As the memory of WKU, WKU Archives maintains records of past employees. Often, this information can be found as part of the records of various departments or committees, in university publications, and other places where the imprint of their presence can be found on the historical record. In particular, past employees generally have a personnel file. Personnel files have been designated as record group UA1D and become available to researchers after the employee has been separated from the university for 30 years or upon his or her death.
During 2015, record group UA1D has undergone significant expansion. Catalog entries for UA1D have also been revised so researchers can find information more easily.
Biographical Vertical Files Integrated
Before computer cataloging, newspaper clippings and other items regarding employees of the university were maintained in “vertical files.” Over time, these files grew to over six cubic feet. These were stored in the closed stacks and not catalogued in KenCat because they were not considered part of the collections, but rather as a reference tool. These materials have now been integrated into UA1D files so researchers can find them using KenCat. In some cases, this means a file exists for an employee who is still alive and is still employed by the university. The personnel file materials will be added to these files and become available to researchers in the future once they meet the criteria, above.
Personnel Files Processed
Over thirty cubic feet of personnel files were processed. Processing includes, but is not limited to, removing confidential health information, redacting social security numbers, and removing performance reviews- all of which are protected by federal law and state statute.
Materials Stored for Long-Term Preservation
Approximately three cubic feet of vertical file and personnel file materials were added to EXISTING folders. Thirty-eight NEW containers of material were added, with approximately 60 folders each. This brings the total number of containers from 57 to 95 and the total number of folders for former employees over 6,300.
Catalogued for Retrieval
UA1D records in KenCat include a list of all containers, and a list of the folders (employee’s names) for each of those containers. Now, those lists also include each employee’s employment dates and the name(s) of the employee’s department(s), if available. A keyword search at KenCat.WKU.edu for “lastname, firstname” will generally yield results including the Personnel file record. Nicknames are also included, where available, so “lastname, nickname” is also a useful search.
The main record for Personnel Files is available in KenCat. For assistance, please feel welcome to contact WKU Archives or visit the Library Special Collections reference room in the Kentucky Building.
Blog post written by Archives Assistant April McCauley.