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RM Home > Tips and Training >

Identifying Historical University Records

The University Archives collects, arranges, describes, and provides appropriate access to records that document the academic and administrative responsibilities of the University as well as the experiences of its students, alumni, faculty, staff, and benefactors. These historically valuable records, often referred to as historical records or archival records, are typically identified in the course of discussions with University offices and are reflected in records retention schedules.

Historical value does not necessarily depend on the age of the records. Not everything that is old has historical value, and many newly created records do have historical value. Likewise, historical value does not depend on the media or format of records. Historical records exist as paper, email, electronic data, web content, chemical and digital photographs, analog and digital recordings, and countless other formats.

While records must be evaluated on their own merits and in the context of the University's archival collection, most University offices are likely to generate historical records in the form of:

  • governance documents such as charters, by-laws, mission and vision statements, policy and procedure manuals, and organizational charts;
  • annual reports;
  • strategic plans;
  • photos and videos of University events, people and property;
  • published materials created by the University or by individual offices, including website content, bulletins, and newsletters;
  • records of University committees, councils, boards, and other groups serving on behalf of colleges, schools, departments, or the University as a whole;
  • files of University Officers, Deans, Vice Presidents, Directors, and other University leaders, typically including correspondence, reports, committee records, project files, and event files;
  • records of student groups and student activities, including membership rosters, meeting minutes, project files, publicity files, and event photos or videos.

These and similar records are reflected in general and office-specific records retention schedules and are to be transferred to the Archives for retention or appraisal.

Please do your part to ensure the preservation of historical University records. Transfer records to the Archives in accordance with the University's records retention schedules. Contact the Archives if you are unsure whether records have historical value or if you encounter University records that are not covered by existing schedules.




This page was last updated August 29, 2013