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Records Management

All employees of the College of William and Mary have legal and prudential obligations to retain and manage its records & Swem Library staff are available to assist you.

FAQ: Department/Offices

What to Send to the University Archives

  • Department correspondence and files (outgoing and incoming correspondence related to departmental and university matters, meeting minutes, annual reports, selfstudies, etc.)
  • Department policies and procedures
  • Publicity material including newsletters, fliers, posters, etc.
  • Professional correspondence and files
  • Teaching material (selected items including lecture notes, syllabi, and handouts)
  • Personal and biographical material (including diaries, memoirs, correspondence, etc.)
  • Publications (manuscripts, articles, works of art, etc.)
  • Speeches
  • Final reports of research, research notes (Due to wide variations in the nature of research data, it is best to consult with the University Archivist before discarding research notes and data.)
  • Audiovisual material of campus life and people (audio and film recordings and all photographic image formats)

What Not to Send to the University Archives

  • Multiple copies
  • Course catalogs, William and Mary News, Alumni Magazine, The Flat Hat, and other widely available publications
  • Grade sheets
  • Financial records (detailed financial records, canceled checks, receipts)
  • Other individuals’ personnel records (including search committee material)
    • Note that personnel records have very specific retention and destruction schedules according to the Library of Virginia’s General Schedules 103
  • Reference material (articles, books, etc. written by other people)
  • Records of students taught (grade books, class rosters, exams, papers, etc.)
    • Note that student records have very specific retention and destruction schedules according to the Library of Virginia’s General Schedule 111
  • Routine correspondence, especially non-personally addressed mail and routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment
  • Research notes and data if a summary of the data is available and transferred, bibliographic notes and notes on reading (Due to wide variations in the nature of research data, it is best to consult with the University Archivist before discarding research notes and data.)

Sending Material to the University Archives

Material should be transferred to the University Archives in the order in which it was maintained by its creator. It is generally not necessary for collections to be “organized” by creators before they are transferred to the University Archives as the original order of a collection can also be of interest to future researchers. A letter identifying the material and describing the activity to which they relate should accompany large transfers. Small amounts of material may be sent via campus mail with a note of transmittal. University Archives staff are available to retrieve more significant amounts of material (usually 1 box or more).

Office Moves

All offices and departments with a move in their future are encouraged to contact the University Archives for assistance in move preparations as pertains to transferring permanent records to the University Archives and/or destroying non-permanent records. The University Archives can provide training sessions, visit unit meetings for brief question and answer sessions, and/or provide one-on-one assistance to offices as staffing allows. Contact University Archives (email or call 757-221-3090) to discuss your records in preparation for your upcoming move.

FAQ: Personal Papers

Personal Papers for the University Archives

In addition to official records created in the daytoday work of the College, the University Archives in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) also collects information and materials by and about individuals who have been associated with William & Mary. Please review the University Archives Collection Policy for more information on what we collect.

A Note on Formats

All information formats (e.g., published, typescript, audiovisual, and electronic data, such as computer disks and files) are appropriate for consideration for transfer. For documents in formats requiring any form of machine intervention, such as videotapes, kinescopes, and all computer files, consideration should be given to transferring the equipment needed to access the documents or, preferably, converting the documents to a format accessible to the SCRC's users. Early consultation with SCRC staff is strongly encouraged for all such materials. Currently, William & Mary does not have comprehensive guidelines and best practices for preserving and maintaining access to email and other electronic records. Files may be retained in electronic or hard copy formats. As always, be sure to backup your files on a server or on portable media.


Due to federal and state privacy laws, student records, personnel records, medical records, or other records or research material containing personally identifiable information require special handling and may be restricted. In general, the University Archives does not retain such materials in personal papers. Such records should be segregated from other records, retained securely, and destroyed confidentially. Consult archivists in Special Collections for further information.

Request to Donate Personal Papers to the University Archives

If you would like to donate your personal papers to the University Archives, please fill out the online Request to Donate form or email to make arrangements.

Forms & Instructions


Library of Virginia RM-3 Preparation Instructions:    PDF or Videos

Certificate of Records Destruction    (RM-3 Online Form) - Required

Records Locator Inventory          (RM-20 form) - Optional