Special Collections Home
You may chat with a librarian at any time. If someone in the Archives Department is available, you will be transferred there. If not, the Archives will e-mail you a response later.
Electronic records present a new opportunity for documentation of the university and its people, places, and events, but also a new challenge. Most importantly, electronic records are not inherently permanent. File formats change, the integrity of data will degrade over time, and storage space, while plentiful, is not infinte. This page will attempt to provide general guidelines for preparing various types of records for transfer to the Archives, where they will be preserved and made accessible to help us tell the story of UWM in the 21st Century and beyond.
These recommendations are heavily influenced by the InterPARES Guidelines for Creators, University of British Columbia.
For the purposes of long-term preservation, electronic records need to be both readable (i.e. it will be possible to open the file in the future) and authentic (i.e. it will be possible to prove that the file has not been tampered with). Most electronic records that will be sent to the University Archives will be application files, i.e. discrete files that have been created by a desktop application (Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.), and it is to these records that these guidelines will mostly apply.
If you have only a few files to send to the archives, you have two options for transfer:
In cases of very large quantities or file sizes, we can pick up entire computer systems or external hard drives as needed. Please contact the Archives for more details. If you will be sending us an entire hard drive, please remember to delete and/or transfer all personal files from the drive before sending it to the Archives.
In the case of both e-mail accounts and spaces on D2L, you will usually select folders and/or pages to export as a whole, rather than exporting individual documents or e-mails. Each program will have its own instructions on exporting accounts, which either UITS or the Archives can usually help you with. Once these are exported (usually into a ZIP or TGZ compressed file), they should be sent to the archives as per the instructions under Small quantities of application files.
Databases should be converted to a form that does not require a particular application to function. In most cases, this form will be either Tab-Delimited or CSV (Comma-Separated Variable). MS Access has an export data function that automatically converts data from an access database to CSV. It is very important if converting databases to text that you make sure your fields line up correctly (i.e. the headers correspond to their data elements). If you have a large number of empty entries in one field, it may be necessary to input a placeholder or "null value" in the empty entries to achieve a proper conversion.
Questions about anything on this site? Email the Records Officer or call Records Management at (414)-229-6979.