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.
Contact the Archives to Request Boxes
When you are ready to transfer records, please contact the Archives at 919-684-8066. Archives staff will provide you with appropriate records boxes. These boxes are free of charge for records being sent to the Archives, and you can pick them up at the Archives on weekdays or have them sent to your office.
Please use the boxes we provide. We have 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.
- For letter-size files, 2 file drawers will require 3 boxes.
- For legal-size files, 1 file drawer will require 2 boxes.
- For lateral files, 1 box will hold 1¼ feet of letter-size files or 1 foot of legal-size files.
Archives staff will also send you an inventory spreadsheet that must be completed as part of the transfer process.
Pack Up Your Records
Once you have picked up your boxes, pack your records appropriately.
If you are sending records of distinct offices, committees, or organizations, please do not intermix them. Keep the records in the order in which they were used in your office.
Don't send us:
- records in hanging files or binders (If records are in hanging files or binders, put them in manila folders.)
- loose, unfoldered paper
- rubber bands on folders, as they leave stains as they decay
- overstuffed boxes (If you need to request more boxes from the Archives, please do so!)
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.
Complete the Online Records Transfer Form
Once you have completed the inventory and packed your boxes, complete the Records Transfer Form. This form will document your transfer of records to the Archives. It will ask you for your contact information as well as information on your records, including the number of boxes, types of materials included in transfer, and any special access restrictions. You will need to attach the completed inventory spreadsheet to this form.
Once the form is complete, submit it to send it on to the Archives staff for review. Archives staff will be in contact with you within 2 business days.
If you have any questions about completing the form, please contact the Records Manager at 919-684-8066.
Arrange Records Transfer
Once you have submitted the form, Archives staff will review it and contact you to arrange records transfer.
Depending on the number of boxes and available space, 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 delivered by your office, or you may arrange for a moving company to deliver boxes. Please arrange a time with the Archives before delivering boxes. When delivering boxes, please attach a sheet of your letterhead to the box cover, with the date and name of a contact person, and label it "To University Archives." (Please don't write on your boxes. We will add a permanent label later.)
Once the boxes have been received by the Archives, you will receive an email containing information from the Records Transfer Form as well as an Archives accession number. Please keep this email for future reference. If you need to locate material from a records transfer, please provide the accession number.
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 Archives at 919-684-8066 to discuss records transfer options with the Records Manager and the Digital Records Archivist.
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!