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Records Transfer Guidelines

Mission and background

The Office of the President has designated the University Archives, housed in The Bancroft Library, as the official repository for records documenting the history of the Berkeley campus and of the University of California system. Archives staff selects, preserves, and makes available for use inactive records of permanent value, which relate to the history, function, and activities of the university community. Inactive records are those with no current administrative use to the unit that created them. These materials are collected by the University Archives for their enduring administrative, fiscal, legal, or historical value.

Transferring records from your unit to the University Archives ensures that your historically significant correspondence, policy files, and other administrative records will be preserved for future generations of researchers. These materials can also continue to benefit your staff. Possible advantages might include the easy accessibility to the archival records to trace your unitís history when it celebrates anniversaries and locating answers to difficult administrative questions decades after the individuals involved have departed from campus. Periodic transfers of inactive records also will allow you to clear space in your office for housing the more current files that your unit continues to generate.


Following their creation, records have life cycles marked by three stages: active, semi-active, and inactive. Selected inactive campus records, preferably those more than five years old, that have met the requirements for retention are housed permanently in the University Archives. The procedures provided below are intended to guide you as you prepare to transfer your unitís records to the archives. Following each activity, a note is given to indicate who has responsibility for that function: Unit (campus unit), UARC (University Archives staff), or Shared Activity (Unit and UARC).

When you are considering a transfer of the inactive, historical records of your unit, please contact the University Archives at 642-8173. UARC staff will visit you in your office to examine your unitís records, arrange for their transfer, and offer additional assistance as needed. You will need to complete a transmittal form (the procedure is further described below) that will provide a record of the materials transferred.

Sample Transmittal Form
Transmittal Form

Examples of the types of institutional records suitable for transfer may be found in the listing located below. Each document that you transfer should be the record copy-that is, the single copy (typically the original) held by your unit that is designated as the official file copy.

Step 1: Identifying and preparing records

  • Determine which record types are appropriate for transfer. [Shared Activity]
  • Box the records according to the filing system used by your unit, placing the folders upright. Folders should not be packed too tightly; you should be able to place your fist between the back of the last folder and the box. Materials must be packed in record storage cartons approved by the University Archives (acid-free and measuring 12W x 15L x 10H). Letter-sized files should face the 12" side and legal-sized files the 15" side. A packed carton cannot weigh more than 40 pounds. Cartons will be provided at cost by UARC for $4.75 per carton. [Unit or Shared Activity]
  • Do not remove records from the folders in which they are stored, unless they are in hanging files. Replace all hanging files with labeled standard file folders. Place any loose records into folders. [Unit]

Step 2: Sending the transmittal

  • Complete one transmittal form for each transfer of records. If a transfer will consist of seven cartons, for example, then describe the contents of all seven on the one transmittal form. [Unit]
  • Create a list for each carton, noting carton number, folder numbers, folder titles, and date spans. Please spell out all abbreviations and acronyms. This list will assist you in the future to know what records your unit has transferred to the University Archives. [Unit]
  • Make a copy of the transmittal form and carton/folder list for your own records. Send an electronic version of the carton/folder list to Please save a copy on your own computer. Records cannot be transferred to the Archives until this form is submitted. A transfer must consist of at least two cartons to be accepted. [Unit]
  • Please allow only an authorized staff member to review and to sign the form. Except in the case of student organizations, short-term personnel, such as temporary employees or students, are not appropriate contacts. [Unit]

Step 3: Coordinating the transfer

  • A UARC staff member will confirm receipt of your transmittal request via e-mail or telephone and will schedule a visit to your office prior to the transfer. [UARC]
  • UARC will contact you to schedule a convenient pick-up date. [UARC]
  • Attach a copy of the transmittal form and the carton list to the shipment, on the outside of the cartons. Lightly tape the list for each carton to the front of the carton as the files face you. Please use pencil only if you write on the cartons. [Unit]
  • A final copy of the transmittal form will be sent to your office. [UARC]

Institutional record types generally suitable for transfer include:

  • Accreditation and self-study files
  • Alumni and student organizational files
  • Annual reports (institutional, departmental)
  • Architectural records
  • Correspondence
  • Grant files
  • Maps
  • Membership rosters
  • Memoranda
  • Minutes
  • Organizational charts
  • Planning documents
  • Policy and procedures manuals
  • Publications (particularly newsletters, brochures, handbooks, and catalogs)
  • Reference and subject files
  • Research project files
  • Speeches
  • Task force and ad hoc committee files
  • Annual financial statements
  • Audit reports
  • Ledgers
  • Marketing reports and surveys
  • Public relations materials (for example, press releases and advertising kits)
  • Legal documents (for example, briefs)
  • Legislative reports
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Artifacts (select)
  • Biographical material (for example, Bio-Bibliographies and curriculum vitae)
  • By-laws
  • Photographs (with identified subjects)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound and video recordings
Publications (produced by the unit)
  • Advertising kits
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Handbooks
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases
Institutional record types generally not suitable for transfer include:
  • Applications (job, scholarship, and the like)
  • Blank forms
  • Donor records
  • Duplicate copies
  • Equipment and software instructions
  • Faculty publications (reprints selectively accepted if included in faculty papers)
  • Grade books and grade reports
  • Invoices
  • Non-record materials
  • Personnel records
  • Purchase orders
  • Receipts
  • Records relating to other campuses, other than those reflected in systemwide records
  • Reimbursement requests
  • Requisitions
  • Student papers and dissertations
  • Student records
  • Tenure review documentation
  • UC Press publications

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