What are Electronic Records?

The University Archives also collects and preserves electronic records, including both digitized and born-digital electronic records. The University Archives is interested in collecting records that document university history, including, but not limited to: correspondence of the dean, director, or chair, including email, university publications, meeting minutes/agendas, annual and committee reports, photographs, and records related to special projects. For more information on the types of records collected by the Archives, click here.

As with paper administrative office records, all electronic administrative records are automatically restricted for 25 years. Additional restrictions for medical information, FERPA information, and donor information (70 years) may also apply.

What Formats are Acceptable for Transfer?

While the University Archives does accept records in a number of formats, preferred formats for electronic records include:

  • PDF/PDF-A/DOCX (Text)
  • TIFF/JPG (Photo)
  • XLSX/CSV (Data/Spreadsheets)
  • MBOX/PST/OLM (Email)

While these formats are preferred, you do not need to resave documents in these formats. Archives staff can work with you to transfer most documents in their original state.

Additional information on preferred and acceptable preservation formats is available on DUL's Recommended File Formats page.

How Do I Transfer Electronic Records?

The University Archives uses several methods to transfer electronic records. Use of these methods depends on your office OIT Support, the current location of the electronic material, and the format of the record.

If your records are stored in Box, Archives will transfer your records using Box.

1) Contact the Records Manager for an initial records review. The records manager will review your electronic records and determine whether they are suitable for transfer to the Archives.

2) The Records Manager will create a folder for these materials in the Archives Box account.

3) You will then copy your materials into the folder in the Archives Box account.

4) Archives staff will review the material and add it our collection.  

If your records are stored in on a Shared Drive/Directory, Archives will work with your OIT staff representative to transfer your records.

1) Contact the Records Manager for an initial records review. The records manager will review your records and determine whether they are suitable for transfer to the Archives.

2) Archives staff will ask you to provide contact information for your OIT staff representative. Archives staff will work with OIT to get temporary access to your shared drive.

3) Once Archives staff has temporary access, materials will be copied from the shared drive to the secure Archives storage. No files will be deleted from your drive. Once materials are copied successfully, Archives staff will work with OIT to revoke Archives’ access.

4) Archives staff will then review the material and add it our collection.  

If you want to transfer your email, Archives can work with you to export and transfer your files.

1) Due to space and resource constraints, the University Archives cannot accept transfer of all employees’ email. Please contact the Records Manager to find out if your email is appropriate for transfer.

2) If your email is eligible for transfer, the Records Manager will review your email with you and identify folders that contain the most crucial correspondence. University Archives cannot take the full contents of an email inbox, including the sent folder, due to space, resource, and data sensitivity constraints. The Records Manager can work with you to get your email organized for transfer.

3) Once you have organized and identified your email folders, these folders can be exported in PST or MBOX, or OLM formats, depending on the email software used in your office. Please find instructions on exporting email here.

4) Once you have the exported files, please upload them to the appropriate folder in the Archives Box account.  

5) Archives staff will review the material and add it the collection.

Can I Purge my Files After I Transfer Records to the Archives?

Yes. Archives staff will not delete any records from your email, drive, or Box account during the transfer process. However, once material has been transferred to the Archives, offices may feel free to purge those files from their machines if they are no longer administratively useful and have passed the required records retention period. Guidelines for retaining university records are available online here. Material stored in the Archives is preserved permanently as part of the archival collection and can be accessed through the reading room in Rubenstein Library.

What if my Records are Stored in Other Locations, such as Google Drive or Basecamp?

University Archives may be able to transfer records stored in those locations. Please contact the Records Manager directly to initiate that process. If you are a representative from a Duke University student organization, please review the YOLO website for more information on transferring electronic records.

What about Archiving my University Website?

The University Archives crawls most university websites annually. You may view a list of university websites that have been crawled here. If you would like to have a website added to the list of crawls, please complete this form. Archives staff will follow up with you within 2 business days. If you have any questions, please contact the Records Manager.