University Archives

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A university archive (abbreviation UA) is an archive that takes over the official documents of its registrar university within the scope of its legally prescribed responsibility (state archive laws) and stores them for a long time. The term documents includes written , image and audio documents that can be in both analog and digital form and are usually created in the course of business.

Task profile

The university archive evaluates the official documents that have been handed over according to their permanent value by choosing between archival worth, long-term storage and cashable , i.e. H. not worth archiving, a distinction is made. The archive material filtered out in this way is indexed, secured and made publicly accessible via finding aids. Special embargo periods due to data protection and archiving regulations must be observed.

The tasks of the university archive include the systematic, scientific-content and multi-level indexing of its files in order to make them available for historical research but also for legal evidence (activity, studies, evidence of degrees). The provenance principle customary in Germany is applied.

In addition to the classic archival material, a university archive usually also keeps collections in the form of professors' estates , printed matter (including course catalogs), drawings and plans, photographs and newspaper clippings. In order to preserve the long-term rights of the registrar as well as the members of the university, large databases are being set up today, which guarantee permanent but also rapid access to the information.

In addition, archivists from colleges and universities can look after the cultural assets of university institutions in the form of historical, art history, technology or natural science collections.

The holdings of a university archive include both the tradition of the university administration in the narrower sense as well as those of the academic self-administration such as the senate, departments and faculties . For the area of ​​research and teaching, the traditions of the faculties, scientific institutes and chairs are relevant and must be made available as official documents. Other records include administrative documents such as register lists, student files or evidence of academic degrees and achievements or the documents of the student representatives ( student councils ). For personal research, the personnel files mostly kept in the university archives are important, especially those of professors and academic staff, but also the student and doctoral files.

The holdings of a university archive are therefore an essential basis for researching the history of universities, scholars or science, as they mainly consist of primary sources (unique items) and authentically reflect developments.

A university archive is usually a state archive and thus a public archive that can be used if there is a legitimate interest. An application for use must therefore be completed before use. The archive material is usually used on site in the university archive itself or in the corresponding user rooms that are provided in the library.


In order to be able to carry out the extensive and very complex activities in a university archive in the age of the knowledge and information society in a professional manner, staff with specialist training and years of experience is required; see degree in archivist in Germany.

Since the proportion of research inquiries in university archives is usually very high, archivists are often confronted with very different and very specific scientific questions. Since the university archives as well as the archives of scientific institutions are mostly scarce, the employee's job profile usually covers the entire spectrum of an archivist's range of activities.

Universities are usually state institutions. The remuneration is therefore based on the remuneration order of the collective agreement of the federal states .

See also

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