University departments and offices are responsible for storing and transferring University records as appropriate. Please note that the University Archives can only accept transfer of permanent records at this time.
Access to University records may be limited. Please note that Duke administrative records, which include records of university departments, deans, and other official university officers, are automatically restricted for 25 years. Board of Trustee records, including meeting minutes, are automatically restricted for 50 years. During the restriction period, access to these records will only be granted with the permission of the department or the Board of Trustees, respectively. For more information on this and other access restrictions, please visit the Access to Records webpage.
Transferring Records to the Archives
If you have permanent records that are no longer actively used in your department, transfer them to the Archives to free up office space and preserve your office’s history.
Review Your Records
First, review your records. Not all of your records will be suitable for transfer to the University Archives. The University Archives is interested in acquiring and preserving administrative and historical records that have significant and enduring value for the Duke community.
Below is an abbreviated list of the types of records we collect:
- correspondence and files of the dean, director, or chair
- Duke publications produced by your office, such as newsletters, brochures, and annual reports
- records of events that happened at Duke, such as programs and flyers
- records of program or curriculum development
- departmental minutes, committee minutes, and committee reports
- self-studies, histories, and accreditation reports
- records about symposia and special projects
- records about cooperative efforts with other institutions
- records about relationships with government, business or industry
- photographs and audio-visual material
- websites, blogs, and other electronic records
For additional information on other types of permanent, inactive records, please review the Records Retention Guidelines.
Contact the Archives to Request Boxes
Once you have identified the records you would like to transfer, please contact the Records Manager to request records boxes. Archives staff will provide you with appropriate records boxes. These boxes are designed for permanent preservation of records and are free of charge for offices and departments.
Please use the boxes provided. The Archives has to make efficient use of limited space, and our facilities are set up to house these containers. We cannot accept records sent in boxes other than the ones we provide.
- Generally, one drawer in a standard filing cabinet will fill two records boxes.
Pack Up Your Records
Once you have picked up your boxes, pack your records appropriately.
Try to keep the records in the order in which they were used in your office. Archives prefers to receive records as they were originally used.
If you are sending records of distinct offices, committees, or organizations, please do not intermix them.
Tips for Packing Records Boxes:
- Remove records from hanging files and binders.
- Hanging files and binders will damage the boxes and records over time. Replace hanging files and binders with folders.
- Do not include loose, unfoldered paper. All materials should be in folders.
- Do not include rubber bands on folders, as they leave stains as they decay
- Do not overstuff your boxes. If you need to request more boxes from the Archives, please do so!
Once boxes are packed, please label the front of the box with the box number (Box 1 of 10, Box 2 of 10, etc.) This is the only information that needs to be written on the boxes. Archives staff will create a label for the boxes after they are transferred.
For more information on packing and labeling boxes, please review this video tutorial.
Complete the Inventory Spreadsheet
Please complete the provided inventory spreadsheet. Include the list of folder titles, folder dates, and box numbers. Add the name of your office at the top of the spreadsheet.
Please keep a copy of the inventory spreadsheet in your office for your records. When you need to locate a record you have sent the Archives, this inventory will be invaluable. Think of this as an index to your office's records. Accurate inventories are essential for retrieving the files you need.
Once you have completed the inventory, email the inventory to the Records Manager. The Records Manager will review the inventory and then contact you to arrange for box pick-up.
Arrange Records Transfer
Once you have sent the inventory to the Records Manager, Archives staff will review it and contact you to arrange records transfer.
Depending on the number of boxes and available space, your boxes may be delivered to either the Smith Warehouse or the Library Service Center. Archives staff will let you know which destination is available to accept your boxes. Boxes delivered to the Library Service Center must be barcoded prior to arrival. The University Archives will send you barcodes, and Archives staff is available to assist you with barcoding if needed.
Boxes may be picked up by Archives staff, dropped off by your office, or you may arrange for a moving company to deliver boxes. Please arrange a time with the Records Manager before delivering records boxes.
Transferring Electronic Records
University Archives also accepts transfer of permanent electronic records. There are a number of methods for transferring electronic records to the Archives, depending on the type and size of files. If you have electronic records to transfer, please contact the Records Manager to discuss records transfer options.
In most cases, offices responsible for maintaining temporary records do not have adequate space to store them beyond one or two years. If temporary records must be moved to an off-site storage location, consider the following needs:
- access and retrieval — including frequency of retrieval, emergency access needs and potential costs associated with getting to the records
- environmental conditions that provide stable and friendly conditions for the records
- security systems that prevent unauthorized access to the records
- filing systems that permit the rapid retrieval of records via a logical index, box list or similar finding aid
- overall physical and intellectual control over the records for which you are the guardian
The University Archives does not offer off-site storage for temporary inactive records. For university approved off-site storage options, please contact Procurement at 919-681-5900.
Please note that transferring permanent records to the Archives on a regular basis can free up additional on-site storage space for temporary records!