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Transferring records to McGill University Archives

Before preparing a transfer, please note:

  • There are no fees associated with records storage, retrieval or destruction services at the archives.
  • The McGill University Archives (MUA) does not pay for shipping of records – offices must use a courier, moving company, or other secure delivery method.
  • Before sending any records, all transfers to the MUA must be accompanied by a file list and cover memo and have the authorization from MUA staff after a site visit.


  • Prepared your cover memo and file list.
  • Use standard boxes recommended by McGill Archives.
  • Write box numbers on the front your boxes (not on the sides).
  • Email the cover memo and file list to records.archives [at] (MUA Records Management Service).
  • Get authorization from MUA to transfer the files.
  • Provide MUA with shipping date at least two days in advance.
  • Keep the cover memo and file list with your records.

Requesting records from the McGill Archives

Please make your requests via email to records.archives [at] The archives accession number, added by the Archives to your transfer list, must be cited along with the relevant box number, and the file title.

Step 1

Records must be accompanied by a file list and a cover memo. The file list is critical in ensuring your access to the records later.

A. Prepare a file list

    Please make sure your listing includes:

    • Box number in which the files are placed
    • File title (or description)
    • Date/year of each file (where possible)
    • Type of record (classification number)

    List the files in the order they appear in the box.

    For boxes going for immediate destruction, a summary list of the material by box will suffice. A file-by-file listing is not required in these cases.

    Also, please include on your list the following information:

    • Full name of staff member, their unit and faculty responsible for the transfer
    • Phone number and email of the staff member
    • Number your pages (e.g. 1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.)

    B. Prepare a cover memo

    Please include the following information:

    • Name of the person responsible for the records, their unit and faculty
    • Total number of boxes
    • A 1 to 3 sentence summary describing the material
    • Year(s) covered
    • contact information of the person transferring the records (if different from above)

    If is preferred that you include the cover memo information in your email request and not attach it as a separate file.

    C. Email the list and memo

    Send your file list and cover memo to records.archives [at] MUA staff will review your file list and authorize your transfer and give you further information, including how to make shipment arrangements.

    Transfers not preceded by a file list and/or authorization by MUA will not be accepted.

    Step 2

    Packaging your records

    • Boxes should be standard banker’s box (measuring approximately 10” X 12.5” X 16”)
    • Fill boxes to capacity (you should be able to fit your hand comfortably but snugly inside the box)
    • Remove all hanging folders and binders
    • Put a complete box listing into box 1 of the accession. Do not tape box lists to the outside of boxes
    • Label the front of each box with the box number and the name of your unit. (Box numbers should be consecutive within each shipment even if parts of the shipment come from different offices or areas within your office)

    For boxes going for immediate destruction:

    • Standard boxes are not required
    • Please make sure the boxes will survive transportation without falling apart
    • Large moving boxes (also known as 2 cubic foot boxes) are not preferred as they become too heavy when filled with paper

    Box inspection

    Please be advised the MUA will need to perform a spot check on your boxes to ensure that the material to be transferred adheres to our standards and procedures.

    Shipping records

    Following authorization by MUA, please contact the moving company suggested by MUA staff. Once you have a date, records.archives [at] (contact the MUA) to give at least two days notice of the transfer. Your unit is responsible for costs associated with shipping.

    Please, lightly tape boxes closed before shipping (using 1 or 2 small strips of packing tape to ensure the lid stays closed).

    • Remember to keep one copy of the list and memo in a central, common and secure location to facilitate file retrieval and institutional memory.
    • Upon receipt and processing of your records (for semi-active and permanent only), MUA will send an acknowledgment memo indicating the accession number of your material.
    • New employees who are responsible for record keeping should be made aware of these memos and lists.

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