Transfer to the University Archives

Questions the we hear routinely hear from units we visit around the university include:

  • What decisions should be made about existing records in units?
  • What practices should be followed going forward?
  • How can risks be avoided and how can recordkeeping be streamlined for maximum efficiency?
  • How exactly can the Bentley help?
The Bentley offers onsite, free consultations to address these questions.  Answers are based on an analysis of a unit’s records environment and on current best practices in recordkeeping with an awareness of institutional, legal, fiscal, and historical values and risks that University of Michigan records may contain.


To transfer digital files

The Bentley accepts records in digital formats, whether they have been continuously maintained in digital format since creation, or whether they have been digitized from analog formats. We prefer for files to arrive on hard drives, USB drives, DVDs/CDs or cloud transfers. Howerver, tools and procedures for transferring digital files are subject to change as systems and formats continue to evolve.

see also Sensitive Data Guide to IT Services

To transfer paper files

  1. Identify records for transfer.
  2. Contact the archives and obtain archival-quality Paige boxes.
  3. Fill and label the boxes.
  4. Provide the Bentley with a Memo of Transfer in hard copy and via e-mail.
  5. Contact an archivist at to arrange delivery of your records to the Bentley Historical Library.

How are records accessed after they are transferred to the archives?

After records are transferred to the Bentley Historical Library and processed, members of the Bentley staff can help units, departments and offices gain access to records they may need. Bentley staff are also available to help with requests origination from University units that relate to matters of general University history. Depending on the nature and complexity of the inquiry, these requests may be forwarded to the Bentley’s reference staff. The Bentley Historical Library Reference staff offers assistance in person, by phone, and by email.


What happens to records that are not transferred to the University Archives?

Certain types of records may not have long-term historical value but must still be maintained for legal or financial compliance purposes. Such records may include financial records, grant documentation, and student and personnel records. Before undertaking the long-term storage of your records, it is important to know how long records must be kept in accordance to University policy, industry standards, and legal compliance.  Any unit, department or office interested in learning more about retention requirements is encouraged to contact the program at