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Nevada State Archives

Collection Policy for the State Archives


This collection policy was designed to serve as a tool to determine what materials should be collected to support the mission of the Nevada State Archives. The policy defines the scope and content of the collection and provides standards to insure consistency in the selection of archival materials for continued preservation. In order to reflect the changing re­search trends, archival resources, and collection strengths and weaknesses, this policy will be reviewed annually.

Statement of Purpose

"Archives" are non-current records of an organization or institution preserved because they possess information of perma­nent value. The State Archives is the central repository of the State of Nevada. Its purpose is to preserve and make available to the public the permanent historical records of Nevada in its custody; to provide a public research room where materials may be studied; to conduct, promote and encourage research in Nevada History; to assist governmental agencies, libraries, institutions and individuals in preserving and making available those records deemed archival and /or historical; and to publish guides, indexes or any other publications that further the knowledge of Nevada history.


The State Archives is a program of the Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records under the statutory authority of the Administrator who designates an Assistant Administrator to oversee the collection of materials that relate to the state's history consisting primarily of the official public records of state government. State departments and agencies create these records in the course of their responsibilities and they are selected for continued preservation in the archives because of their historical nature.


The State Archives places special emphasis on making its collections available to researchers. All materials in the State Archives collections are available to researchers on equal terms of access and the State Archives does not grant privileged or exclusive use of materials to any person or persons. The only restrictions on the use of archival records are those outlined in the Nevada Revised Statutes. In addition, public records and photographic collections in the process of being arranged, described or pre­served are generally not opened to public use. However, the archives staff will make every effort to accommodate a user's need in gaining access to unprocessed materials.

The State Archives' collections are used by a wide variety of researchers. These include historians, genealogists, lawyers, government officials, students and others interested in Nevada's government, its people and events that shaped its history. The goal of the State Archives is to preserve the documentation that will provide the public with the information needed to conduct this research.


In order to make its collections available to researchers, the archives is involved in several outreach programs to publi­cize its collections and assist others in preserving archival materials. Activities include exhibits, information brochures, guides, workshops, and education programs. The archives make every effort to inform researchers of the availability of materi­als and to increase access to its collections. The archives will provide upon request technical assistance to agencies, organiza­tions and individuals on the care and preservation of archival materials.

Collection Policy and Areas

State Records: The purpose of the State Archives is to document the history, organization and function of Nevada State Govern­ment, and its influence and impact on the lives of its people and protection of their civil rights. Nevada Revised Statutes chap­ter 378 defines the collecting authority of the State Archives. There are 18,000 cubic feet of territorial and state government records dating from 1851 to the present. Records from the three branches of government are found in this group of records.

The State Archives collects State Government records in the following areas:

  • Records designated by the State Records Committee to be kept permanently.
  • Records designated by law as having permanent historic or legal value.
  • Records that best reflect the programs, organization, functions, and other activities related to the daily operation of the agency.
  • Records of continuing value that are critical to the operations of an agency because the information contained in them is administrative, legal, or financial in nature.
  • Records that provide the most accurate, understandable and accessible source of information to researchers.
  • Records that have intrinsic value based upon the physical form of the record, its uniqueness, or other factors arising out of its creation or use.

The State Archives does not collect newspaper clippings, public records of other states, public records that are duplicate materials or records that do not meet professional archival appraisal criteria.

The State Archives seeks to develop its state government records collection through continued acquisition of records that meet the standards outlined in this collection policy.

Local Government Records: The State Archives contains a limited quantity of materials from Carson City and its predecessor, Ormsby County. The records include civil court records, and tax as­sessment rolls.

The State Archives does not actively collect local govern­ment records and encourages the preservation of these materials by the agencies that created them. The archives will accept local government records in the following areas.

  • Records that are in immediate danger of being lost or destroyed or if the creating agency does not have the facilities to properly maintain them.
  • Records designated by law or regulation as having permanent historic or legal value.
  • Records that have intrinsic value based on the physical form of the record, its uniqueness, or other factors arising out of its creation or use.
  • Records that document the historical development of the local government itself, the community, and of its people.

Local government records that do not meet the stated stand­ards and accepted archival appraisal criteria, will not be col­lected by the State Archives.

The archives does not actively solicit original local gov­ernment records but will accept microfilm copies of records that meet the above outlined standards. Any attempts by the archives to preserve original materials will be focused upon records dating from the 19th and early 20th century and records that add additional information to the other collecting areas.

Nevada Photograph collection: The Nevada photograph collec­tion contains over 13,000 images of Nevada people and places relating to or created by a state agency. The collection pro­vides visual information that complements the Archives' documen­tation of Nevada History. Photographs created by or for state agencies are state government records.

The State Archives collects photographs, slides, films videos, drawings and postal cards and other images that relate to the history of Nevada government. Subject areas in­clude but are not limited to:

  • Photographs that were created by a state agency as a visual document of government officials, structures, activities or events.
  • Significant collections of images of photographers who photographed Nevada government officials, structures, activities or events, for a state agency or official.
  • The Archives does not collect images and other materials not related to Nevada.  The emphasis on the collection is on docu­menting the most complete, pictorial history of Nevada govern­ment.

Procedures Affecting Collection Policy

Archival Appraisal: The appraisal of state government records is the primary responsibility of the State Archives staff in consultation with the Records Management Analysts. This appraisal becomes part of the section's scheduling and disposition function. While responsibility is given to the State Archives staff section to appraise the state's records, the appraisal process is one involving the input of all professional staff members and is based upon professional ap­praisal criteria.

Records Transfer: All state government records accessioned into the archives must be properly scheduled by the Records Management Section and approved by the State Records Committee. Each agency is responsible for the transfer of these records to the archives. The procedure for the transfer of records is described in the State Administrative Manual (SAM).

No material may be accepted by the State Archives unless accompanied by a completed "Transfer" or "Deed of Gift" form.

Restrictions on Access and Use: Government records transferred to the State Archives shall be open to inspection and examination by the public unless prohibited by law (e.g., NRS 378.290, 378.300, 378.310). All government records acquired by the archives which have been declared confidential by law must remain confidential for thirty years, or if the record pertains to natural person, until his death, whichever is later, unless another period has been fixed in statute.

All materials transferred or donated to the archives may not be removed from the archives. Researchers using materials will be supplied photocopies upon request of any items in the collec­tion in accordance with the policies of the Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records, unless such photocopying is specifically prohibited or would be detrimental to the collection. Use of materials in the archives is subject to the Research Room regulations de­scribed in the State Administrative Manual (SAM).

Deaccessioning/Disposition of Materials: Recommendations for disposition of State government records may be made as a result of archival re‑evaluation. Items that are found not to be gov­ernment records will be transferred to the appropriate historical records repository in the state with the approval of the Administrator of the State Library, Archives and Public Records. Records deaccessioning or destruction should be documented by the archives' staff according to the established guidelines and form.

Loans of Materials to/from the Archives: The archives will not loan original materials from its collections for any purpose except those authorized by the Administrator in accordance with NRS 378.245. In those instances, a loan agreement formed must be kept on file through the duration of the loan.

The archives will accept the loan of original materials only when a transfer of custody is unobtainable or when the materials are in immediate danger of being lost or destroyed.

The loan of original photographs for the purpose of duplica­tion is not subject to the rules outlined in this procedure.

Cooperative Agreements: When materials offered to the archives do not fall under the categories and standards outlined in this policy, prospective donors will be referred to appropriate repos­itory whenever possible.

The Administrator may enter into an agreement with the Secretary of State to retain in the archives any material of which the Secretary of State is required by law to have custody and pre­serve.