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Records Lifecycle Management

The Archives and Records Management Program provides support for all phases of the records lifecycle: 

  • Before records are created

ARM can help with identifying vital records, establishing smart filing structures, and choosing electronic document management systems. 

  • During a record's active life

ARM can consult with offices to better organize records in both electronic and print formats, suggest improvements to filing schemes, provide advice on formatting and records preservation, train employees to better manage records, and conduct records appraisal and scheduling. 

  • At the end of a record's active life 

ARM provides assistance with transferring records to the Harvard Depository, as well as destroying or archiving records.  


Using the Harvard Depository: 

Some records will become inactive before they are eligible for destruction or transfer to the Archives. Inactive records that must be retained for a year or more should be transferred to the Harvard Depository, a special records warehouse located in Southborough. The Depository's primary responsibility is to serve the storage and retrieval needs of Harvard's libraries, archives, and administrative offices. The Depository combines state-of-the-art construction with a streamlined service operation to provide depositors with an extraordinarily high level of physical control, environmental protection, and inventory security for their collections. By using the Depository, staff can clear offices of inactive records that absorb resources better dedicated to more active records. Active records, however, should not be sent to the Depository, where their retrieval incurs a charge. 


Destroying Records: 

University records may not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the General Records Schedule or an Office Specific Schedule approved by the Harvard University Archives. For more information, please contact ARM for a consultation. Also, please note the forms below for requesting authorization of a destruction and for documenting your actions.


 ARM Form 

(Click to Download)

 Document Type

 Form Description and/or Instructions 

Depository Destruction Request Form

Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Used to authorize destruction of records that are being stored at the Depository whose retention period has expired.

In-Office Destruction Documentation Form

MS Word 97 (.doc)

Used to document the destruction of records in your office whose retention period has expired.


Archiving Records: 

Harvard University requires that certain University records of historical significance and permanent value be transferred to the archives where they will be cataloged, preserved, and made accessible to authorized users in conjunction with the Center for the History of Medicine's world-famous holdings of rare books, journals, manuscripts, and artifacts. 

Once their office retention period has expired, records designated as "permanent" may be considered for transfer to the Archives. The Archives seeks to preserve access to records of long term value that document the education, research, and patient care missions of the medical school community, its goals, objectives, programs, and people. The Archives acquires inactive records generated in the course of official business; some of these include:

  • Administrative correspondence from high-level offices

  • Extra institutional and governmental relations correspondence

  • Policy development records

  • Committee records and reports

  • Maps and plans of buildings and property

  • Faculty records

  • Program development and implementation records

  • Publicity, press releases, and publications

  • Speeches and presentations

  • Special project and event records, including photographs and videotapes

  • Course proposals, description, and evaluation records

  • Curriculum development and review records

  • Records relating to students, student groups and activities

  • Theses and dissertations 

  • Research project records

Contact ARM by email, phone 617-432-6194, or fax 617-432-4737 for more information or for personalized records management assistance