Congratulations on taking the next step in your career journey! Below please find some guidance on handling university records as you prepare to leave Duke University.

What is a Record?

A university record documents the history and business of Duke University. University records can be found in many formats, including paper records and electronic documents, such as email.

There are three primary categories of records:

Permanent records, which should be transferred to the University Archives for permanent preservation

  • Examples: meeting minutes, correspondence of Deans, Directors, Chairs and administrators (including email), audio/visual material, annual reports/plans, photographs

Temporary records, which should be retained in your office for the appropriate retention period

  • Examples: Transactional financial records, such as invoices and travel authorizations, personnel files and employee evaluations

Non-records, which can be destroyed when no longer administratively necessary

  • Examples: Reprints of articles, drafts, third-party publications such as academic journals

These are only a few examples of these records types. For the complete records retention guidelines, which list all record types, please visit the records retention guidelines page.

The University Archives collects records that are no longer in active use by your office/department. If you have questions about whether your records are inactive and thus eligible for transfer, please contact the Records Manager.

Will Records in the Archives be Publicly Accessible?

The University Archives preserves university history for research and student use. However, all university administrative records are automatically restricted for 25 years after creation. For example, meeting minutes that were created in 2012 will not be available for research until 2037. This restriction means that your records will not be available to the public immediately without the permission of the transferring office. Members of the transferring office will still be able to access the material as needed.

The University Archives also applies additional restrictions to records that contain sensitive information subject to FERPA, HIPAA, and other legal regulations. For more information on records restrictions, please contact the Records Manager.

What Should I Do to Begin?

First, contact the Records Manager to schedule a records review and consultation. The Records Manager will assist you with reviewing your records and determine what types of records you have in your office/workspace. Most of the time, about 10% of your records will be permanent records.

This brief consultation is a great way to start cleaning out your office and your hard drive!

If you have permanent records in your office, you will need to transfer them to the University Archives for permanent preservation. The University Archives can provide records boxes for physical materials and can help coordinate the transfer of electronic records. Contact the Records Manager for more information.

What about my Email?

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

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. The Records Manager will work with you to get your email organized for transfer.

What about my Research?

Due to space and resource constraints, the University Archives cannot accept transfer of all faculty research. The University Archives' focus is on collecting administrative records of faculty, not scholarly research. Please contact the Records Manager to find out if your research is appropriate for transfer to the Archives. You can also contact the Research Data Management program at Duke University Libraries at askdata@duke.edu for information about retaining research data.