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ECU University History and Records: Transfer to Archives

Guidance on managing university records at ECU, including using the records schedule, digital records, sensitive records, and transferring records with historical value..

What to Send to the University Archives

University Archives collects and preserves records of permanent value that document the University’s history. These records cover the entire history of ECU. The Records Schedule provides guidance as to what series of records should be retained permanently and which should be transferred to the University Archives. In general, this is a very small portion of the records created in your office.  University Archives collects materials in both physical and digital formats.

Examples of institutional records that are preserved by University Archives: 

  • Meeting minutes and agendas
  • Correspondence (email or printed) that documents major decisions or functions in your department
  • Final reports and documents from committee work and projects
  • Strategic planning and policy development

To transfer materials to University Archives, please submit a request to or contact University Archivist Alston Cobourn.  We are also happy to answer questions.

Life of a Permanent Record

Once permanent records are transferred to the University Archives, we do a quick review of the transfer to check that everything you intended to transfer is present and in the order described in the transfer form. If there are additional materials present, or if we have questions about some of the materials, we will contact you for more information.   

We then begin the process of making these records available for researchers: 

  • If necessary, we re-folder or re-box the records for preservation purposes. If the records are digital, we complete a series of digital preservation procedures.
  • If you indicated that any of the records you transferred contain confidential information, we review and address those records — usually separating them from the rest of the collection and closing access to them for a set period of time. We do not conduct a page-by-page review to determine if there are additional sensitive records — we count on the transferring office to identify any records that may contain sensitive information. 
  • The records are stored in Joyner Library, in a secure, climate-controlled environment.
  • So that researchers know what records we have, we create an online collection guide for the materials, or add to an existing guide. While writing or editing the collection guide, we may contact you to make sure we're describing the records properly and have all the dates and department names correct.  All of our collection guides are available here.

Once the records are described, researchers can view the collection guide online, request materials, and use them in a reading room in Joyner Library.

Preparation for Transferring Records

You may have records in your office that should be transferred to the University Archives for historical purposes. You will need to do some review to prepare records for transfer. The following steps prepare you to work with us on transferring records to Joyner Library:

  • Survey the records to determine what you have.
  • Determine what records are scheduled for permanent retention in the University Archives. Remove duplicates and records that are not scheduled for permanent retention. (See Using the Records Schedule)
  • Flag permanent records that contain confidential or sensitive information.
  • House all physical files in folders and standard size (12″ x 15″ x 10″) banker boxes
    • Move records from binders into folders, copying any title from the binder onto the new folders in pencil.
    • Replace damaged folders, copying the label from the damaged folder onto the new folder in pencil.
  • Schedule a consultation with University Archives staff. After the consultation, we'll ask you to complete a records transfer form describing the records you will be transferring to the University Archives and work with you to coordinate the transfer.
  • For digital files, we will determine method of transfer, during the consultation.

About University Archives

University Archives is the final, central repository for East Carolina University records of permanent historical value, including documents created by ECU’s administration, offices, colleges, departments, student groups and faculty members as well as items from alumni about their time as students. The records held in University Archives span the period from the chartering of the University in 1907 to the present.  These materials are open to the public for research use.

Learn more on the University History and Records website