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Preserving Professional Papers

Faculty and staff interested in donating their papers to the Archives & Special Collections department in the Health Sciences Library may refer to this guide for advice and best practices tutorials.

Collecting Professional Papers and Materials

archivist Nicole Topich processes materials (2017)The mission of the Archives and Special Collections of the Health Sciences Library is to preserve records that document the history, organization, policies, activities, and people of Upstate Medical University and Hospital, its predecessor institutions, and the history of medicine, especially in central New York; and to make those records available to researchers.

The Archival holdings currently include more than 2000 linear feet of records relating to Upstate Medical University and its predecessor institutions, Geneva College of Medicine (1834-1871) and Syracuse University College of Medicine (1872-1949).

The Archives seeks to preserve a comprehensive record of academic life at Upstate. This must include the professional papers of faculty and staff, which may consist of records of teaching, research, and other professional achievements. The Archives also welcomes donations of University records that have been collected by faculty and staff to supplement the incomplete documentary holdings in our care.

For information on what materials are appropriate for donation, please see the Collections tab of this guide. Donation procedures are also available throughout this guide. Contact the Archives & Special Collections staff with any questions.

Storing Your Papers

There are proactive steps you can take to prolong the life of your materials until they are ready for deposit with the Archives.

Proper Storage (for paper):

  • A cool (about 65 degrees), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity) environment
    • avoid locations with environmental fluctuations (attics and basements)
  • Minimal exposure to all kinds of light
  • Store away from HVAC systems (heaters, air conditioners)
  • Store materials acid-free folders and boxes like those available from Gaylord or Hollinger
  • Special housing is available for photographs and other materials
  • Store oversize items either unfolded and flat or loosely rolled
  • Isolate acidic materials (ike newspaper) to prevent acids from migrating to other materials

Organizing Your Materials:

  • Create an organized filing system for your materials
  • Avoid creating a system where redundant copies are stored in multiple places (no more than two copies are needed)
  • Use neat handwriting to clearly label folders and housing with pencil
  • Include the date of creation of the materials on the folder label
  • Information on each item is not necessary


External Resources for Preserving Personal/Family Papers

For those interested in best practices for preserving personal papers, which the Archives & Special Collections department doesn't accept, the following materials will provide a foundation for good practices.

Contact Archives & Special Collections

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