Guidelines for Weeding Administrative Records

Valueless papers may be separated from records scheduled for archival transfer if the following conditions have been met: 

  1. Your office has a state-approved records retention and disposition schedule (RDA) which has been developed by the Archivist under the Campus Records Management Program. 
  2. Your records retention schedule specifies archival transfer of the records. 
  3. You have consulted with the University Archivist (x1046) regarding application of weeding guidelines in your particular record series.  This step is very important as some records listed below as "weedable" may have their own retention requirements for legal or audit purposes.  It is important that the office fulfill these retention requirements before weeding any materials. 

Record series which contain the highest percentage of valueless or transitory material are found in subject and correspondence files.  These types of files are typically found at most offices within the University.  Experience has shown that the following categories of papers generally may be eliminated from the files without affecting the historical value of the files.

Steps in Weeding Files

  • Begin by eliminating all duplicate copies, stencils, printing masters, and supplies from the files.
  • After consultation with the Archivist, the following categories of records may be weeded from the files:
  1. Accounting statements
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Announcements of meetings
  4. Applications (except admissions applications)
  5. Appointments
  6. Ballots
  7. Bank statements
  8. Bills, financial
  9. Budget working papers
  10. Cash books
  11. Casual calculations
  12. Checks, cancelled
  13. Claims
  14. Classbooks
  15. Copy developed for publication (after publication as long as a  sample published copy is retained for archival transfer
  16. Daybooks
  17. Drafts (once the final paper is issued, except those which could add significant insight into the creator's thought processes as she/he worked on the material)
  18. Invitations
  19. Invoices
  20. Letters and memos fixing appointment times
  21. Licenses
  22. Orders, financial
  23. Outlines
  24. Payroll deductions, authorizations, and notices
  25. Proofs for publication (after publication)
  26. Property inventories
  27. Reading and reference files of material produced outside the University and the Upper Peninsula
  28. Routine financial records (purchase orders, requisitions, invoices, cash receipts, statements of long distance phone calls, delivery slips, etc.)
  29. Reservations and confirmations
  30. Sales literature
  31. Shorthand notes
  32. Tickets
  33. Tickler Files
  34. Time books and records
  35. Travel vouchers
  36. Workorders
  37. Worksheets
  38. Off campus periodicals and publications   (catalogs, newsletters, bulletins, reports, manuals, books, magazines, etc.) unless they have a worthy relationship to the collection or file creator such as containing an article about or by the file creator, the University, or the Upper Peninsula.  Also to be kept for archival transfer are publications that have been heavily annotated by the file creator.  All publications created by the office should be retained for archival transfer.)
  39. Other (materials which do not relate to the function of the office, to the administration of that office, nor to the university in general.  Such unrelated material should normally not be filed, but if it is filed, it may be weeded as located.)

Please contact the University Archivist (x1046) should questions arise and good luck!