Acquisitions and Donations Policy of Rhode Island College Special Collections

The Special Collections Librarian is responsible for the development of collections in RIC Special Collections, and, in consultation with the Library Director, will accept or reject materials as appropriate.

Collecting areas:

Rhode Island College Special Collections seeks to collect in subject areas receiving substantial and sustained attention within the College community, those representing ongoing departmental research interests, areas that are the focus of interdisciplinary programs, as well as the papers of members of the RIC community. In addition to supporting the educational and research missions of the College, the Special Collections also collects papers and records of persons, families, organizations, associations, and businesses in Rhode Island, with an emphasis given to the areas of education, cultural heritage, social history, and those with a connection to Rhode Island College.

College Archives

Rhode Island College Special Collections will work with departments, campus organizations, administration, staff, and faculty to transfer records for permanent retention in Special Collections. A transfer agreement will be signed prior to the arrival of any College records. Special Collections also collects a selection of personal papers of RIC faculty. See the Faculty Papers Collecting Policy below for further information.

Special Collections

In addition to the College Archives, RIC Special Collections collects papers, photographs, moving images, audio, and other types of documentation from individuals, organizations, and businesses in Rhode Island, with emphasis on those with a relationship to Rhode Island College, cultural heritage of Rhode Island, and the RI Cape Verdean Community. We also accept select manuscript collections, personal papers, organizational records, and books that support the teaching and learning objectives of the college as long as they have a Rhode Island focus.

Acceptance of materials for Special Collections and College Archives is subject to the following criteria:

  • The materials must support the mission of Special Collections and complement existing collections
  • The materials should be free from access restrictions or legal encumbrances that will diminish its research potential
  • The materials must be in such a condition that the cost of preservation and conservation will not be excessive in relation to the materials’ intrinsic or historical value
  • Special Collections must be able to house and care for the materials according to professional standards

Material we do not collect:

  • Routine correspondence, especially non-personally addressed mail and routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment; drafts of significant publications, although we may evaluate these on a case-by-case basis
  • Detailed financial records, canceled checks, and receipts
  • Student records such as papers, assignments, grades, and recommendations. Many of these are confidential under the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA)
  • Medical records, which are confidential under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, a case could be made for these materials and a determination will be made by the Special Collections Librarian
  • Books and other publications, such as textbooks, journals and magazines, including reprints, off-prints, and preprints unless heavily annotated or rare
  • Honors, prizes, awards, diplomas, certificates, honorary degrees, etc. (although photographs of these items will be accepted)
  • Equipment, software, furnishings, most 3d objects, etc.


Donations are accepted as gifts to the RIC Special Collections. Donors are encouraged to consider including funds for the storage, processing, digitization, and other expenses associated with preservation and access.

Specific factors to be considered when deciding whether or not to acquire an item or collection include its age, quality, physical condition, size, local availability, completeness, research potential, and possible current and future use. Exhibit and outreach possibilities may also be considered. Of primary interest to Special Collections is the acquisition of materials that will add value to the existing collections. It will work cooperatively with other community groups or institutions to enhance strengths and avoid duplication.

Although material for the Special Collections may be solicited, purchased, or exchanged, donation is the preferred method of acquisition. Library funds are used to purchase Rhode Island-related materials and faculty authored monographic works in all media normally collected by the Library. The Baltasar Lopes da Silva Fund (Cape Verdean) and the Hoffmann Rare Book Fund (Rhode Island) supplement purchases in their respective areas.

Deeds of Gift and Acknowledgement

All donations and accessions will receive an acknowledgement in written or email format. New collections donated to the RIC Special Collections require a Deed of Gift or a Transfer Agreement (in the case of College Records), signed by the Special Collections Librarian or the Library Director. The elements of the Deed of Gift and Transfer Agreement include the identification of and contact information for the donor(s), a preliminary inventory of the materials to be donated, definition of the terms of the transfer of ownership, including intellectual and physical property rights, and description of any access restrictions.

Collections on Deposit

The Rhode Island College Archives and Special Collections does not actively accept collections on deposit. Collections on deposit are defined as those donated to a collecting repository without the transfer of ownership. Deposits restrict the work RIC Special Collections can accomplish with a collection, hindering proper preservation and access measures.

Refusal of Donations

RIC Special Collections reserves the right to refuse any potential gift for a variety of reasons including but not limited to:

  • Spaces and resources are not available to accommodate an extensive collection
  • Collection material is not unique. Copies already exist in the Special Collections or are available elsewhere
  • Damage by mold, insects, pests or other factors beyond our capacity to mitigate
  • The creator has also donated materials to another special collections or archives
  • Overly restrictive conditions of use have been requested by the donor

Collection Appraisal and Tax Deductions

The determination of a gift’s monetary value and the related possibility of a tax deduction is the sole responsibility of the donor. RIC Special Collections staff cannot give tax advice, nor are they permitted to appraise the monetary value of a collection that is under consideration as a potential donation.

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