Southwest Collection Guide for Perspective Donors
Preservation of historical records and public documents provides the only means for future generations to understand the past. Monuments call to mind significant events, but only records provide the basis for historical narratives, insight, and understanding. With these records, the Southwest Collection on the campus of Texas Tech University stands as a repository of the collective memory of West Texas and the Southwest. Using the archives, researchers can study and understand the people, the places, and events of the American Southwest.
Letters, diaries, recordings, and photographs provide unique information about the Southwest that is unavailable elsewhere and help understand the role of people who built this region. When you donate materials to the Collection, your experiences become part of the collective memory of the regions heritage.
What is the Southwest Collection and what can we do for you?
The Southwest Collection preserves collections of written, visual, and audio material. Its purpose is to ensure that these collections will be available for research for generations to come.
Once you donate materials, they are stored in a secure, environmentally controlled facility. Professional archivists oversee preservation, arrangement, and description of the materials. Equally important, access to these materials is provided to you and interested researchers. As a result, historians, students, genealogists, journalists, and others will have your papers available to assist in their research.
For more information on the Southwest Collection visit our web page at http://swco.ttu.edu/
What do we preserve?
The archives accepts donations as small as a single item and as large as hundreds of boxes. Donations do not have to be organized, and do not have to pertain to a famous person, event, or organization. We accept papers, books, films, audio and video tapes, and a limited range of artifacts. The only restriction is that the donated material must pertain to the history of the Southwest, past or present.
Examples of historically valuable material we are interested include materials useful to researchers.
In addition organizational records, art, music, books, maps, and some artifacts are of interest to the archives.
Should I "cull" my papers or reorganize them?
The staff of the archives can best determine the historical significance of materials in any potential donation. Since the research value of records can be diminished if things are removed or rearranged, we encourage you to contact us before discarding, or reorganizing any of your materials.
Can the Collection take everything offered?
Occasionally policy and space restrictions prevent the archives from taking everything. However, we welcome the chance to evaluate everything in your collection.
How do I donate materials to the Collection?
The best way is to let the archives staff know of your intent. You can contact us using the information provided at end of this brochure.
Donate or lend?
The Collection only accepts donated material. The legal reasons for this are complicated but the practical reasons are simple. First, materials on loan carry with them financial liabilities. Second, materials on loan can be withdrawn from the collection at any time making it impossible to guarantee future research access. Finally, the Collection cannot assign publication and research rights for materials it does not own.
Access to materials
Materials donated to the Collection do not circulate. This insures that the materials can be preserved for future generations. Access is governed by the Collections written use policies. We recommend that donors contact us and discuss these policies and concerns about access before donating materials.
Often potential donations contain material of a sensitive nature. The Collection prefers this material remain in collections. Rather than remove this material, the Collection is willing to discuss restrictions on access to such items in the collection so long as the restrictions are reasonable and in effect only for a defined period.
Copyright is a complex issue. Generally, it belongs to the creator of original materials, such as writings, photos, films, or music. It can be transferred to heirs or others. It is also separable from ownership of a particular item, and for this reason, it is the policy of the Collection to ask for donation of copyright along with donation of the materials. This gives the Collection clear title to the materials and allows it to assign copyright to researchers who intend to publish their research. Inability to do this often limits access and the use of materials.
Appraisals for tax purposes
It may be possible for you to take a tax deduction for your donation. IRS tax code does not permit institutions receiving collections to appraise them. The archives can provide names of licensed appraisers. Such questions should be taken up with your tax accountant or attorney.
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