Preparing and Sending Boxed Records for Storage

When should I send records for storage?

Ordering and receiving boxes

Putting boxes together

Packing your records

Completing the Box Transfer Form

Having boxes picked up

The cataloging process

Sending material for shredding

Generation of reports

Proper preparation of your records before they arrive at Records Management ensures fast and accurate cataloging of your material, and facilitates access to those records in the future. Following the guidelines below will help both your office and Records Management properly handle your physical records.

When should I send physical records for storage?

The timing of sending records to storage is a decision best made after evaluating the individual needs of your office. In general, Records Management suggests that you assess your access frequency and the convenience value of having the records on hand. You can then weigh that against the personnel and space costs of having the records on site.

Obviously, there is no absolute guideline for determining when the balance tips in favor of sending a set of material to Records Management. That decision is left up to the Records Custodian.

Contact the Records Manager, the Records Analyst or the Records Center Supervisor if you'd like more guidance.


Ordering and receiving boxes.

Boxes for your records can be ordered through the RMS On-Line System. A full description of using this system can be found in the RMS On-Line Help System, which includes a video tour of ordering empty boxes.  

Only boxes ordered directly from Records Management (and with the Records Management Box ID bar code already applied) can be used for sending records to storage.  When ordering empty boxes, you will need to know the following information

  • Quantity of boxes requested
  • Delivery location
  • Account number to charge

Both the delivery location (building and room) and the account number to charge will default to the information in your contact record, although you can change those values when you submit an individual request.

You will want to order approximately 2 boxes for each full file drawer of letter size material or 3 boxes for each file drawer of legal size material. Material in Pendaflex hanging folders is packed as if it were legal size (see Packing Your Records below).

NOTE: Yes, there is a charge for these boxes ($2.00 each). This is the only charge incurred for any Records Management service.

Putting boxes together.

When you receive the boxes they will arrive flat. The steps to fold the box are printed on the side. If you have any problems following these instructions, call Records Management for more help.

Packing your records.

The packing guidelines are printed on the side of each box. They are included and expanded upon here for reference.

  • Use Records Management boxes only. See Ordering and receiving boxes above. It is important that only these boxes (which will have Records Management Box ID bar codes already applied) be used. 
  • Pack only one type of record (record series) in each box. If you have any questions about how best to separate your material, contact Records Management. Keeping the material separate allows material to be disposed based upon record series retention policies.
  • Do not send Pendaflex hanging folders. Hanging folders eventually destroy the box, often within the first year of storage. If you must include Pendaflex, pack the files lengthwise in the box to avoid them hanging on the cardboard edges.
  • Do not put any markings on the box. Records Management is a secure facility. Boxes have no labels other than the computer numbers assigned. Any writings you put on the box must be taped over. This is done so that in the event of a security breach no material could be found by browsing the labels on the boxes.

Completing the Box Transfer Form, and submitting a pickup request

Box Transfer forms are now completed electronically, using the RMS On-Line system.  See the user documentation for more information, including a video tour of how to use the on-line Box Transfer process.  

The Box Transfer form contains information vital to the proper cataloging of your material. Careful completion of this form is the single most important step in ensuring accurate access, retention and disposition of your records.  Note that you must complete one on-line form for for each series you are sending to Records Management, but multiple boxes may be included on a single form.  If you need to send more than one record series, simply complete a new for for each one.

The boxes will usually be picked up within 4-6 working hours.

If you have any questions on these packing guidelines, contact Records Management.


The cataloging process

When your material arrives at the Records Management facility, it undergoes a process called "accessioning." In this process the material is cataloged into the RMS On-Line system and itemized on several levels, from the broadest "Department" level to the most specific "File" level. A quick discussion of this system will allow you to better understand how your material is cataloged, and thus make more informed requests.

The Records Management hierarchical catalog contains the following levels:

  • Department. Your department has a single four digit number, which applies to all material your department produces. At this level is information such as your department name, the name of the Records Custodian, and relevant contact information.
  • Series. Each department will typically produce several record series. Each series has a single four digit number to identify it. Also stored at this level is information such as the series name, the retention period, the disposition method, notes on typical contents, organization schemes, etc.
  • Accession. Each record series will typically have several accessions, each representing group of boxes for that series. For instance, each year of the series "Purchasing Card Transactions" could be a separate accession.  Likewise, each class year for student files could be an accession. Each accession is identified by a seven digit number.
  • Box. Each accession will typically have several boxes. This level of cataloging corresponds with each physical box placed on the shelves. Each box is identified by a six digit number. Information cataloged at this level also includes box content descriptions, box location numbers, dates covered, hold status, disposition due date, etc.
  • File. The final and most detailed cataloging level is the file title. Each box will typically have many files, and each file is identified by a unique seven digit number, along with the file title itself.

In utilizing this scheme, a typical file will thus be catalogued with a series of identifiers, as follows:

       DPTN: 1053
SERN: 2462
ACCN: 2005120
BOXN: 101487
FILN: 1450274

Accession, and file numbers are assigned by Records Management upon receipt of the material. However, department and series numbers will be assigned by properly completing a Box Transfer form through the RMS On-Line system. If you are sending a new type of material for Records Management, you will be prompted by the Box Transfer form, to provide initial cataloging information.  See the user guide for Sending Boxed 

NOTE: One additional level of cataloging should be noted, and that is for each record retrieval request. Obviously, most files will never be referenced. But those that are may have one or many individual requests. Information cataloged at this level includes the date and time of the request, the person making the request, and other important tracking information, such as return dates and times.


Boxes of confidential materials for shredding will be picked up on the first Wednesday of every month.  (There is never a pick-up scheduled for June.)  There is no cost associated with this service.  College Records Management pays for all the FO&M charges for this important service.


The main goal of the Dartmouth Confidential Documents and Materials Shred Program is to make it as easy as possible for Departments to securely and regularly dispose of confidential materials that do not need to be retained.  Many College Departments regularly produce confidential material that can be disposed without needing storage by Records Management.  Often these materials are transitory in nature, and are not considered records.  Nevertheless, these materials still need to be securely shredded due to the confidential information they contain.  These materials can be paper, or they may be CDs / DVDs or small hard drives.

Records Management owns the College Shred Program, but works with Facilities Operations and Management (FO&M) to pick up material for shredding.  Please note that FO&M picks up ONLY the materials to be shredded.  Boxed records that need to be sent to the Records Management Center (RMC) for storage are picked up by Records Management.  Separating the storage and shred pick-ups helps to eliminate any chance of records getting mixed up as shred when they need to be stored, or vice versa.

Note also that DHMC provides their own shredding service for offices in the hospital complex.  DHMC Offices should use the DHMC service, rather than this Shred service.  Please contact the DHMC Facilities Office for more information.

Below are the procedures to follow when sending material to be shredded:

Send Only Confidential Material: All material sent for shredding must be confidential in nature. (Non-confidential paper material may be recycled in regular paper recycling bins located across campus.)  Please do not include “trash” in this shred material.  Remember, shredding is a costly service that is being provided free of charge.  If you have questions about what constitutes confidential material, please contact Records Management.

Examples of what to send to be shredded (Business-Related)

  • Duplicates or non-record copies, drafts, transitory lists, college-related transitory correspondence / emails / letters, hand written notes from meetings, etc.

Examples of what NOT to send to be shredded (Personal / Non-Business)

  • Business / greeting cards, public documents, newspapers, personal correspondence / emails / letters, personal notes, personal photos / pictures/images, etc.

Box and Seal All Material: Records Management boxes are the best to use, but empty copy paper boxes may be used.  Plastic bags are not acceptable.  Do not use oversized boxes that would be difficult or dangerous to lift when full.  Do not over pack boxes.  Use lids that fit, and securely seal the boxes closed with packing tape.  FO&M will refuse to pick up any boxes that have not been sealed properly.

Label All Boxes: Use a dark permanent marker, and write the word “SHRED” clearly on each box in several visible locations.  This step is very important, as it further ensures that no material will be picked up for shredding that is intended for storage.  FO&M will refuse to pick up any boxes that have not been clearly labeled with the word “SHRED”.  Do NOT label the boxes as “Confidential”.

Lock Up / Secure Boxes: All boxes for shred pickups must be kept in a locked location until the day of the pickup.  On the first Wednesday of the month, your boxes should continue to be locked, or they may be held securely in a Department office / lobby that is not open to the public, and where the sealed boxes are always visible by the person responsible for them.  They need to remain secured until the time that they are physically handed over to FO&M staff for pickup.  They are never to remain unsecured in a public location.

Contact The Work Control Office:  Send an email message to the Work Control Office, indicating where you are located, and how many boxes of material need to have picked up. You must email at least three working days prior to one of the pickup dates in order to be included on that day’s schedule.  The FO&M staff will pick up the material and transport it to the RMC for secure destruction.  Contact information:


Note: Up to 50 boxes of materials may be sent from a Department each month.  If your needs exceed this limit, please contact Records Management directly.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These procedures apply only to materials that are NOT active records of the College.  Any boxed records that should be stored at the RMC by Records Management must be handled separately.  For pickup of boxed records, contact Records Management. Last Update: May 24, 2017.

Generation of reports

Customized reports can be generated in Excel format, directly from the RMS On-Line system. See the user documentation for more information. 

If you need a special report that is customized to suit your needs, contact the Records Manager or the Records Analyst.

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Intro | Record Production | Retention | Sending Records | Accessing Records | RMS On-Line | Returning Records | Disposition | Forms