Collection Policies and Services for the Archives

Mission of the Archives

The primary purposes of the Teachers College archives are:
1) to build and preserve College records and information of current research and permanent historical value;

2) to provide enhanced access to unique institutional resources through electronic repository;

3) to engage the TC community in the discussion and production of scholarly work;

4) to serve as an educational resource encouraging administrative and scholarly research in its collections.

1) PocketKnowledge   

PocketKnowledge is the electronic repository for the records of Teachers College and for publications or works in all formats by institutional members, including faculty, students, and staff.  It is a community-driven system allowing TC authors and library staff flexibility in building resources and determining access to documents. Searchable by main entry (author, title, keyword), PocketKnowledge is also a public forum for communicating about posted documents, allowing users to comment on the materials stored within.  

  • Members of the Teachers College/Columbia University community can access PocketKnowledge by creating an account.
  • Individuals who are not members of the University should contact us for further information.

Examples of materials appropriate for inclusion include:

  • faculty work (such as unpublished papers, lectures, curriculum, syllabi)
  • student work (such as dissertations, theses, other publications)
  • administrative documents and important communiqué showing changes and developments in administrative, academic, and institutional programs
  • multimedia resources reflecting key academic and research initiatives and activities of the institution and its members
  • Photographs and memorabilia of Teachers College members
  • links to websites of interest to the community, MP3s, videos, and commentary on user materials. 

  Refer to PK Frequently Asked Questions.

2) Onsite servicing and promoting of the collections to assist administrative and scholarly interests and research, including

  • Queries via e-mail, telephone, or in person at the Services Desk
  • In person consultation and instructional offerings, including hands-on demonstrations of Pocket Knowledge
  • Online application by non TC members for access to the historical collections, especially when research needs are extensive or travel is involved
  • Priority use of the closed collections reading room for onsite collections
  • Website presence for archival collections newly launched

3) Cataloging and maintaining the archives to ensure bibliographic access and physical organization according to professional standards, including

  • Multiple points of access or links between Educat, PocketKnowledge, and library web
  • Adaptation of pre-existing existing schemes to improve organization and access

4) Ongoing development and analysis of PocketKnowledge, including

  • Selection of germane historical documents already held in the archives according to: research demand, usefulness, and significance
  • Digitization, in house or contracted, depending on the specific needs of the collection (physical condition, format) and available resources (budget and staffing).
  • Usability studies and data analysis  

In carrying out these services the Teachers College Library:

A) Is the official private depository of Teachers College records

B) Is the host for relevant materials not copyrighted by, but connected to
    Teachers College members

C) Develops, maintains, and distributes information to individuals and offices
    to strengthen their participation in PocketKnowledge

D) Consults with appropriate campus offices and academic departments  

E) Participates in networking arrangements to share resources with other
   research institutions

Conditions of Acceptance

Submissions to the archives must be in electronic form, with certain exceptions (art work, extremely rare documents).

Teachers College members determine which documents are to be uploaded into Pocket Knowledge, as well as who may have access to them.

Conditions Governing Retention

Documents posted in PocketKnowledge remain in the archive until the author or uploader deletes them.

In the physical archives, unwanted material may be separated from the collection and either transferred to another institution, sold, returned to the donor, or destroyed.

The Library routinely may dispose of segments or items that are extraneous or otherwise unsuitable for retention.  Examples of such items include:

a) Random general newspaper or magazine clippings not deliberately assembled
b) Purely personal letters or notes that do not contribute to the research value of the
Collection (e.g. grocery lists, love letters, scraps)
c) Draft or interim reports
d) Duplicates (advisable to keep one best copy) and redundant or repetitive
e) Duplicative information already held in the collection or held in another format
f) Documents having little or no informational or intrinsic value (e.g. conference
g) Agendas and list of participants unless they relate directly to the organization;
empty folders and envelopes; supply orders; acknowledgements of books received
h) Photocopies, especially of articles, not relevant to the collection
i) Re-printed articles written by persons not connected to the donor, society, or
j) Journals, serials, bibliographies, or non-print materials not connected to the society or organization
k) General books from the donor’s collection unless written or published by him or the corresponding organization
l) Incomplete reports, documents, or other materials
m) Curriculum materials, including kits and games, published from 1950-1990
n) Paraphernalia not supportive of professional or research interests (coffee filters, coins, badges, street maps, etc.)
o) Odd photographs not relevant to the collection (e.g. of animals or birds)
p) Moldy items and those in extremely bad / irreparable condition beyond real usefulness
q) No perceived effect on public access to information

Policy for De-accessioning Materials from the Physical Archives

Evaluation of Materials

Before de-accessioning materials with substantial research or financial value, the following questions will be considered by staff and the Library Director, with an appraisal report

a) Does the material fall within the scope of current collecting policies

b) Is the material duplicate or does it duplicate information already held in the collections in another format

c) Has the material deteriorated beyond real usefulness

d) Do any externally imposed restrictions such as donor agreements apply to the material

e) How would de-accessioning the materials affect public access to information

f) What are the costs of management services, particularly technical processing

g) What are the spatial considerations

Disposition of Materials

The Library may sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of duplicate materials or materials outside its fields of collection.  Material to be de-accessioned may be transferred to other institutions, offered for public sale, or destroyed.  Any such disposition of materials with substantial research or financial value will be governed by the following considerations:

a) Materials must be free of legal impediments

b) Reasonable attempts will be made to determine if other institutions have an interest in them

c) No private sales or gifts will be made to Library staff or members of their immediate families

d) All proceeds from sale will be placed back in the Library’s funds

e) The Library’s senior management team will decide on the method of disposition

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