Managing University Records


The following is a description of services that the University Archives and Records Management department offers. For more information, please contact

Records Management

  • helps offices assess their records and record types for retention and disposition.
  • provides advice about file management, offsite storage and policy compliance.
  • identifies records of enduring historical value for transfer to the Archives.

We are here to help you manage your records: What records do you need to keep; how long do you need to keep them for; how to dispose of records; and which to transfer to the Archives.

University Archives

  • takes custody of inactive records with enduring historical value.
  • provides inventories, access to your files and/or research services.

**All administrative records received by the University Archives are available to the originating office, but are automatically restricted for a period of 25 years from the date of creation for outside researchers.**

Training Slides

Records Management 101

Records Management 101

How long do I need to keep records? What are the rules and how do I apply them? Here are the basics you need to know.

University Archives 101

University Archives 101

What are records of enduring historical value? What belongs in the Archives? Learn how you can contribute to preserving the institutional history of Columbia.

Let's Play: Archival or Not

Let's Play: Archival or Not?

Have you mastered the basics? Take this quiz to find out if you can tell what is archival or not (or sometimes maybe).    

Better Habits for Email

Better Habits for Email

Trying to get your email inbox in order? Here are some tips on how to organize your inbox and manage email more efficiently.  Also, enjoy photos of early communication technology at Columbia.

File Naming Tips

File Naming Tips

Better file names help improve access, save time and enable longterm preservation of digital records. Consistent and clear names also aid collaboration. Here are some quick tips to get you started.

how to organized a shared drive

How to Organize a Shared Drive

Learn how to organize the files in your shared drive in a collaborative and sustainable way. And to help you in this exercise, see how the Columbia Crew team has worked together from the 1920 to the 1970s.


  • General Records Guidelines
    These guidelines serve as an introduction to records management and as a guide to existing policies and resources available on campus. These guidelines apply both to paper and electronic records.
  • Managing eFiles
    Most users are familiar with organizing file folders and filing cabinets in the paper world. Managing electronic records presents some different challenges. We have complied a list of best practices on how to organize electronic files in shared drives (folder systems), how to name files (naming conventions), and how to manage works in progress (version control).
  • Website Preservation
    As more and more publications go online, certain material is now only published on the University's website. Websites are university documents. Here is some information on how to create sites for preservation, how we archive websites and how you can help in these preservation efforts.
  • Record Packing Tips
    Not all records need to be kept readily available at all times. When files become less active and are only accessed sporadically, these records can be kept in storage areas or sent to offsite storage. Here are some tips on how to pack your records for storage.
  • Transferring Digital Records to the University Archives
    Here are some strategies on how to prepare your records when you are ready to transfer records of enduring historical value to the University Archives.