Transfer Guidelines for Office Records

The University Archives was established in 1963 as the repository for all non-current, inactive official records of all University administrative and academic units. Under the provisions of Article VI, Section 4 of the General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure, the Archives preserves and makes these documents available to university units, as well as students and scholars to aid in research on the history of the institution and on the development of academic disciplines. The records of the University provide a rich source for historical research and support current administrative needs. The following guidelines will assist faculty and staff in identifying those portions of their files that are appropriate for transfer to the Archives.

Note: All transfers or deposits of material from campus units must be pre-approved.  By completing and submitting a Records Transfer Form, you will help us determine how records or personal papers can be best preserved.  The University Archives also requires that all office files transferred to the Archives be accompanied a transfer list stored as a Word processing or text file. Handwritten lists will not be accepted. Because of staffing and space limits, it is necessary to consult with the Archives in advance of any records transfers one file drawer or larger to ensure that the material is appropriate and in a condition for archival retention.

Records commonly transferred to the Archives include:

  1. Constitutions and by-laws, minutes and proceedings, transcripts, lists of officers of University corporate bodies;
  2. Office Files: correspondence and memoranda (incoming and outgoing) and subject files concerning projects, activities and functions;
  3. Historical files documenting policies, decisions, committee and task force reports, questionnaires;
  4. Publications: one record copy of all newsletters, journals, brochures, monographs, programs, posters, and announcements issued by the University or its subdivisions; the Archives should be placed on college, department, and office mailing lists to receive all future publications;
  5. Audio-visuals: photographs, films, and sound and video recordings;
  6. Personal papers of students, faculty, and staff which relate to the University’s work.

Note: All information formats (e.g., published, typescript, audio-visual, and electronic data, such as computer disks and files) are appropriate for consideration for transfer. For documents in formats requiring any form of machine intervention, such as videotapes, kinescopes, and all computer files, consideration should be given to transferring the equipment needed to access the documents or, preferably, converting the documents to a format accessible to the Archives’ users. Early consultation with the Archivist is strongly encouraged for all such materials.

Records which generally should not be transferred but scheduled for disposal after consultation with the Archivist include:

  1. Records of specific financial transactions;
  2. Routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment;
  3. Non-personally addressed correspondence such as “Deans and Directors” memoranda (except for one record copy from the issuing officer);
  4. Requests for publications or information after the requests have been filled;
  5. Replies to questionnaires if the results are recorded and preserved either in the Archives or in a published report.

Items which may be discarded directly from the office when they are no longer needed for administrative purposes include:

  1. All blank forms and unused printed or duplicated materials;
  2. All other duplicate material: keep only the original copy and annotated copies;
  3. Papers, reports, working papers and drafts, which have been published;
  4. Artifacts and memorabilia. The Archives does not collect non-documentary objects related to the University’s history except in cases of great importance and manageable physical size and condition. Please call the Archivist to discuss options for preservation of such objects.

Materials should be transferred in the order in which they were created and maintained in the campus office. A letter briefly identifying the material and describing the activity to which it relates should accompany the transfer.

The list is intended as a general guide If there are questions about records not listed here or questions about the retention or disposal of specific record series, please telephone the University Archivist, at 333-0798, or e-mail the Archives at illiarch@illinois.edu.

WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T THROW IT OUT!

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