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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. Active records should not be sent to the Depository, 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. Please contact ARM for a consultation. The forms below are for requesting authorization of a destruction.

 ARM Form 

 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:

  • Policy development records

  • Maps and plans of buildings and property

  • Special project and event records, including photographs and videotapes

  • Records relating to faculty or students

  • Theses and dissertations 

  • Research project records

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