sensitive or private information. We focus our collection security efforts on ensuring the preservation and authenticity of our materials to the furthest extent possible.
Physical materials are stored in secure, climate-controlled vaults, accessible only to employees of SJSU Special Collections & Archives. Researcher access is permitted on site in the Reading Room following the procedures outlined on the SJSU Special Collections & Archives site. We ensure the preservation and authenticity of digital materials by migrating files to archival formats and storing them on servers with automatic processes for creating backups and performing fixity checks.