Duke Medical Center Archives Blog

Ask the Archivist: Thanks for dropping off boxes! How do you put them together?

The boxes that we use to store departmental records are high-quality, but not easy to put together! Each box should have assembly instructions printed on them. When the box is properly assembled, the instructions will be on the bottom of the box. If you have problems interpreting the instructions, please contact us for assistance. We are more than happy to help you! Here are a couple of box assembly hints: 1) You do not need any additional materials to assemble the boxes. If, after assembling the box, it appears that tape is needed for it to stay together, it is not assembled correctly. 2) There are not any printed assembly instructions for the lids. Fear not; assembling the lids is very...

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Ask the Archivist: Should I attach an inventory of the materials my department is sending to the Archives?

Absolutely! Since you are working directly with the materials that you are packing, it’s easy to forget that not everyone can easily figure out what they are, and therefore think that there’s no need to prepare an inventory. It’s obviously correspondence from 1990 to 1991, right? Who needs a list? Unfortunately, the materials often aren’t as easy to identify as you might think, and a lack of an inventory can lead to archivists and researchers misinterpreting and misidentifying your files. This problem is easily prevented by preparing a list by individual folder title (or notebook title, etc.) or groups for each box. The list will be used for retrieving records in...

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Ask the Archivist: My department has records to send to the Medical Center Archives. How should we pack them?

The Medical Center Archives purchases acid-free boxes to store departmental records. Please contact the Medical Center Archives (383-2653 or email us) to request boxes. It usually takes two of these boxes to pack one full file drawer. You should fill the boxes to the point that the folders do not slouch, but can still be removed easily. Hanging folders do not fit well in the boxes and should be avoided. The Archives kindly asks that you return any unused boxes. A few tips for box and lid assembly: Follow the instructions printed on the box. You do not need any additional materials (including tape) to assemble the boxes. When assembling the lids, look for the...

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What does “Archive” mean?
Posted On: February 14, 2012 by Dawne Lucas

Ask the Archivist: What does “Archive” mean?

Don’t worry; I won’t start quoting definitions from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I do want to make you aware, however, of what archivists mean when they say the word “archive.” In today’s world of Gmail and online “Archive” buttons, it’s understandable to think that “archive” means “to save something for later, even if it’s just a short amount of time.” My job is “to identify, preserve and make available noncurrent records and papers of enduring value.”1 Noncurrent refers to records that you do not plan to access on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is that the records should be at least three years old, although there are exceptions to this rule. It’s possible that you will need to refer to some files after you have...

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