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Harvard University Archives
Managing University Records: Transferring University Records to the Archives

 

 

 
 

Transferring University Records to the Archives

 

The Harvard University Archives holds University records of permanent historical value no longer needed for their original business purpose. These records document the intellectual, cultural, and administrative life of the University.

Transferring permanent records to the Archives ensures that your office is part of Harvard’s history. RMS can help you determine what records have permanent value to University and then can assist with the transfer of records from your office to the Archives.

Records Management Services facilitates both offsite storage and the transfer of University records to the Archives. You should ask where you are sending your records when you work with RMS.

 

The Archives is the home for long-term, permanent records

  • Only records designated as “transfer to (or contact) Archives” in a records schedule are sent to the Archives
  • The Archives takes over custody and responsibility
  • The Archives pays any storage costs
  • University policies, implemented by the Archives, govern access
  • Records do not circulate; they may be consulted at the Archives
  • The Archives may provide copies of original records for office use
  • Records are retained in perpetuity

 

The Records Center is used for short- or long-term temporary storage for all kinds of records and

  • Your office has custody of the records and you pay for storage
  • You control access to the records
  • The records are your responsibility
  • After storage period expires, your head of department authorizes transfer to the Archives or destruction

 

Use the General Records Schedule for guidance on which records are permanent and which are not.

 
 
 

Preserving Harvard's institutional history

 

In preserving the documentary heritage of Harvard University, the Archives has a vital mission: to set and implement policies for the management of University records, including helping to determine what University records will be preserved to document the history of Harvard and its faculty, students and employees for years to come. To gain an idea of what the Archives collects, see What We Collect and further explore the other sections on the Harvard University Archives website.

     
     

    What to transfer

     

    Records eligible for transfer are those which are no longer active and are listed on an approved records schedule as being of permanent value. For details about transferring records to the Archives, please view our transfer instructions listed below.

    Consult the General Records Schedule or contact RMS to make sure that the records have passed their retention and are eligible for transfer to the Archives. The GRS retention statement will prompt you to “Contact Archives” or “Transfer to Archives.”

    For information about transferring electronic records, see Electronic Records/E-mail.

       
       

      Accessing records after transfer

       

      When permanent records are transferred to the Archives, they are maintained there for the future.  Each records transfer will receive an accession number and information about the records will be entered into the Archives' collections database. In most cases, a finding aid to the collection will be created. After the restriction period has passed, the records may be used by any researcher. You may also find a need to use these materials over time to research important administrative decisions, compile histories of your program, or add content or illustrate a newsletter or a web site.  You can search finding aids using HOLLIS.

      University records are restricted for 50 years from the date of their creation. Access to records less than 50 years old requires the permission of the current head of the department having original custody. Records relating to individuals are closed for 80 years, or until the person's death, whichever is later.

      Original records transferred to the Archives do not circulate.  All use of original records must take place on site at the Archives.

         
         

        Instructions

         

        Standard Transfers

         

        Records eligible for transfer are those which are no longer active and are listed on an approved records schedule as being of permanent value.

        1. Identify records eligible for transfer
        2. Order empty boxes
        3. Pack records
        4. Complete transfer forms
        5. Arrange for pickup

        Resources

        Transfer Forms

         

        Senior Theses Transfer Instructions

         

        The Archives accessions magna cum laude and summa cum laude undergraduate theses only.

        1. Identify theses eligible for transfer
        2. Prepare theses for transfer
        3. Order empty boxes
        4. Pack theses
        5. Complete transfer forms
        6. Arrange for pickup

        Resources

        Transfer Forms

         

        Dissertations & ALM Theses Transfer Instructions

         

        The University Archives collects PhD, EdD, and ThD dissertations and ALM theses (Masters of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies).

        1. Identify dissertations and theses eligible for transfer
        2. Order empty boxes
        3. Pack dissertations and theses
        4. Complete transfer forms
        5. Arrange for pickup

        Resources

        Transfer Forms

         

        Prize Papers Transfer Instructions

         

        The University Archives collects prize papers – these include Hoopes and Bowdoin – through the Prize Office.

        1. Identify prize papers eligible for transfer
        2. Order empty boxes
        3. Pack prize papers
        4. Complete transfer forms
        5. Arrange for pickup

        Resources

        Transfer Forms

        Student Records Transfer Instructions

         


        The following student records are considered permanent and may be transferred to the University Archives seven years after a student's class year: Undergraduate Student Records, Undergraduate Concentrator Records, and Graduate Student Records.

        1. Identify student records eligible for transfer
        2. Order empty boxes
        3. Pack records
        4. Complete transfer forms
        5. Arrange for pickup

        Resources

        Transfer Forms