Harvard University Offsite Records Storage

Harvard Depository stacks

The Records Center provides University offices short- or long-term temporary storage for University records that are used infrequently, but have not met the destruction or Archives transfer date. Records Management Services assists offices with creating storage accounts, depositing records into accounts, and managing records in storage.

After you pack your records and prepare the necessary paperwork, couriers pick up the boxes from your office and deliver them to the Records Center. Boxes in storage may be retrieved for next business day delivery.  For security purposes, only authorized users are permitted to retrieve materials from your account, and Records Center staff are not permitted to open or inspect the contents of boxes.

To set up an account, please fill out the Records Center contract. The completed form must be signed by your department head. E-mail the signed contract (sign and scan) or fax it to 495-8011. If you are not sure whether your office already has a Records Center account, please call 495-5961.

Each office pays for the storage space it uses at the Records Center. Please refer to Records Center Fees for the current fee schedule. For suggestions to help you control storage costs, refer to our tips to control storage costs.

Depositing Records in the Records Center

Record carton

To learn step-by-step how to send records to storage, register for our "Out of Sight" workshop.

Please follow the 5 steps to deposit new records at the Records Center:

1. Identify records eligible for storage
Use the General Records Schedule (GRS) or office-specific records schedule to identify the types of records you have and how long you need to keep them. Records that are no longer used regularly by your office, but have not met their retention requirements are good candidates for off-site storage.

2. Order records storage boxes and barcodes
Order approved boxes and barcodes directly from Records Management Services. Boxes and barcodes will be delivered to your office within 2-3 business days.

3. Pack, label and barcode your boxes
Make sure boxes are properly packed, labeled and barcoded. Refer to our Checklist for detailed packing and labeling instructions and tips.
Please be aware that the Records Center couriers will refuse to pick up boxes that are not packed, labeled, and/or barcoded properly.

 4. Complete records center storage deposit authorization form and box inventory form
A completed records center storage deposit authorization PDF form and box inventory spreadsheet are required for each deposit. You will need to download and save the forms at the preceeding links locally by pressing the download button (the arrow icon next to the printer icon in the upper right corner) before filling in the documents.  Instructions for the inventory are included on the first worksheet tab of the spreadsheet.

5. Request deposit review and pick up
Send the completed forms as e-mail attachments to Records Management Services for review. The signed scan of the authorization form may also be faxed to 495-8011; whether faxed or e-mailed, the authorization form must always be sent at the same time as the completed box inventory spreadsheet.  Our staff will review your paperwork and schedule a pick up.

Retrieving and Returning Records

Packing records for storage

You may recall records to your office at any time. Next-day delivery is standard for orders received by 3pm from an authorized user.  Please include the following in your order:

  • Barcodes of the boxes you need
  • Delivery location
  • Alternate contact at your office authorized to sign for the delivery

If you will not be returning the boxes, please request that these barcodes be deleted.  Your office continues to pay for the space reserved for retrieved boxes, unless a deletion request is received.

Opening a Records Center Account

All Records Center storage accounts are managed through Records Management Services. If you are not sure whether your office already has a Records Center account, please call 495-5961.

To set up an account, please fill out the Records Center contract. The completed form must be signed by your department head. E-mail the signed contract (sign and scan) or fax it to 495-8011.