Records to the Archives
An archives is the official repository of an
institution’s records and serves as the
collective memory of that institution. For this reason, only records that
have permanent and historic value should be transferred to the
Assessment of Value
In general, an office is required to
maintain a copy of any document created by or originating in that office.
Conversely, an office is not required to maintain copies of documents
created by other offices in the same institution. Making this distinction
when trying to decide what papers to save will cut down significantly on the
storage of duplicate records throughout the institution.
It is helpful to distinguish between papers that are
“of the record” and those that are for reference. “Of the record” papers are
usually those that reflect the work of the office and have long-term value.
Reference materials are generally acquired by the office to assist in their
work and originated elsewhere. If the reference material is no longer being
used, it can be destroyed. If the material is supportive of the work created
in the office, it should be retained for future reference.
copies of documents that are created as part of the normal work process
should also be destroyed as soon as a final version has been approved to
avoid future confusion and eliminate overcrowding of files.
In trying to assess the value of papers, the simple
question you need to ask yourself is: “Do these records help to tell the
work of our office, and, thereby, the work of the institution?”
Preparing Paper and Other
Physical Records for Transfer
Preparing records for transfer to the Archives is the responsibility
of the office that created the records.
[Hereafter referred to as Office of Origin.]
Only those offices that have been authorized to transfer records to
the Archives may do so. If you
have any questions after reading the instructions below, please contact the
Archives staff to request
an individual consultation.
The Archives requires that all records be packed in standard-size
storage boxes (10”H x 12”W x 15”D). Offices
are required to supply the boxes used to transfer records.
The records will be stored in these
boxes until they are transferred to archival quality boxes.
Approved storage boxes:
Bankers’ Box Basic-Strength Stor/File Storage boxes
Office Depot Quick Set-Up Storage Boxes with Lift Off Lid
Quill Brand Premium EZ Fold Storage Boxes
2. Packing the boxes
Records should be purged of unnecessary materials such
as hanging folders, binders, report covers, rubber bands, binder clips, or
Records should be placed in file folders that are
Records should be packed according to the filing system
used by the Office of Origin and in alphabetic or numeric order.
Records should be placed in the box vertically and in
the same direction. Do not lay
folders on top of vertically filed records
Boxes should not be over packed.
A box is packed properly when there is
about an inch of space at the back, the lid fits on securely, and none of
the sides bulge out. If a box cannot
be filled completely, use crumpled scrap paper to fill the empty space.
Records that are oversized, such as architectural
drawings, framed photographs, or books, should be packed in tubes
or boxes that are large enough to hold them. Any item with glass, such as a picture frame, should be wrapped in
paper to ensure that it does not break during transfer.
Weed out duplicate copies of
items unless there is a compelling reason to keep them.
If transferring programs of events
sponsored by the institution, four copies are adequate.
Do not send reference books,
office equipment manuals, blank forms, excess stock of publications or
stationery, or broken or unidentifiable objects.
Do not send loose material, i.e., items that are not in
any discernible order, without first discussing the special circumstances of
such a transfer with the Archives.
3. Labeling the boxes
The outside of each box must be clearly
labeled to identify its contents. This information must be recorded on one
of the short ends of the box so that it can be read after it has been
shelved in the Archives. The labeling format is as follows:
- Institutional code (AB: Archdiocese of Baltimore; SS: Associated
SMSU: St. Mary's Seminary & University)
- Date (yyyymmdd)
- Box # (each box being transferred should be numbered in
Subject Files, A-B
4. Preparing a Records Transfer
Every transfer of
records must include a Records Transfer form.
This form officially documents the transfer of records from the
Office of Origin to the Archives. It contains a detailed list of the records
transferred, the total number of boxes sent, and the date on which the
one copy for your office and send one copy to the Archives.
5. Transferring Boxes to Archives
Contact the Archives staff to schedule the
physical transfer of the records to the Archives.
Staff will usually pick up 10 or fewer
boxes. For larger numbers of boxes, or if other conditions preclude the
staff from making the pick-up, the office transferring records should
consult with the Archives staff to make alternate arrangements.
6. Retrieving Files from the Archives
The Office of Origin may borrow back files it has transferred to
the Archives by submitting an Office of Origin Request form. The office will
need to reference the Records Transfer form to identify which file(s) it
needs to borrow.
Office of Origin Request
Upon receipt of the form, the Archives
staff will contact the requestor to schedule pick-up or delivery.
7. Returning Borrowed Files to the Archives
Borrowed files must be returned promptly after the office has
finished using them. Contact
the Archives staff to notify when the files will be returned and to schedule pick-up or delivery.
Individual folders should be placed in sealed envelopes. Boxes of files do
not need to be sealed.