Transferring and Retrieving Records

University Archives and Records Management provides storage for the following kinds of university records:

  • Archival/historical university records in digital and non-digital formats
  • Inactive, non-digital university records with time remaining on their required retention periods

To facilitate these services, we provide structured ways for offices to transfer records to us and to request later retrieval of records stored with us. 

Transferring Records

UARM accepts both permanent and non-permanent university records created in the fulfillment of Western's mission. Our Records Center service provides storage for inactive university records that have not reached the end of their retention period, and the University Archives provides ongoing care and access to university archival records once those records have passed their initial retention period.

To transfer digital records, contact the University Archivist or call (360) 650-3124. 

In order to be eligible for transfer to the University Archives or Records Center, records must be identified on an approved university retention schedule. The records being transferred must either be designated as archival or still have time remaining on their required retention period. These details are noted on approved retention schedules.

Records that have passed their retention period, are not archival, and are not subject to any active legal holds, public records requests, or audits, can be destroyed in-office.* For more information about records destruction, please see our Guidelines for records destruction.

*If your office has records that are not identified as "archival" on a retention schedule, but that you believe might be of historical value, please contact us. The University Archivist can review the records for potential archival value prior to final disposition. You can consult the University Archives Appraisal Guide to find out what kinds of records we seek for the University Archives.

  • Contact the Archives & Records Management office at x3124 or e-mail to request standard storage boxes (10 x 12 x 15). Plan for three storage boxes per legal-size drawer and two boxes per each letter-size drawer. NOTE: These boxes must only be used to send university records to UARM for storage and may not be used for other purposes. Offices that need boxes for other purposes must purchase/acquire them individually. UARM can make box recommendations on request.
  • Before preparing the records transmittal information, organize records in boxes by record title (using titles on a retention schedule) and by date and/or alpha-numerically, as relevant for the respective records. Whenever possible, all records in a box should have the same (or nearly the same) disposition dates. Contact us if you need any guidance.
  • Do not place records that have an "archival" designation on a retention schedule in the same box with records that will be destroyed at the end of their inactive retention period.
  • Do not overfill boxes, or place hanging files in boxes. To ensure shelf clearance, the box lid must sit firmly on the rim of the box.
  • More than one records series may be placed in a box, if they share the same disposition date. Also note that each accession (or “batch”) of records needs to begin with “box 1,” even if boxes with the same records series were sent earlier. 

Transferring non-digital records

We encourage offices to fill out our File List Template.

This spreadsheet has three tabs at the bottom:

  1. Instructions
  2. Sample entry
  3. A blank template for the sending office to enter information about the records being transferred

Offices will need to consult a current, approved retention schedule to determine their records' eligibility for transfer per step 1 above and to fill out the File List Template.

For office staff who have used our online transmittal request form: 

We are experiencing errors with our online transmittal form due to its age and due to structural changes in our underlying database. As a result, we ask that all new transmittal requests be documented using the above-linked File List Template.

Contact us for any additional help or questions.

To transfer digital records

Contact the University Archivist or call (360) 650-3124. 

  1. After the Records Transmittal is submitted, the Records Center will prepare labels based on the information provided.
  2. In some cases, the labels will be delivered to the office in advance of pick-up so that the office can put the labels on the boxes. In other cases, Records Center employees will bring the labels with them at the time of pick-up and put them on the boxes at that time.
  3. Records Center employees will pick up the box(es) and complete their transfer to the Records Center. A copy of the transmittal form indicating the assigned accession number and shelf locations will be returned to the Records Coordinator to be retained in the office. Information from the transmittal forms will be needed when making future retrieval requests to the Records Center.

Retrieving Records

WWU employees who are already familiar with the retrieval request process can go directly to our online request form (WWU employees only). Others may need to consult the instructions below. 

Note: This service is for WWU office staff to request access to their office's records in the University Records Center.  To access University Archives for historical research, please visit the University Archives page.

The office of record retains access authority for records stored in the University Records Center, and employees in the office can request to check out files or boxes from their office. The office’s Records Coordinator is responsible for files checked out from the Records Center and for their return.

Requests for retrieval or reference of records must be initiated or authorized by the Records Coordinator or designee.  Requests received by noon will generally be delivered the following day, barring unforeseen delays caused by emergencies or illnesses. Records are not sent and should not be returned through campus mail. 

  1. Records Coordinator or designee places a retrieval request using the online retrieval formRecords Coordinators should contact UARM if they do not already have the required information to place a request. This information is on transmittal forms or spreadsheets provided by the Records Center when records are transferred.
  2. Records Center prepares a Record Retrieval form and delivers or scans the requested records. For physical deliveries, one copy of the retrieval slip is signed by the recipient of the records and is retained by the Records Center; another copy is included with each item checked out and must remain with the item until it is returned to the Records Center.
  3. Records Coordinators remain responsible for files checked out from the Records Center and for their return.

Office designees may also review their office records in person at the Records Center.  Individuals must arrange this access with the Records Center in advance, and the Records Center will require their signature on a reference form at the time of access.

Do not send records through the campus mail.  Contact the Records Center for pickup by emailing us at

Be sure to give detailed information about the records to be picked up, including size and quantity (e.g., number of boxes or files), the specific location where the records will be available to be picked up, and contact information. If the location is only accessible at certain hours, please specify that.

Records that are checked out for temporary reference receive a default 30-day check-out period.  The Records Center may send the office a return reminder notice if the records have not been returned after a reasonable amount of time.  In response, an office will either return the records upon receiving the notice, or request an extension of the check-out period.