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Storing Records at the State Records Center

South Carolina Department of History
Division of Records Management
Public records information leaflet no. 14

The State Records Center (SRC) provides efficient and cost-effective temporary storage and reference services for the inactive records that state agencies hold often simply to satisfy legal, fiscal, or administrative needs. The records might be archival--records that must be permanently retained because of their fiscal, legal, informational, or historical value; or non-archival--records that lack permanent value and will ultimately be destroyed. As a rule of thumb, you can consider these records inactive if you refer to them less than once a month. This leaflet describes the criteria we use to select records for storage in the SRC; the procedures you should use to transfer records to the SRC and to request reference services; and the procedures we follow to dispose of records when the time comes.

Criteria for Storage

You must inventory, appraise, and then schedule your records before you transfer them to the SRC for storage because a records retention schedule controls the movement of records--it specifies how long, where, and in what format the records will be kept. Other factors you must consider are:

Use:  Your records must be inactive. If you refer to records once a month or more, we would consider those records ineligible for SRC storage because they would need to be kept readily accessible in your office.

Volume:  You generate the record series at the rate of 10 cubic feet or more each year.

Retention:  The storage period scheduled must be reasonable--your records should require storage for at least three years and no more than ten.

Space:  Your office is short of space. SRC storage, however, may be just one of several solutions to this problem. You can often save space by systematically using records retention schedules to remove obsolete records from your files, by microfilming, by improving your present filing system, or by introducing a new one.

Microfilmed or imaged records: If your paper records have been filmed or imaged, the SRC will not store them. 

Procedures for Transfer

Your records can be controlled, stored, and retrieved efficiently only if you follow the procedures listed below when you transfer them.

Records verification: Transfer only records series covered by an approved records retention schedule and check each series against its description on the schedule to make sure the series and the description match. If you have no schedule, contact your agency's records officer.

Storage boxes and tape: You must order your storage boxes and tape from a commercial vendor. For letter and legal size files, you must get standard cubic foot cardboard boxes with inside dimensions of 10x12x15 inches. Seal the bottom of the boxes with Archives-approved 3" reinforced tape. For engineering drawings get boxes with inside dimensions of 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches and seal both ends of each box with Archives-approved 3" reinforced tape. 

 SRC box and tape

Packing:

  • Box records by series and date and place only one series in each box.
  • If your records are arranged in filing order, keep the arrangement intact. If you have not arranged the records in filing order, arrange them before they are packed.
  • Do not over pack. Leave room in each box to ease retrieval and refiling
  • Pack folders upright with letter-size folders facing the 12 inch side of the box and legal-size folders facing the 15 inch side.
  • Labeling:

  • Get standard size labels from the SRC; do not use copies.
  • See instructions for the Transfer Form below. Labels are automatically generated by the Transfer spreadsheet. 
  • SRC sample box with label


    Closing the boxes:

  • Tuck the top flaps alternately over and under each other.
  • Do not tape the tops shut.
  • Transfer form: You must ask the SRC staff for the Excel spreadsheet which creates the Transfer Forms. List only one record series on each form and fill out the form carefully and completely. Using the Excel spreadsheet, the only format accepted by the Records Center, provides that both the transmittal sheet and labels are clearly printed as required. The descriptions of the first and last folders in each box should correspond to the descriptions on the box labels. Do not print labels until the Transfer Spreadsheet has been approved.

    SRC Transmittal Spreadsheet - to be able to work with this form, you must save it first
  • Transmittal Instructions

     Physical transfer:

  • Before you transfer your records, e-mail the Transfer Spreadsheet to SRC@scdah.state.sc.us . SRC staff will evaluate the form and confirm your request for storage.
  • When your request is confirmed, SRC staff will contact your records officer or representative to arrange a time and date for the transfer.
  • When you transfer your records, you must send the original of the Transfer Form with related storage boxes.

    Reference Services
  • If your agency is small, you should appoint a contact person and an alternate for requesting reference service from the SRC; if your agency is large, you may want to appoint a contact and alternate for each section. You can ask for service by:

    On-line Request: Fill out a Reference Request Form on-line. You will receive electronic confirmation that your request was successfully submitted.

    Mail or fax: Fill out a Reference request form (PDF) and mail it to 1942-A Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201 or fax it to (803) 898-9981

    Telephone: Phone in your request to (803) 898-9980. Give us your name, the name of your agency, the agency phone number and mailing address, the name of the records, a description of the information you need, and the SRC box numbers.

    When making your request, you should not ask for more than ten records a day. Let us know if you want to come to the SRC to get the records or if you want us to give you the information - either by mail or by phone. If you want to pick up the records from the SRC, you must make an appointment to do so within twenty-fours hours of your request and give us the name of the person who will be coming to get them. Pick-ups must be made between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

    Disposition

    Your records will be disposed of according to their retention schedules, which will call for the destruction of inactive, non-archival records or the transfer of archival records.

    SRC staff will notify you by sending to the records officer in your agency a Request for Disposition of Records form.  You will then have 60 days to respond. If you fail to respond, the SRC will transfer records of permanent value to the Archives and History Center (8301 Parklane Rd, Columbia, SC 29223) and will dispose of non-permanent records as scheduled.