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Records Transfers

The University Archives is the repository of the historically valuable documentation of South Dakota State University units and individuals, including faculty, staff, and administrators

Where do I start?

Transferring your records is easy! Please start by giving us a call at 605-688-4906 or 605-688-5094. We'll ask a few questions about your files that will save you some time in advance. An archivist may make a site visit to assess your records and offer advice.

What types of materials should be sent to University Archives?

The guidelines below were drafted to assist staff and faculty in determining which kinds of records are of potential historical or long-term administrative value. These records should be regularly and routinely transferred to the Archives. The guidelines are organized to reflect the types of records usually associated with particular offices and individuals. The guidelines are not comprehensive, though. Please consult the Archives before destroying or removing records.

Records accepted by the University Archives include:

  • Accreditation, program review, and self-study records, both internal and external. May include reports, correspondence, questionnaires, and other related materials.
  • Administrative files. General records concerning the administration of the university and its colleges, departments, and programs. Files may include reports, memoranda, and correspondence.
  • Alumni materials. This includes directories, reports, and publications.
  • Annual Operating Budget Requests.
  • Annual reports of the university and its units.
  • Audio-Visual Files: Films, sound recordings, and other audio-visual recordings created through activities, functions, facilities, and staff. Recordings must be identified in some way (such as dates, names, or captions). All formats are accepted, including digital.
  • Audits. Final reports and appendices only.
  • Biographical materials of long-term faculty and senior administrative staff. May include obituaries, memorial service programs, interviews, and curriculum vitae. (Please note that promotions and tenure files do not come to the Archives).
  • Budgets. Summary reports and appendices only.
  • Calendars of events
  • Certificates and awards
  • Committees and Councils Files: Records concerning committees and councils that are either internal to the department or division or are university-wide in nature and govern the activities of the department or division. Files may consist of minutes, proceedings, reports, notifications, correspondence, and related files.
  • Constitution and by-laws
  • Course descriptions and schedules
  • Correspondence: Files of both general and intracampus correspondence. Widely distributed correspondence originating from the office should be kept. This includes e-mail. Drafts, routine acknowledgments and transmitters, and copies of widely distributed correspondence and memorandums not created by the department should be weeded before transfer. Confidential correspondence should be handled in accordance with university policies.
  • Curriculum development records. Documenting the development and planning for courses offered at the University. May include correspondence, memoranda, proposals, and faculty recommendations.
  • Grants. Materials documenting awarded grants. May include proposals, interim and final reports and summary data. All other records may be discarded after administrative and legal retentions are met.
  • Photographs, negatives, slides, and digital images. All formats, documenting University activities, functions, facilities, and its faculty, staff and students. Must be identified in some way (such as dates, names, or captions).
  • Planning records. Records of the university and its colleges and departments documenting its mission and goals. May include reports, correspondence, and policy and program proposals.
  • Meetings files. May include agendas, minutes, and reports.
  • Policies and procedures files. Material specific to the University, documenting past and present policies and procedures.
  • Promotional materials. May include brochures, flyers, and similar items.
  • Publications. One copy each, includes newsletters, magazines, reports.
  • Research projects. May include proposals, interim and final reports and summary data. All other records may be discarded after administrative and legal retentions are met.
  • Speech files. Speeches, addresses, or comments made while representing the university.

This list pertains to both digital and paper records. The list is by no means definitive or exhaustive. This is intended as a general approximation of materials that document the units of South Dakota State University. Materials not specifically cited above that contribute toward documenting unit activities are, of course, welcome.

Please also follow the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) Records Retention Manual.

Preparing your files

This step-by-step guide covers the basics of preparing and sending your records to the archives.

Where do I begin?

First, you should determine what files you have and how often you need to access them. If you have files that are important, but are not needed for current business, please contact the University Archives and talk to us about the files you want transferred. We will provide you with a list of common types of records we would like to add to the archives and common items that we do not accept in the archives. If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Where do I get boxes?

Bankers boxes with handles are recommended; however, the boxes used for reams of paper will also work. We can help you estimate the number of boxes you will need. Normally one file drawer 20 inches deep is equivalent to one archives box. Please let us know if you need assistance in boxing the files.

How do I prepare the files for transfer?

When you have the boxes, start by removing files from filing cabinets. Place the files into the boxes in the same order as they were in the cabinet. Please do not pack the boxes too tightly! You should be able to comfortably slide your hand into the box and covers should fit snugly.

Create a brief summary description of the materials and include the relevant information:

  • Name of department
  • Approximate date span of records
  • Summary of contents (e.g., self-study report and correspondence, 1980-1981; curriculum planning files and minutes, 1991-1994)
  • Total number of boxes

Number each box in pencil only in the following format: Box 1 of 2 Box 2 of 2

Contact us when you're ready to arrange for the transfer.

What happens to the files after they are sent to the archives?

Our staff will review, organize, and describe the files. We will remove some types of materials such as duplicates, routine transactional records (like travel vouchers), and certain types of personal information. We will also remove any materials that would be better suited for the library’s circulating collection instead of the Archives. If you have questions or concerns about materials removed after you send the boxes to Archives, please let us know as soon as possible.

Depending on the current filing scheme and the age and condition of the materials, we may physically rearrange the materials and re-folder some or all of the materials. Once that's done, we will prepare a summary description of the material with administrative information and a box container list. In some cases, we will prepare a more detailed folder listing. This information is compiled into a collection guide or finding aid that will go online and make the collection accessible to you, others in the University, and the public. You can look at some examples of finding aids on our website.

How will I access the files?

The files will always be available for your use onsite in the Archives, and reference service by phone or e-mail is available for many types of requests. The online finding aid will serve as your new list and you can reference it when you call us. In some cases, we can mark up your original list with the new box numbers and return it to you if you need it as a cross-reference. If this is a particular concern, please be sure to ask at the time of transfer.

Materials in the Archives are retained permanently with very few exceptions. Because the materials are rare or unique, they must be used onsite in our secure reading room. If you need photocopies, we can provide them for you according to our photocopying policy.

Please contact us in advance of your visit so that the materials will be ready for you in the reading room when you arrive. Some parts of the collections are stored offsite and may require a day or two to retrieve. In any case, we always appreciate advance notice if you plan to visit.

The Archives reading room is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 4:30, and by special arrangement.

More questions? Contact us!