Skip to Main Content

Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

File & Record Transfer Toolkit: Transferring Records

Guidelines for transferring historical office files and records to Special Collections

Why Transfer Historical Records?

Lehigh Libraries' Special Collections serves as the institutional memory of the University by preserving a variety of records, documents and other materials. When the historical records accumulate in closets, basements, attics, hallways and corners, they are inaccessible and can easily be lost/ forgotten or destroyed (deaccessioned). But, if records of permanent historical, administrative, fiscal and/or legal value are transferred in an orderly way, the University Archives can provide safe storage, quick retrieval of files when needed, and assistance with information or research requests. 

Please consult with this document and check with Office of the General Counsel about the records management and retention policies regarding your office.


What to Transfer

In general, the Archives accepts records documenting University activities, functions, decisions, and/or policies and programs (both adopted and rejected), provided the records are not in active use by the office creating them. Desirable records include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizational charts
  • Constitutions and by-laws, minutes, and reports of boards, committees, task forces, or divisions
  • Correspondence documenting major decisions, actions, and events from key offices/administrators, including speech files
  • Records of official events including conferences and seminars, visits by dignitaries, and building dedication
  • Academic program materials, including internal evaluations, curriculum changes, and proposals for new programs
  • Policies and policy development files relating to the creation and revision of policies and procedures, handbooks, regulations, etc.
  • Accreditation materials
  • Summary of financial records
  • Publications (including publicity materials)
  • Audio visual materials including official or promotional photographs, films, sound and video recordings
  • Records of official events (conferences, commencements, etc.)
  • Faculty Papers
  • Student Scholarship documents
  • Artifacts and memorabilia: ONLY in the case of great importance to the history of the University and manageable in physical size and condition.
    Please note that the above list is intended as a general guide. If there are questions about records not listed here, please contact Special Collections.
  • Electronic Records: Disks, USB drives, Hard drives, External Drives, GoogleDrive / Dropbox storage

What NOT to

  • Active records: while records are still needed for regular consultation, it is more convenient for the staff of both the originating office and the Archives if they remain in the possession of the former;
  • Student records: check with the Registration and Academic Services for their policies on retention, destruction or transfer;
  • Personnel records: check with the Office of Academic Affairs or with Human Resources for their policies on retention, destruction or transfer;
  • Multiple copies: two (2) copies of most items is sufficient but, for nice photographs or "showy" publications, five (5) copies will be accepted;
  • Photocopies of materials gathered by faculty or staff from other repositories collected for personal research use and lectures.
  • Financial transaction documents, including but not limited to cancelled checks, invoices, ledger reports, petty cash vouchers and/or receipts or any non-final budget report (including budget requests).
  • Information transaction documents: information request forms, items-mailed forms, application for any items, ticket stubs and gate receipts, copies of credit card slips for payment.
  • Purchasing office supplies
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Submitting work orders
  • Duplicate files, records, publications
  • Restricted or confidential documents