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Transferring Records

Why Transfer Records

The College Archives serves as the institutional memory of the College by preserving a variety of records and materials. When allowed to accumulate in closets, basements, and corners, records are inaccessible and can easily be lost or destroyed. But, if records of permanent historical, administrative, fiscal and/or legal value are transferred in an orderly way, the College Archives can provide safe storage, quick retrieval of files when needed, and assistance with information or research requests. Other advantages to offices and departments transferring records include reduced need for storage space, less time spent on servicing non-current files, and lower supply and equipment costs.

What Records to Transfer

Broadly stated, the Archives accepts records documenting College activities, functions, decisions, and/or policies and programs (both adopted and rejected), provided the records are not in active use by the office creating them. Desirable records include, but are not limited to:

  • Constitutions and by-laws, minutes and proceedings, and reports of College Boards, committees or task forces;
  • Correspondence, subject, and speech files of key administrators;
  • Academic program materials including internal evaluations, curriculum changes, and proposals for new programs;
  • Policy development files relating to the creation and revision of policies and procedures, handbooks, regulations, etc.;
  • Audio visual materials including official or promotional photographs, films, sound and video recordings;
  • Printed matter including student publications and publicity material;
  • Records of official events including conferences and seminars, visits by dignitaries, and building dedications;
  • Reports of external bodies about College operations, including accreditation material;
  • Records of student organizations;
  • Summary financial records;
  • Artifacts and memorabilia: ONLY in the case of great importance to the history of the College and manageable in physical size and condition.

Please note that the above list is intended as a general guide. If there are questions about records not listed here, please contact the College Archivist.

What Not to Transfer

  • Active records: while records are still needed for regular consultation, it is more convenient for the staff of both the originating office and the Archives if they remain in the possession of the former;
  • Student records: check with the Registrar's Office for their policies on retention, destruction or transfer;
  • Personnel records: check with the Office of Academic Affairs or with Human Resources for their policies on retention, destruction or transfer;
  • Multiple copies: two (2) copies of most items is sufficient but, for nice photographs or "showy" publications, five (5) copies will be accepted;
  • Research materials gathered by faculty or staff such as photocopies of research materials from other repositories collected for personal research use and faculty class lecture notes.
  • Financial transaction documents, including but not limited to cancelled checks, invoices, ledger reports, petty cash vouchers and/or receipts or any non-final budget report (including budget requests).
  • Information transaction documents: information request forms, items-mailed forms, application for any items, ticket stubs and gate receipts, copies of credit card slips for payment.

How to Transfer Records

There are a number of steps to be followed when preparing and sending records to the Archives.

  • Contact the Archives regarding the records you wish to transfer. This consultation will provide useful advice and is essential before transferring records
  • Files should be packed for transfer as arranged in the originating office, since file organization reflects the functions and activities of that office. Do not send loose material; material in labeled files is easier to retrieve and to process. The College Archives will provide acid-free boxes upon request. Place files in boxes in an upright manner, one folder behind the other. Folders are not to be laid flat. Try to fill each box to capacity so that space is not wasted or files allowed to "curl" but do not overstuff boxes. Write the box number on the front of each box and add it to the list of file titles if one is provided (see below).
  • If possible create a list of all the file titles you are transferring and attach it to, or place it in, the first box. The list should reflect the order in which the files were stored and boxed. It should clearly identify the department, office or other unit sending the records, as well as the full name and phone number of a contact person. If the records are of a specific type (for example, subject files or committee minutes), this should also be indicated, as should the inclusive dates of each file's contents. Please see sample listing below. As descriptions and index terms for transferred material cannot be immediately entered into the Special Collections database, this listing is critical in ensuring ongoing and convenient access.

Restricted or Confidential Material

Special handling or restrictions for confidential material should be discussed with the College Archivist before any such material is sent to the Archives.

Confidential or restricted material should be removed from the file and placed in a folder with the same label as the original. If the entire contents of a folders are restricted, remove the whole folder.) The new folders should be marked "Restricted"and placed together at the end of the material being transferred.A divider should indicate the start of the restricted records.

Sample Archives Transfer Listing

Dean's Office, School of Arts and Sciences
Jane Doe, Secretary - April 2000
Page 1 of 5
BOX 1 of 10 - Alphabetical Subject Files
Academic Council, 1968-1973 (4 files)
Academic Vice President, 1973-1977 (7 files)
Academic Vice President Search Committee, 1973-1974
Admissions , 1974-1976 (4 files)
Admissions Annual Report, 1976 

Electronic Records (including E-Mail)

The same principles--legal, fiscal, evidential, historical--apply to both paper and electronic records.

  • Care should be taken to ensure that electronic records are organized in a logical and eaily understandable way. It is recommended that electronic files be organized using folders similar to the way in which your paper files are filed. File names should be descriptive of the files' contents, eg. "programreview_Jun022007.doc" or "directreportsmeeting_minutes_Feb152007.doc" When possible the date should be included in the file name to allow for ease of "versioning" and determining the most recent draft.
  • The creator or holder of electronic records (including e-mail messages) should periodically screen such files and determine which may be official College records. Electronic records (including e-mail messages) that are official College records must be retained according to state and federal law and College policy. In addition, electronic records (including e-mail messages) that have administrative, fiscal, legal, or archival requirements for retention should be deleted as soon as they have served their reference purpose.
  • Because there are currently no national standards for the permanence of the medium on which electronic records are maintained (the medium is not considered permanent to preserve the content, context, and structure of the record), records in electronic formats are not yet acceptable for permanent or archival preservation. The College Archives does not accession or provide reference services to permanent records in electronic formats at this time. Electronic records (including e-mail messages) that have archival value must be printed out and filed as part of the regular office files. If or when standards for permanence of electronic media become a reality, these guidelines will be revised accordingly.

E-Mail: What to Keep

E-mail messages, sent and received, are evidence of the College's decisions, business transactions, and activities. As such, they are official records. For e-mail sent by College employees, the official copy is the creator's original message. For e-mail received by a College employee, the official copy is the one received by the primary addressee. In cases when e-mail has been replied to multiple times, the official copy is usually the last one if all the previous messages are included.

The content of an electronic communication determines its status, just as it does when the communication is transmitted on paper. A complete copy of names and e-mail addresses for group distribution lists should be retained for legal and historical purposes. The header, including subject, date created, sender, and recipients, is considered part of the record.

Affirmative answers to the following tests indicate that an e-mail is a record:

  • Proves a business-related event or activity did or did not occur
  • Demonstrates a transaction
  • Identifies who participated in a business activity or had knowledge of an event
  • Has legal or compliance value
  • Supports facts you claim to be true, since the person with direct knowledge of the facts is not able to testify
  • Addresses a topic specifically covered by law or regulation

Examples of e-mail that are records include:

  • Agendas and meeting minutes of management teams, committees, and governing bodies
  • Correspondence related to official business communications at the executive level to and from others inside and outside the institution
  • Documentation of departmental and institutional decisions and operations
  • Final reports or recommendations
  • Grant proposals, approvals, reports
  • Legal and financial records
  • Organizational charts
  • Policy, program, and procedure directives, such as manuals, bulletins, orders, rules, directives, or policy statements, issued by the College's executive-level staff addressing organizational operations, key functions, mission goals, or issues of public interest
  • Press releases
  • Transmittal e-mails that contain no substantive information but are sent to provide attachments (because they supply information found in the header)

E-mails generally not considered records include:

  • Announcements of social events, e.g. retirement parties
  • Drafts of documents
  • Duplicate copies of messages
  • Personal messages not related to conduct of business
  • Portions of documents sent as reference or information-only copies
  • Published reference materials
  • Requests for information