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.


Have you...

  • prepared the cover memo and file list?
  • put the files/records in boxes using appropriate boxes recommended?
  • written the box number on the each of the boxes (bellow one of the handles only)?
  • added the box numbers to the appropriate places on the file list?
  • emailed the cover memo and file list to the records.archives [at] (MUA Records Management Service)?
  • received authorization from the MUA to transfer the files?
  • made shipping arrangements and provided the MUA with shipping date at least two days in advance?
  • kept a copy of 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 (permanent or semi-active) 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

At the top of the file list, please include the following information:

  • the name of the unit sending the records, and the faculty name
  • the full name of staff member responsible for the transfer
  • the phone number and email of the staff member
  • the page number and number of pages in list: (1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.)

Please make sure your listing includes:

  • the box number in which the files are placed
  • the file title (or description)
  • the date/year of each file (where possible)
  • the type of record (for example, student records, staff records, administrative records,
    committee minutes, financial records)

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.

B. Prepare a cover memo

Please include the following information:

  • the name of the unit that created the records
  • the name of the person responsible for the records
  • the total number of boxes
  • a written summary (1 to 3 sentences) describing the material
  • the years the material covers
  • the contact information of the person transferring the records

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 by email. Shipment arrangements should await the authorization of the MUA. Transfers not preceded by a file list and approval for transfer to the 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 the MUA, please contact your preferred moving vendor. Once you have a date, records.archives [at] (contact the MUA). At least two days advanced notice of the transfer date is appreciated. 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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