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Storing, Destroying & Transferring Records

This web page provides instructions on how to: provide long-term storage for non-archival records; destroy records efficiently; and transfer records to the University Archives.

Long-term Retention of Records

Most offices and departments have records that do not meet the criteria for transfer to the University Archives, but must keep for a certain period of time, even after they are no longer used on a regular or active basis. These records usually need to be kept permanently or for a long period of time because of legal, fiscal, or business obligations. Many of these records should not be transferred to the University Archives, but are sensitive in nature and require a controlled, secure storage area. Examples include student and personnel records.

Records that must be retained but are not actively used should be housed in a secure storage area on campus or stored with a commercial records storage vendor.

On-Campus Storage

Departments that store their inactive records on campus should inventory the records, find a secure storage area for them, and monitor the storage area's conditions. See the Salvaging Damaged Records web page for advice on how to minimize the risk of water damage to stored records. Please contact the University Archives at 6-4686 for advice or questions about storing records on campus.

Off-Campus Commercial Storage

Records storage vendors store records in environmentally safe and secure facilities. They also provide retrieval, research, and delivery services. The Archives may be able to recommend a records storage vendor for your department. Please call 6-4686.

Destroying Records

Departments need to take care when destroying confidential records. Records that contain personal information such as staff and faculty personnel records and student records, along with financial records and search committee files, require confidential destruction. Simply throwing these type of records away in the trash or recycling bin is not adequate for confidential destruction.

Paper shredders can destroy confidential records adequately. However, these records should be "cross shredded" (cutting paper into 1/4 inch squares), instead of "strip shredded" (cutting paper into narrow strips), which can be pasted back together. In addition, shredding a large volume of records can be time consuming.

Alternatively, you may want to consider using the services of a records destruction vendor that will guarantee the confidential destruction of your department's records. In general, this is a less expensive and more efficient alternative to shredding a large volume of records. The University Archives may be able to recommend a vendor that will meet your records destruction needs.

Transferring Records to the University Archives

Inactive records that document the important activities and functions of your department should be transferred to the University Archives. For further information about the types of records that should be transferred to the Archives, please see our guide on Assessing Records.

If you have determined that your records should be transferred to the University Archives, please take the following steps:

1. Call the University Archives at 6-4686 at least two weeks in advance to discuss the transfer of the materials.
2. Place all records in manila folders. Make sure each folder is labeled. Do not send records in hanging files. Hanging files add weight and take up space.
3. Place the folders in records storage boxes in the same order in which that were maintained in your filing system. Do not overstuff the boxes.
4. Label the front of the box with your office name and the number of the box (e.g., American Studies, Box 1 of 2).
5. Complete the online Transmittal Form, which documents the transfer of the materials and their custody from the originating office to the University Archives.

The records you send to the Archives will be logged into our Acquisition Database and added to our processing schedule. You may still have access to your records after they are transferred to the Archives.