HomeAboutUser Access Policy

User Access Policy

Archives Reading Room

Patrons can visit the PSC Archives Reading Room Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to research, study or view the collections and exhibits. Archival records, like other Special Collections material, do not circulate.  All visitors will be asked to sign-in to use archival materials. Patrons can sign in at the Archives front desk or complete the online PSC Archives Registration Form. Some materials may include sensitive or confidential information protected under federal and/or state privacy laws and regulations. Researchers who find sensitive personal information, including but not limited to social security numbers and student records, in any collection should notify a staff member.

Use of Archives

  • The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.  Under certain conditions specified by law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction.  One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research."  If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.  This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a duplication order, if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law
  • Commercial use is prohibited without permission. To request permission to publish, broadcast or exhibit, contact the Archivist 
  • Philander Smith College or the original creator of the work holds the copyright to content published on the Digital Archive
  • Researchers must acknowledge the creators and their works by means of bibliographic citation. Researchers who cite materials from the Archives in their publications are asked to send a copy of the publication and/or a complete bibliographic citation for the publication to the department

Access Policy

The historical collections of the PSC Archives are open for research to all members of the College community, to visiting scholars and to the scholarly public. The College encourages the use of these collections through the dissemination of descriptive catalogues and the provision of public services at the Archives.

Access to certain classes of records, however, is restricted. Access to restricted records may be requested by written appeal to the Director of the Library.

The following types of records generally will be closed:

  1. all administrative records of the University from the date of their creation, with certain exceptions, such as those which must be open in conformance with law
  2. records of a sitting administration
  3. records the disclosure of which might expose the University to legal liability

The following types of records will be absolutely closed:

  1. individual education records of living students or living former students, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, unless the student or former student grants access in writing
  2. individual employment records of living current or former faculty members, administrators or other staff members, including records which concern hiring, appointment, promotion, tenure, salary, performance, termination or other circumstances of employment, unless the faculty member, administrator, or staff member grants access in writing
  3. other records where usage might constitute an invasion of privacy
  4. records the use of which has been restricted by Deed of Gift

Requests to photocopy or otherwise reproduce restricted records generally will be denied.

Appeals to gain access to restricted records shall be conducted in the following manner:

  1. a researcher seeking access to restricted records shall complete a “Restricted Records Access Request” form
  2. the Director shall review each request and if deemed necessary, with a committee designated by Administration
  3. if a committee is deemed necessary, it or the Director of the Library, shall base its decisions on the merits of each case, weighing the needs of scholarship against the privacy rights of individuals and the legal interests of the College; the Director or committee must be satisfied that a researcher seeking access to restricted records has demonstrated that the records are required to carry out a legitimate scholarly research project or for other appropriate use; in all cases, the decision of the above parties shall be fair and reasonable, permitting the greatest possible access, given the limitations imposed by legal and ethical considerations
  4. the decisions of the Director and/or committee shall be final

Research Requests

Research inquiries prior to a site visit are encouraged. The Archives will make reasonable efforts to locate and gather the information you need in a timely manner. Submit a PSC Archives Request Form and allow up to five business days for processing. For expedited inquiries, please call 501-370-5263 to speak with the Archives staff. 

Donating Materials

Philander Smith College Archives welcomes donations of collections and individual items. Donations are often invaluable sources for primary research and for helping to strengthen our research collections. The Archives also welcomes and appreciates financial contributions to defray the cost of processing materials.

Subject areas of long-term interest to the PSC Archives include materials relating to Philander Smith College, civil rights and social justice, individual and organizational papers relevant to the college or Little Rock, Arkansas, photographs, letters, diaries, yearbooks, oral histories, genealogies, scrapbooks, rare books, and audio/visual materials. 

If you are interested in donating organizational records or personal papers to Philander Smith College, please contact the Archives by phone at 501.370.5263 or via email at bpierce@philander.edu.