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Information for Potential Donors

What is collected for the Melanesian Archive?

The Melanesian Archive is a collection of unpublished documentation pertaining to the peoples, cultures, languages, and history of Melanesia. Materials added to the collection thus far include anthropologists’ fieldnotes and journals, other unpublished writings, dissertations, photographs, films/videos, audio recordings, and maps. The materials are housed and administered through the Library's Special Collections & Archives.  Artifacts are not typically accepted since we do not have a museum associated with the University. 

Published writings about Melanesia are also collected by the UC San Diego Library. Books, dissertations, and serial publications are generally housed in the Library; rare books are held in Special Collections & Archives.

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What are the advantages of donating materials to the Melanesian Archive?

In accepting a collection, the University of California is making a commitment to preserve the collection for posterity, and to make it accessible to researchers. The Melanesian Archive offers secure storage in a climate controlled environment, preservation of fragile materials, organization of the collection, cataloging, and creation of finding aids. Additionally, if permission is given by the donor, copies of the materials may be shared with research institutions in Melanesia.

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What happens to the copyright of donated materials?

Virtually all unpublished manuscripts, recordings, and photographs are protected under international copyright law. Special copyright provisions also apply to sound recordings, pictorial, musical, graphic, motion picture, or other audio-visual works, which severely restrict duplicating without the expressed permission of the holder of copyright.

Upon acceptance of a collection, a deed of gift will be negotiated. In this document, a decision regarding copyright is specified. The donor may transfer copyright to the University of California or retain copyright for him/herself (or his/her heirs).

Users of materials in the Melanesian Archive are responsible for communicating with the holder of copyright concerning permissions to quote extensively or otherwise publish copyrighted material from our collections. If copyright is transferred to the University, the Library will handle these requests. If copyright is retained by the donor (or his/her heirs), users will need to contact the donor for publication permission.

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What about restricting access to sensitive information?

Unless otherwise requested, access to materials in the Melanesian Archive is open to all. Reasonable restrictions may be applied by the donor to any portion of the materials; restrictions are negotiated and agreed upon at the signing of a deed of gift. For example, one might choose to restrict access to personal field diaries for a specified number of years. In the interests of providing maximum access to the materials, restrictions should be as minimal as possible.

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Will Melanesian Archive appraise a collection for tax purposes?

No, federal tax regulations prohibit UC San Diego staff from giving appraisals or estimates of value for donors. Valuation is the responsibility of the donor. Donated materials valued at more than $5,000 require appraisal information and appropriate IRS forms. Because tax laws change from time to time, donors are encouraged to consult a knowledgeable tax expert about current requirements.

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Is any support available for packing and shipping costs?

The Melanesian Archive is able to provide reimbursement for the costs of getting materials to San Diego. It is necessary to supply receipts or other documentation of costs.

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Need more information?

Cristela Garcia-Spitz
Curator, Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology
UC San Diego Library
9500 Gilman Drive, 0175D
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
Phone (858)822-7906
Fax (858)534-0189