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MIT Records Management Program: Storage & retrieval

Services during COVID-19 campus emergency

The Institute Records Management Program continues to offer remote services, such as information management guidance for both digital and physical records, and a new Imaging on Demand service for files already in the RM program. Physical delivery and storage of new boxes to Iron Mountain are on hold until our staff is back on campus. Please contact us at rmprogram@mit.edu for any questions or to discuss the new Imaging on Demand service.

Records storage

Before preparing records for transfer to storage, please contact the Records Management Program to discuss your transfer and ensure that the records storage center is the proper destination for your records.

These instructions apply only to non-permanent records, i.e., records with well-defined record retention periods of finite duration. Each box of records must have a date of destruction assigned. Boxes without destruction dates will not be approved for transfer to storage. The records must be packed, listed, labeled, and barcoded according to the following instructions:


  1. Packing the records

    1. Use Paige boxes. The Paige Box Company can be reached at 1-800-223-1901 x 179. The box number to order is #MB-15. Paige accepts MIT credit cards or purchase orders.

    2. Pack only one type of record per box. For example, purchase orders should not be boxed with travel vouchers.

    3. Remove files from Pendaflex or hanging folders. They do not fit into the standard size records center box.

    4. Pack the files in the same sequential order in which they were stored in your filing cabinets. Make sure that folder titles face the same way for easy folder retrieval in the future.

    5. Leave about 2 inches of space in each box to facilitate file retrieval. Over-packed boxes do not fit on the shelves.

    6. If more than two inches of empty space remain, place crumpled paper behind last file so all the folders stand upright. Do not let files "flop over."

    7. With felt marker, number the boxes and provide minimal identification.

  2. Labeling: Completing box transmittal sheets

    1. PDF transmittal sheets

    2. Order transmittal sheets by contacting rmprogram@mit.edu 

    3. Fill out one transmittal for up to 5 boxes, using capital letters to minimize transcribing errors during data entry. You can fill in the form electronically, or print out and fill in

    4. Complete all mandatory fields.

      1. Department ID = In 2 places, the ID will be supplied to you

      2. Major Description = Record series title

      3. Destruction date = Date the records can be shredded/recycled

      4. Preparer's full name = Your name

      5. Date = Today's date

      6. Telephone number and extension = Your telephone number

    5. You may use additional fields

      1. From date = The earliest date of the records in the box

      2. To date = The most recent date of the records in the box

      3. Alphanumeric range - from = Beginning value for alphanumeric range of the records in the box

      4. Alphanumeric range - to = Ending value for alphanumeric range of the records in the box

      5. Customer box number = For example: 1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.

      6. Minor description = Any additional information that may help you identify the records in the future. For example: AY=[academic year]; TC=[name of the contact person].

    6. Email a set of images/pdf copies of the box transmittal forms to rmprogram@mit.edu for review. 

    7. When your set of box transmittal forms is approved by the Records Management Program, proceed to the next steps.

  3. Barcoding

    1. ​Affix the peel-off barcode from the RFID Blue Label to the transmittal form. Place the barcode beneath the box number.

    2. Affix the blue label to the box. Make sure the barcode number on the label matches the barcode number for that box on the transmittal form.

    3. Make a copy of the form for your records. Make sure you have a record of what content is in what box and what the barcode is for that box. The barcode is how you will retrieve the box in the future.

    4. Have the transmittal sheet ready to give to the Iron Mountain driver at the time of pickup. Make sure that the number of cartons matches the number of boxes listed on the transmittal forms.


Scheduling a pickup

After the transmittal forms have been checked by Distinctive Collections staff and the boxes are ready to go to Iron Mountain, email rmprogram@mit.edu to arrange a pickup. Include how many boxes will be moved in the email. Orders placed before 3pm are usually fulfilled the next day and you will receive an email confirmation for the order. The contact person on the order will need to be available to meet the movers when they arrive.

Records retrieval

To retrieve a box from storage, send a request email to rmprogram@mit.edu. Include the barcodes, and if there are box numbers associated with the boxes include those as well.

Orders will be placed as soon as possible. If they are placed before 3pm the boxes should arrive at the office of the requester the next day. The contact person for the order must be a records management liaison who is named as an authorized personnel for the office and will need to be at the office when the boxes are delivered.

When the boxes are ready to be returned to Iron Mountain simply email rmprogram@mit.edu again with how many boxes are returning to storage and the order will be placed as soon as possible.

Contact us

Image of a carton prepared for records storage.

Have questions about physical or digital records management?

Contact us at rmprogram@mit.edu

Transmittal sheet

Example of a transmittal sheet with required fields (department ID and destruction dates) highlighted

RFID blue label

RFID blue label

RFID blue labels - barcode goes on transmittal sheet, label goes on box