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John Hay Library, Brown University Archives

Policy for University Records


Collections Policy for University Records:

University Archives collects the records of University departments and offices that are of enduring, permanent and historical value once they are past the period of active use. When files and office materials are transferred to University Archives, they become part of the permanent record of Brown University and cannot be recalled by the department or office that transferred them. They become part of the Library's special collections, and are subject to the same terms and conditions of use and reproduction as other items that form part of the Library's special collections. Transfer of records to University Archives from offices and departments of the University is considered permanent and irreversible. Thereafter, the records can be made available to departmental staff only in the Special Collections Reading Room of the John Hay Library.

University Archives does not accept, and cannot house, any University records that are still in use, whether active or inactive. Offices and departments are advised to ensure that they have no current or frequent need for any records intended for transfer to University Archives. Records sent to University Archives that are subsequently determined not to fit the mission of University Archives will not be retained. Please note that outdated transitory or temporary records lacking archival value should be destroyed on a routine basis, in accordance with an appropriate records retention schedule. Offices and departments with non-archival records that are ready for disposal may wish to consult the Office of Facilities Management , which can assist with the off-site storage of authorized records and will shred outdated records for a modest fee.

See the lists of the sorts of records that the University Archives accepts into its collections, and those that do not have enduring historical value and should not be sent to University Archives.

Guidelines for Transfer of Records to the Archives:

PROCEDURE: When an Office or Department has identified records it wants to dispose of, a staff member should contact University Archives for an assessment. Assessments may be conducted either on-site or by email, as the circumstances warrant. Once it has been determined that records are appropriate for transfer to University Archives, the attached and printable Intake form (pdf file) (UA Form 1) should be completed. The completed form must accompany the records during transfer to University Archives.

PREPARATION: The following are given as general guidance in the preparation of records for transfer to University Archives. Compliance is voluntary; however, where time and staffing permit, following these guidelines will facilitate the processing of the records at University Archives and help us make them available to users sooner rather than later.

  • All files should be boxed in the order in which they appear in the file drawer. That is, when removing files from a file cabinet to a box, please ensure that the files remain in their original filing order.
  • Boxes should be full - that is, with less than ½ inch of space remaining. ( PLEASE DO NOT OVER STUFF BOXES )
  • Replace hanging (Pendaflex) folders with plain manila folders, whenever possible
  • Remove extraneous fasteners (e.g., binder clips, rubber bands and paper clips) wherever possible. Ideally, materials housed in binders should be removed from the binder and placed in a folder prior to boxing.
  • All boxes should be numbered in sequential order and by reference to the total number of boxes to be transferred (e.g., 1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.)
  • Compile an inventory of the materials being sent to the University Archives and include this inventory with the materials and, if possible, send it as an email attachment to archives@brown.edu. This inventory will help us achieve intellectual control of the records sooner and help you know which records have been sent.
Guidelines for Transfer of Digital Files to the Archives:

PROCEDURE: When an Office or Department has identified digital records it wants to dispose of, a staff member should contact University Archives for an assessment. Assessments may be conducted either on-site or by email, as the circumstances warrant. Once it has been determined that the digital files are appropriate for transfer to University Archives, please complete the attached and printable Digital Files Transfer Form (pdf file). The completed form must accompany the records during transfer to University Archives or be submitted as an email attachment.

In addition to the Digital Files Transfer Form, departments and offices should send an ASCII text copy of directory structure and list of files. If File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the chosen method for transferring digital files, please contact the University Archives to make arrangements. If the digital files will be sent on digital storage media such as CD or DVD, internal and/or external labels are required for each piece of media.


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