1. What are Archives and Special Collections? How are they different from a library?
For a broad overview of Archives and Special Collections, please see the tab titled "Welcome" - there are helpful links there as well!
For a quick introduction or refresher, let's look at Bentley as a specific example.
Archives: Collects unique or rare materials directly related to the history of Bentley. All materials are considered valuable because they either contain information about Bentley, or they provide evidence of how the University operates and what takes place here. Examples include student photographs and papers, letters from Bentley Presidents, school publications, records of academic departments, and more.
Special Collections: Unique or rare material that does not directly relate to the history of Bentley. Special Collections are often established to support research interests of community members. For example, while Bentley does not have any formalized Special Collections, we do have rare books on the history of accounting and business education because they can be of use to students, faculty, and staff.
You cannot check material out of an archive as you can at a library. This is because libraries generally collect published material - it would be relatively easy to procure another copy of a library book or journal. Archives and Special Collections keep unpublished, unique and rare materials that are difficult or impossible to replace. Therefore, you must use such materials on-site. Archives and Special Collections are also organized differently, you can find out more about this on the "How To Read a Finding Aid" tab.
2. How do I find out more about the contents of the Bentley Archives?
Take a look at our "What's at the Bentley Archives" tab in this Libguide. There you can learn more about what resources we have at Bentley, including the types of content we collect and items of interest. If you don't find the information you're looking for on that page, please feel free to call or email! Remember that some archival material may be "unprocessed" - so even if you don't see something in our guides, we might still have it!
3. Can you tell me if you have information on a topic I 'm interested in, or if you have a specific resource I'm looking for?
Of course! We are always happy to help with any questions you might have. You may have already read through our finding aids and picked out some boxes to view on-site. If so, great! However, you should always feel free to email or call if you have a general idea or inquiry and would like to see if the Bentley Archives has any historic resources that might come in handy.
4. How can I use material from the Bentley Archives? Do I need an appointment?
You will need an appointment to view material from the Archives - this is because it is a non-circulating collection. Appointments take place at the Bentley Library, and the material you request may need to be ordered from off-site storage. Please see the tab titled "Visit & Use Material" for more information on requesting material and arranging your appointment.
5. Are there any limits on my access to material in the Archives?
In general, all archives strive to be as open with our records as possible - and Bentley is no exception! There are a few cases, however, where access to material may be limited. First, many of our items are quite old and may be in fragile condition. We will always try to provide access to a fragile item, but there may be cases where we have to provide a digital surrogate (a photograph or scan) because the item cannot be handled.
Privacy concerns, and the protection of personally identifying information are also important to the Archives. We abide by all FERPA restrictions with regard to material concerning students. We also generally restrict the records of an office/department for 35 years from the date of creation to protect information that may still be current. Some material within these collections may be publicly available if it is not considered sensitive.
A staff member will always be willing to discuss these restrictions with you to ensure that we can keep material safe and secure while still providing you with all of the information you need.
6. I have material that is of interest to the Bentley Archives and I would like to donate it. What do I do?
Thank you for your interest in contributing to the Bentley Archives! Please use the contact information in the right column to be in touch so we can talk to you about your potential donation. If your material is a good fit for our collection, a staff member can provide you with specific instructions about donation, including a Donor Form that discusses future use of the material, copyright status, and more.
Please keep in mind that we are a small department, and therefore are only currently accepting donations directly related to Bentley history. This includes any and all student records as well as photographs, memorabilia, books, newspapers, etc. Please contact the Archivist about your specific donation. General business history material may be accepted on a case-by-case basis only if it cannot be found in another local archive.