The Texas Collection Designated as Baylor's Official ArchiveAug. 15, 2007
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The Texas Collection, the largest special collections library/archival research center in the library system at Baylor University, has been designated as the official university archive, President John M. Lilley announced today.
The Texas Collection has served as the de facto university archives since the 1940s and already preserves many institutional records, such as the papers of former Baylor presidents dating back to pre-1886 Independence, as well as regents and trustees minutes, official university publications, Baylor graduate theses and dissertations, files of administrative offices at several levels, and other materials from faculty and administrators. However, the university does not currently have a comprehensive institutional records management system to aid in the archiving, retention and classification of institutional records and electronic data.
"Without intentional policies for collecting and preserving university records, much of our record and heritage can slip away," said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of libraries at Baylor. "President Lilley is a strong supporter of the libraries. This designation of The Texas Collection as the official university archive is an important first step in the development of strategic planning and policy that will make sure the information of historical significance for the university is preserved."
"Our holdings are vast, deep and rich, but it's been sort of hit-and-miss [archiving institutional records] over the years, and what this will do is invite a systematic approach," said Dr. Thomas L. Charlton, professor of history and director of The Texas Collection. "The idea is to begin stressing the need to save the story of the university, and that story is in your filing cabinet and mine and so many others. I'm delighted that we are taking this step, and I know it's a big show of confidence on the part of President Lilley and the university."
The largest Texana research center at a private institution, The Texas Collection dates its beginnings back to 1923, when Waco physician Dr. Kenneth Hazen Aynesworth presented Baylor University with more than 1,000 items from his personal collection of materials on Texas history. Since then, The Texas Collection has become a premier research center on Texas and Texas-related subjects, which document the development of the region from the early North American explorations to the present. The Collection serves a diverse group of researchers ranging from Baylor students, faculty and staff, to independent scholars, family historians, history fair participants and journalists interested in Texas culture.
Since its modest beginning on shelves in a library alcove, The Texas Collection has grown to three floors of the university's historic Carroll Library, as well as off-site shelving. The Texas Collection holdings account for more than 120,000 volumes, more than 2,200 current serial subscription titles and more than 13,000 audio-visual pieces. In addition, the extensive Archives Division holdings include 62,000 photographs, more than 3,600 oral history tapes/transcripts, approximately 4,000 maps and hundreds of linear feet of manuscripts and other archival materials.
The Texas Collection is the only private library in the Regional Historical Resource Depository program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. In addition, the special collections library is a Texas State Publications Depository, with all published state agency reports and records, including Texas census documents, deposited at The Texas Collection.
Orr said her goal is that The Texas Collection's designation as the official university archive will be "one of several" decisions that eventually will lead to a comprehensive institutional archive program at Baylor, one that goes beyond only paper documents at the university.
"We will need a campus-wide records management plan and a strategy to preserve Baylor records that exist only electronically, such as web pages, electronic documents, and selected e-mail," she said. "In order to preserve Baylor's institutional records and history, I felt that I should ask for an official designation. Of course, this is the very first step. Working with Tom Charlton, archivist Ellen Brown, and many others in our organization, we will start this process."
"The standards are extremely high here, but we are just delighted to be in this place for the university, and I see this as just opening a new door for The Texas Collection," Charlton said. "This may lead to the university archives being a separate entity at Baylor one of these days, but right now, it will fall under The Texas Collection. We welcome having the affiliation."