The first step in transferring records to the archives is identifying and locating the records to be transferred, and the approximate number of containers (e.g. folders, boxes, drawers, etc.) as applicable. Any labeling of containers that can be done before transfer will aid in the efficiency of processing and making the records accessible. Preparing a written inventory of records identified for transfer to the archives will also make the process more efficient. The University Archivist can provide guidance on preparing records for transfer.
Once you have identified and prepared a set of records to transfer to the archives, contact the University Archivist to schedule a records appraisalⓘ. This is not a monetary appraisal. The archivist will assess the records’ alignment with the University Archives’ mission, and review the records for content, size, and any preservation needs. The archivist may also have questions for the records stewardⓘ related to the context in which the records were created or used. The appraisal can result in a decision to transfer all, some, or none of the designated records to the archive. This decision will be made by the University Archivist in consultation with the records steward, and in compliance with the retention schedule.
With some exceptions, the University Archivist will generally discard the following types of records:
Due to unique preservation and access concerns, SJSU Special Collections & Archives acquires audio/visual recordings on a limited basis, especially when stored on media no longer widely in use or requiring technology for playback that is difficult to gain access to.
Following appraisal, and a decision to transfer all or some of the records to the archive, the University Archivist and records steward will agree on a day and time to transfer the records. The University Archivist will prepare a Records Transfer Form for the records steward’s signature, and will take custody of the records. For physical records this may involve boxing materials on site. For digital records this may involve transferring files to an external hard drive or thumb drive.
The University Archives recommends scheduling recurring appraisals and transfers to take place at the same time of year, every year, with a designated records steward. Contact the University Archivist to discuss the best time of year for your office, department, or organization to enact these transfers.
The University Archivist documents each transfer of records, stores the transferred records in a secure, climate controlled vault, and schedules the records for processing. Dates by which records will be processed and available to the public cannot be guaranteed due to the unique nature of every set of records. Processing often though not always involves reviewing the records, creating a processing plan, preservation activities such as refoldering or encapsulation, arrangingⓘ (i.e. organizing) records in numbered and labeled folders and boxes, and creating or updating the collection finding aid (i.e. collection guide). Processing can take hours or years depending on the size and complexity of the collection. Once a collection is processed, the finding aid will be published or updated on the Online Archive of California, and be available for researchers within and beyond campus, unless access restrictions are in place.