You are here
Access Policy For University Archives Collections
The Princeton University Archives document the history, growth, and development of the University. The University Archives contains the official administrative records of the University as well as related collections acquired from students, alumni, and other donors. The University Archives records are available in accordance with access policies of Special Collections, the Princeton University Library, professional standards, and federal law.
Many University Archives records are open for research use. Some materials fall into a restricted category (delineated below). Researchers may come across sensitive information in collections and through registering for their Special Collections Research Account (Aeon), agree to alert staff about the existence of these materials. Sensitive documents include, but are not limited to confidential, FERPA, HIPAA, or potentially classified government materials.
The following collections have specific restrictions that require researchers to sign an agreement form prior to accessing materials in order to ensure that the researcher will alert staff about the existence of possible confidential information:
- Princeton University Admission Office records, Series 5 (AC152, Series 5): requires researchers to sign an access agreement form prior to accessing materials in order to ensure that the researcher will alert staff about the existence of possible confidential information.
The University Archives collections are open to the public unless one of the following restrictions applies:
Institutional Records may be closed for a period of up to 30 years from the date of their creation as designated by the office of origin in consultation with the University Archivist. During the restriction period, the office of origin may view these materials, and other University offices may request permission in writing from the director of the office of origin if they require access for business purposes. Institutional records that were published by the records' creator (e.g. speeches; publications; policies) are open for research immediately upon transfer to the University Archives.
Student Academic Files are restricted during the lifetime of the student subject to the provisions of the Federal Family Education and Privacy Rights Acts (FERPA) of 1974. Student academic files include our collection of Undergraduate Academic files (AC198) and Graduate Alumni Files (AC105), but may be present in other collections.
Records that contain FERPA-protected information such as a student’s credentials, grade sheets, correspondence, reports, notes, applications, and disciplinary files, when found in other University Archives collections are restricted for 75 years from the date of their creation. Directory information as defined by FERPA may be released to the public unless the student or their family has requested that the school not disclose directory information about them.
Faculty and Professional Staff Files are the official records transferred from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty (AC107). These are closed until 100 years after the person's year of birth or 5 years after the person's year of death, whichever is longer. Faculty records outside this series that contain similar information (e.g. personnel matters, performance evaluation, medical issues, requests for anonymity, and departmental changes based on personnel matters) are also governed by this policy.
Records created by student organizations may be restricted at the discretion of the organization in consultation with the University Archivist for an approved limited period to protect personal information or privacy. The restriction will be recorded in the finding aid.
Records donated by individuals or organizations outside of the University (including alumni) may be restricted at the discretion of the donor for an approved limited period to protect personal information or privacy. The restriction will be made in consultation with the University Archivist and will be recorded in the finding aid.