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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What sorts of materials are of interest?
A: Archivists like to preserve records that document all aspects of a person’s life, from his or her student days through the professional career. In the same way, aspects of a corporation’s “life” are equally valuable. All of the following would be of great interest to the Silicon Valley Archives: unpublished professional correspondence, research notes, diaries, journals, project files, technical reports, organization charts and other corporate records, patent applications, blueprints, company brochures, product documentation, photographs, and transcripts or recordings of speeches and interviews..

Q: Should I organize my collection before I speak to an archivist about it?
A: No. In general, the best approach is to have the library representative see the collection and collaborate with you on an organization scheme.


Q: Are researchers required to have a Stanford University affiliation to use the collection?
A: No. The Silicon Valley archives are open to qualified researchers regardless of affiliation.


Q: What are the financial implications of a donation?
A: Occasionally, there may be a tax deduction available for your donation, but you should consult with a knowledgeable tax consultant before assuming this is the case. The value of gifts of personal papers donated by their creators currently is not tax deductible, although the value of such gifts by their heirs or estates may be allowed. An appraisal, conducted by a disinterested and qualified third party may be required for many tax situations. Stanford can provide references to professional appraisers.

You may wish to consider making a financial donation to accompany your collection or materials. Processing and long-term care can be costly. Gifts from donors can help to offset these expenses.


Q: Can I restrict access to the collection?
A: Archives staff recognizes that collections occasionally include sensitive materials that should be sealed for a period of time or otherwise restricted. The Silicon Valley Archives can accommodate such requests.


Q: What if I’m not sure my collection is appropriate for Stanford’s Silicon Valley Archives?
A: We work collaboratively with other archival programs and can work with you to find a more appropriate repository if necessary.


Q: Can I get to my materials again after I donate them?
A: You can access your materials during the reading room’s hours of public use, subject to the same rules that apply to other researchers.


Q: Can I visit the Silicon Valley Archives?
A: The reading room is open most weekdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more specific hours, particularly during weeks Stanford is on break, visit here. If you would like a tour, you may contact Leslie Berlin, Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives, at 650-736-2010 or lberlin (at) stanford.edu.


Q: How do I get more information?
A: Contact Leslie Berlin, Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives, at 650-736-2010 or lberlin (at) stanford.edu.

The Wagon Wheel
The Wagon Wheel bar was a popular watering hole for high-tech workers in the 1960s and 1970s. Carolyn Caddes Collection.

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