University Records Center

The BGSU University Records Center provides secure long-term storage for campus business and academic records.  These records are governed by retention guidelines which require materials to be maintained in order to be legally or fiscally compliant with laws and regulations.  Also, sometimes records are retained because they have administrative value and are not yet ready to be disposed of.  Inactive records which are not frequently consulted but which need to be retained for a designated period of time can be transferred to the Records Center where they can be stored securely and disposed of appropriately at the end of their retention period. 

Proper preparation of records for storage in the Records Center ensures prompt servicing of those records when retrievals are needed and prompt disposal once retention periods have passed.  Following the guidelines provided here will help both your office and the Records Manager properly handle your physical records.

Examples of kinds of record series stored at the Records Center include:

  • Personnel records
  • Grant records
  • Payroll documents
  • Fiscal operations records
  • Student financial aid records
  • International student records
  • Student services case files
  • Incident and/or arrest records
  • Equity and Diversity records

Examples of kinds of materials that should not be retained at the Records Center

  •  Multiple copies of reports, studies, etc., particularly if can be regenerated from electronic resources
  •  Materials that duplicate items already in the University Archives (annual reports, accreditation studies)
  •  Records and documents that have passed their retention periods
  •  Blank or unused forms
  •  Old letterhead, brochures, stationary

The timing of sending records for storage to the Records Center is a decision to be made after evaluating the individual needs of your office.  In general, it is suggested that you assess your frequency of access and the convenience of having the records on hand in the office.  You can then weigh that against the personnel and space costs of having the records onsite.  There is no absolute guidelines for when it is appropriate to send records to the Records Center.  However, records that are accessed frequently or that have short retention periods should not be sent.  Contact the Records Manager to discuss whether or not a group of records is an appropriate candidate for the Records Center.

It is important that the boxes used to send records to the Records Center are sturdy and will hold up to the weight of the paper inside them and to being stacked.  Boxes that are not sufficiently sturdy may not be accepted into the Records Center and will be returned to the department of origin for reboxing.

Boxes for Records Center use can be purchased from Ohio Penal Industries.  Select "Records" from the menu and then product CP103 (Full Records Storage Boxes).  As of January 2018, the cost for a bundle of 10 boxes was $17.50.  Boxes can also be purchased at office supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples.  If purchasing from an office supply store, be sure to select heavy duty boxes rather than "economy" or "light duty" options.  These are not sturdy enough for records center use.

Boxes should be the standard 10H x 12W x 15"D size.  Anything larger is too large for records center use.

The Records Center maintains a small supply of empty boxes in case a department only needs a few boxes.  To check on the availability of empty cartons for reuse, contact the Records Manager.

How many boxes will you need?  You need approximately 2 records cartons per full filing cabinet drawer of letter-sized materials or 3 records cartons per full filing drawer of legal-sized materials.

Records cartons are shipped flat for easier storage until they are needed.  Instructions on how to assemble the boxes are usually on the side of the carton.  If you have any questions on assembly, however, please contact the Records Manager.

Organizing Records

Records should be organized into record series (sets of records that are identical in form and/or function) and that have the same date range.

Indicate the earliest and latest dates (or alphabetical range) of the records in each box.

Do not combine different record series in the same box.  If it is not possible to fully fill a box with just one record series, consider whether those records could continue to be maintained in the office, or fill the void with crumpled paper so the files stand up straight or lay them down in the box.

Packing Boxes

Do not put 3 ring binders or hanging folders in boxes.  Both tend to damage the box, making it less protective of the records inside and more likely to fall apart when being moved.  The hanging folders break down the sides of the box and 3 ring binders are often too tall to securely place the lid of the top of the box. Instead, remove the contents of a binder or hanging file and place in a regular file folder – be sure to copy the labelling of the original binder or hanging folder onto the regular file folder.  

Box lids need to fit tightly in order to be used in the Records Center.  If absolutely necessary to keep materials in binders or hanging folders, lay the binders flat in the box, without pushing out the sides of the box, and use only letter sized hanging folders filed in the legal sized direction so the  ends are not hanging off the side of the box.  

Records must be packed in standard size boxes to fit on Records Center shelving.  Standardized boxes can be ordered through Ohio Penal Industries, as described above.   There is a cost to these boxes, but that is the only cost of using the University Records Center.  

The weight of each records carton should not exceed 40 pounds.  If you are unable to lift a box off the floor, the Records Manager will not be able to lift it up onto a shelf.  Overweight and oversized boxes may be returned to the office of origin for reboxing. 

Records should be packed into the box in the same order they are kept at the office of origin.  This will assist in box labelling and in material retrieval if necessary.   In the event that records in a file cabinet (or other storage location) are not arranged in a logical order, they must be put in some order before packing the box.  This will facilitate the retrieval of materials if necessary.  The Records Manager should not need to review the entire contents of a box to locate the necessary information.  Providing some order to the files will also make creating an inventory of the records more efficient. 

All records in the box should have the same destruction date.  This will facilitate disposal of the records when the time comes.  The Records Manager is not responsible for going through boxes to select materials to be destroyed – either the entire box is destroyed or none of it is.  Retaining materials longer that required can have legal, fiscal, and other implications and should be avoided if at all possible. 

If boxes are packed properly, it should not be necessary to tape the lids onto the box – this slows down retrieval times.

Do not underpack boxes – this allows the records to slide down/bend over and damages them.  It also makes it more likely that a box will collapse under the weight of the box on top of it.  Crumple up paper and add to the box if necessary to keep files upright. 

And do not overpack boxes – this weakens them and makes them more likely to tear or otherwise breakdown – putting the records inside and Records Center staff at risk.  Leave approximately ½ inch of room at the back of each box to allow for easier retrieval.

Do not place files on the top of records already in the box.  This interferes with the box lid fitting securely (and therefore fitting on the records center shelving) and also damages the folders underneath.

 

Use the Records Center Box Label to label boxes being sent to the Records Center.  Fill out all fields on the label.  Place the label on the short side of the box.

Once boxes have been packed and labeled they are ready to be sent to the University Records Center.  Make sure you keep an inventory of what is in each box.  The Records Center and Records Manager are not responsible for knowing the exact contents of every box.  If items need to be retrieve it is up to the requestor to tell the Records Manager what box and the exact folder name in the box.  The Records Manager will not do broad searches of boxes for needed records.  

To send boxes to the Records Center, let the Records Manager know how many boxes are to be sent and their current location.  The Records Manager will then coordinate with Campus Operations to have the boxes picked up and delivered to the Records Center.  Pick up of boxes usually will take place within a week of the request being sent to the Records Manager.