Records Management & Archives Handbook: Archival Preservation & Arrangement


The University Archives preserves Marywood (College) University records that have enduring administrative, legal, fiscal, or historical value, and arranges them to facilitate archival research. Before archival materials are sent to the Archives for permanent retention, departments provide for the preservation and arrangement of the archival records in their custody.

The University Archives preserves records of historic and enduring value according to best practices for each record format. Paper records are stored in acid-free folders and document boxes, which slow the chemical processes through which paper becomes discolored and brittle over time. Photographic archives and news clippings undergo a process that results in their preservation in archival-safe polypropylene boxes. Electronic archives are backed up on CDs, DVDs, and/or the University’s Administrative Computing System. Records sent to the University Archives for permanent retention are protected by environmental controls and preserved in archival-safe containers, according to best practices in records management and archives. The Archives’ environmental controls ensure moderate and stable temperatures and humidity, and control the records’ exposure to light and contamination. Temperature and humidity sensors, monitored from the Maintenance Department, enable the University’s archival storage areas to maintain a stable temperature of no more than 70 °F and relative humidity between 35 and 50 percent. By providing limited light and regular housekeeping, the University seeks to meet appropriate environmental standards for its archival records.

The Director of Records Management and Archives arranges the University Archives according to professional best practices, such as the principle of provenance, which states that records created or received by one recordkeeping unit are not intermixed with those of any other. However, in some cases, archival materials are arranged within existing records series to facilitate their preservation and use. The University’s archival photographic collection, for instance, is arranged as a single chronological records series, as are the news clipping collection and the audio-visual collection. These arrangements enhance the efficiency of archival research and make the preservation of the records more economical. Also to facilitate research, periodicals and other similar materials are arranged as series, regardless of how or when the Archives acquires individual records within those series.


Provenance. For purposes of this policy, provenance is the archival principle by which records created or received by one recordkeeping unit are not intermixed with those of any other.


The Head of each Department ensures the preservation of the records in his or her custody that have long-term value to the University.

  • For paper records and artifacts, this means providing adequate shelving in a clean environment, away from leaky pipes, and a stable cool temperature and low humidity.
  • For digital records, it means backing up files on CDs, DVDs, and/or Marywood University’s Administrative Computing System; the Computer Training and User Support Department offers a monthly workshop on this procedure.