The Institute for Regional Studies Archives supports research and learning in almost every discipline, including the arts, humanities, and sciences. It is not concerned exclusively with history nor is it tied to any single NDSU department or program. It supports the university's teaching and research mission at every level, including undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral.
The Institute, throughout its more than fifty-eight year history, has collected a wide variety of historical records. It affirms its role as part of North Dakota's land-grant institution, serving the people of North Dakota, the region and beyond. Its service is in preserving and communicating knowledge about the state and region.
The Institute supports NDSU's mission by acquiring, preserving, and making available records and papers pertaining primarily to the social, cultural and political development of North Dakota. It acquires records and papers in most subject areas pertaining to North Dakota, with a special emphasis given to the agricultural, social, cultural, political, and literary development of the region.
Over the years, the archival holdings reflect certain strengths in the Institute's collecting. By subject, these include the agricultural development of the state, particularly the bonanza farming era; the pioneer period, especially in personal reminiscences and papers; the Nonpartisan League; and women of North Dakota as seen in their varied organizations. Other strengths include the lives and works of North Dakota literary figures; our many ethnic groups such as the Germans from Russia and the Norwegians; and the development of an urban society through City of Fargo records.
By format, photographs constitute one of the Institute's most heavily used resources, and the North Dakota publications collection attempts to be as comprehensive as possible. To guide the Institute for Regional Studies Archives in its collecting program this collection development policy has been developed as one of its key management tools. It provides, in a written format, guidance to the archives staff in making the best possible decision on whether or not material is appropriate for the Institute's collections. It also provides possible donors with basic information regarding the collecting scope of the Institute. This document, along with the 2002 Preservation Plan of the Institute for Regional Studies Archives & University Archives, should be consulted for specific preservation needs and actions outlined for the archival collections. This document will never be finished; rather it will continue to evolve, reflecting changes in collecting scope and the research interests of the academic community and public. This document, critical for the Institute in fulfilling its mission, will:
- Define and chart a course of action regarding collection development
- Provide a framework for carrying it out
- Validate the role and importance of comprehensive planning for the archives
- Aid in securing appropriate research collections
- Record past and current collection activities and plan for future efforts