Mission, History, & Policies

ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION LIBRARY ARCHIVES (ASCLA): MISSION, HISTORY, AND POLICIES

Hours: By appointment, 10:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday
Contact:
Jordan Mitchell, Archivist
Annenberg Library
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215.573.2839
jordan.mitchell@asc.upenn.edu

MISSION:

The Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives collects, describes, preserves, exhibits, and makes available to the University community, and scholarly publics more generally, materials pertinent to the interdisciplinary field of communication and its history.

HISTORY:

The Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives began in 1980 with a gift from TV Guide of 6,000 television scripts of series, made-for-TV-movies, specials, pilots, and mini-series. This initial deposit, starting with the 1976 television season, grew annually—scripts that had built up in the TV Guide offices over the course of the year were packed and sent to the School late in the Spring. This arrangement continued until 1992 and by then the total number of scripts topped 27,000. Adding to the Archive’s television fiction trove was the acquisition of writer and producer Agnes Nixon’s extensive collection of soap opera scripts (1956-1984), all authored by her. On top of her gift, ABC continued to send All My Children Scripts to the School through the early 2000s. The Archives diverged into journalistic territory with the acquisition of a video collection of local CBS news affiliate KYW’s I-team investigative reports, papers from the famous court case involving journalist Janet Malcolm and the New Yorker (Masson v. Malcom), and papers from the journalist, TV Guide Bureau Chief, and Columbia Journalism Review editor Neil Hickey. In 2006, the donation of longtime Annenberg dean George Gerbner’s papers prompted the Library to begin expanding its archival footprint to encompass not just the stuff of the “trades,” but also communication scholarship. This expansion persisted with the 2013 transfer to the Library of former Annenberg Professor Elihu Katz’s papers. The School responded to these developments most notably with the hiring of a full-time archivist, Jordan Mitchell,  to oversee and develop the various collections. Subsequent acquisitions of Drs. Kurt and Gladys Lang’s papers in 2014 and the International Communication Association papers in 2016 established the burgeoning Archives as a truly important locus for historical communication research. Since the Katz gift, the ASCLA has benefitted from the consultation of  Jefferson Pooley, Associate Professor and Chair of Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College and former Annenberg Scholars Program Visiting Scholar in Residence. In 2016 Dr. Pooley commenced a new resource initiative, the Communications Scholars Oral History Project, interviewing key figures in the field, beginning with Charles Wright and Klaus Krippendorff with other scholars in the queue. Dr. Pooley also contributed the History of Communication Bibliography and Archive Directory, a labor of love he developed at Muhlenberg College, and which now has a home on the ASCLA site.

III. COLLECTION SCOPE:

In keeping with its mission and core holdings, the Annenberg Library Archives is specifically focused on collecting, regardless of format:

  • Materials documenting communication as a social process and cultural product.
  • Materials of prominent persons, organizations, and institutions in the scholarly or professionally fields of communication.

DONATIONS:

ASCLA welcomes donations befitting its collection scope. Due to limited resources however, even materials falling within the scope may be refused if it is determined that they could not be processed, preserved, and made accessible according to the highest professional standards. As a rule, the Archives does not accept collections on loan, and only in the most unusual of circumstance will facsimiles be accepted in lieu of original materials. If a collection includes born-digital records, we ask that the donor not offer versions of those same records to other repositories. All final acquisition and accession decisions are made by the Archivist and Librarian. Please feel free to contact us at jordan.mitchell@asc.upenn.edu or 215-573-2839 if you would like to discuss a potential donation.

In conjunction with the donation of materials, both the donor and the Archives complete a Deed of Gift. This document treats any considerations and/or restrictions, and legally transfers to the School the physical and intellectual ownership of any agreed upon property to which the donor has valid claim. To learn more about the particulars of deeds of gift, consult the Society of American Archivists’ brochure available at:

http://www2.archivists.org/publications/brochures/deeds-of-gift

The Archives’ exists to advance research, and therefore prefers donations without restriction; in special cases however, donor restrictions are allowable.

During the course of processing a collection, certain materials might be separated due to duplication, degradation, irrelevance, or privacy concerns. If stipulated in the Deed of Gift, these separations may be returned to the donor—otherwise they will be restricted, offered to an alternative repository, or deaccessioned at the Archives’ discretion.

ACCESS

IN-PERSON:

The Annenberg Library Archives’ collections are open for research to the University community, and scholarly publics more generally, during normal operating hours.

Since portions of our collections are stored offsite, we ask that patrons contact the archivist at jordn.mitchell@asc.upenn.edu or 215-573-2839 two weeks in advance of a desired visit to discuss their research interests and schedule an appointment to use the archives.

Be advised that some materials may be subject to donor restrictions—others (e.g., student and employment records) are closed, without the possibility of appeal, in keeping with the guidelines set forth in the access policy of the University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center.

Upon arriving at the Library, individuals must present a valid photo ID, which will be held by the archivist during your visit.

All personal belongings must be stored behind the circulation desk.

Laptops, iPads, small cameras (see the Duplication Policy), cell phones, pencils, secondary material (which will require a stamp), and reference books are the only items that may be brought to the research station. Pencils and paper for notes will be available. Everything brought to the research station will be inspected as a patron arrives and again when he or she departs. Under no circumstances is food or drink allowed at the research station.

Materials previously requested will be available behind the circulation desk—the archivist will provide instruction in their proper handling.

DIGITAL:

Efforts to digitize and deliver portions of our collections online are presently underway. Please check back for updates concerning remote access.

REPRODUCTION:

At this time, the Archives is not able provide duplication services, however, researchers may take digital photographs of materials for reference purposes only, subject to the stipulations detailed the Duplication Policy.

VII. PUBLICATION:

Researchers wishing to quote from, or include images of the Archives’ materials in publications, performances, or broadcasts must contact the Archives at jmitchell@asc.upenn.edu or 215-573-2839.

  • Patrons must sign a copyright notice indemnifying the University, School, and Library for any repercussions arising from copyright infringement.
  • Collections and the Archives must be properly cited.
  • A copy of any publication that makes use of the Archives’ materials should be donated to the Archives.