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Introduction

This policy is designed to provide a basic framework for the transfer of records to the University Archives. It should also be useful in helping University offices make related decisions regarding the retention and destruction of records. The overall goal of this policy is to outline standards and procedures to help reduce the number of non-current records occupying office space, eliminate unnecessary duplication of records between offices, offer guidelines for records destruction, and create greater awareness of documents which might have permanent historical value and should therefore be transferred to the University Archives. 

University Records Management

The overall management of University records is defined by a set of policies created by the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents and Chancellor. These policies provide guidance regarding inspection of public records, preservation of items of historical interest and records management. Under this set of policies, overall responsibility for decisions regarding the disposition of records is given to each University president and their respective unit heads. These policies are reprinted in the preface to the University System of Maryland Records Retention Standards. This document also provides comprehensive and detailed guidelines for the retention, transfer or destruction of University records. 

Only a small percentage of records created or held by University offices have enduring historical value and should therefore be transferred to the University Archives. The personal papers and other documents of individuals affiliated with the University, such as professors, staff, and students, are not official records and are not governed by the University Records Management program.

Retention of Records

Under normal day-to-day administrative operations, currently active records can easily be identified for retention. It is often less understood that records which are no longer useful for current operations may still need to be retained under the USM Standards until their retention period expires. It is important to consult the USM Standards before making any major decisions regarding the disposition of records. 

Transfer of Records

Once records are no longer actively in use and their retention period has expired under the USM Standards, a decision can be made on their final disposition. The University President or head of a University unit has the ultimate authority to decide whether to destroy or transfer records to the University Archives. Ideally, this decision would be made in consultation with the University Archivist. The transfer of records to the Archives should follow the procedures outlined in the  Transfer Instructions  available on the University Archives website.

When you are ready to transfer records, contact Special Collections to ensure that the material is appropriate for permanent retention and to review any applicable records retention schedule that would govern management of the records. If the material has not been approved by the university archivist, it may be returned to your office. It is also important to note that free archival boxes will be provided for transfer if the archivist is consulted in advance.

Procedure for transfer:

  • Contact Special Collections to discuss transfer and arrange for delivery of boxes
  • Refer to the  Transfer Instructions  for detailed information about packing the boxes
  • A printed folder listing of the records and a  signed transfer form  should accompany the boxes.
  • It is your responsibility to arrange for moving of boxes to the Archives. Call Physical Plant to arrange for them to deliver.
  • If you have any questions please call Special Collections at extension 4253.

Destruction of Records

After determining that University records are no longer active, do not need to be retained by a University office, or transferred to the Archives, they can be destroyed in an appropriate manner. As with transfers to the Archives, the President or head of a University unit has the ultimate authority to decide whether to destroy records. Ideally, this decision would be made in consultation with the University Archivist and documentation of this action would be permanently retained in the Archives.