Departmental Archives Guide

Fanshawe Library Learning Commons / Archives / Departmental Archives Guide

The purpose of this guide is to give departments an overview of what materials should be retained in their files for future accession into the Fanshawe College Archives.

1. What is an Archive?

The inactive records of an individual, organization, or institution are kept for their continuing value. It is also a physical location and/or an organizational entity where an interested party can go to find first-hand information. College Archives typically serve four major functions:

  • The collection, description & preservation of materials that demonstrate a significant legal, historical, fiscal, evidential and cultural value to Fanshawe College.
  • To provide access for the purpose of reference and research to all those materials that have been and will be collected.
  • To promote the value of an Archives’ as a teaching and research resource.
  • To provide support & services for a College-wide records management program.

2. What are the materials that an Archive collects?

Any information, however recorded, in the original format. These formats can include: manuscript, printed, mechanical, electronic, or artifact.

Material is considered archival when it falls under either and/or both of the following conditions:

  • It must be retained according to Provincial/Federal legislation.
  • It is of significant legal, historical, fiscal, evidential or cultural value to Fanshawe College.
    • Administrative and operational records created, received and maintained by the Office of the President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Departments, Directors/Managers and other offices and positions of comparable significance.
    • Minutes, reports and correspondence of the Board of Governors and all other institutional College committees. (e.g., Senior Leadership Council)
    • Past and future College publications for students, staff or members of the community
    • Promotional materials such as brochures, newsletters, posters, recruitment materials and the like, created by academic and administrative departments.
    • Audio-visual/multimedia records (negatives, prints, film, video, digital files) including those, taken by professionals hired by/under contract with the College.
    • Select College building plans and contracts, campus maps and guides.

3. What materials ARE and ARE NOT considered operational or administrative?

ARE: Correspondence, memorandum, contracts, minutes of committees and sub-committees, organizational charts, photographs, policies, procedures, constitutions, by-laws, annual budgets and original departmental materials (Ex. score cards from a College Basketball game in 1984).

ARE NOT: Purchase/work orders, casual/confirmation emails & correspondence, monthly budgets, reference and duplicate copies, HR, supply materials or any material not produced by Fanshawe.

4. When can items be transferred to the Archives?

All material created progresses through a series of life spans before it is archived or destroyed. These three life spans are active, semi-active and inactive. Active and semi-active life spans govern the time period before materials can be archived. This is when material still can and does serve an operational or administrative purpose to its department of origin.

  • Active: Material is considered active for three years.   
  • Semi-Active: Material is considered semi-active when it is has passed its active life span, is still useful for operational or administrative purposes, but is not accessed frequently. The material can be retired to a records storage area in your department for more convenient storage. Material is considered semi-active until it is no longer needed.
  • Inactive: The time period after material has completed its active and semi-active life and can be considered for disposal or archiving.

In order to be transferred, material must, at minimum, be past the time period which governs its active and semi-active life span in accordance with Fanshawe College Policy 1-I-03.

5. Why should material have entered its inactive lifespan before transfer?

Material becomes property of the Archives. Individual offices and departments no longer have control over its access or use, however, all materials are still accessible online, or via the archivist to the department who originally transferred them. For the sake of conservation and preservation material should be accessed and handled as little as possible.

Contact Information

When in doubt, don’t throw it out!
Please contact the Fanshawe College Archivist if you have any questions about keeping or discarding materials.

Tammy, LLC Archivist

Tammy Pulinec,


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