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Documenting Davidson College - Records Management

This guide explains how and why the College Archives collects materials from the Davidson community including information about Records Management policies and procedures.

Records We Collect - Significance

How to identify a significant record 

Creation: Were the records created during a period of memorable or pivotal change; are the records scarce or with few copies; do they cover a long period of time.  Any records that fall into these categories will likely be described as significant.

Creator/Author: Records that reflect an employee’s perspective or individual point of view may be more significant.

Kind of Information: Records that contain more in-depth information are more likely to have enduring value and be considered significant.

Unique history of Davidson College: Records created during important time periods or events can provide clues regarding how the events affected the development of the college and its community.

Duplicate or Overlapping:  If the information in the records exists in other records in the College or other places, then the records are less likely to be significant.

What to Keep - CAT$ Collect

Reviewing these four broad categories should help to decide what to retain. 

C - Century Rule

Will researchers and other members of the community be interested in this resource many years from now? Does it document an important or unknown aspect of Davidson College history or changes to the College?

A - Administrative

Do you use this material every day?  Is it important in your daily workflow? If you don’t use it every day, how often do you use it? When would it no longer be essential to have immediate access to this material?

T- Tracking

Which governmental or granting agencies might require tracking this data and executed contracts?  Are there any other external requirements from local, state, and federal entities, as examples, to maintain the information i.e. licenses or permits?  Does the record help to prevent a legal liability? Or does keeping it pose a liability, especially after the other types of value have disappeared?  


Is the information required for tax or audit purposes?  Is it helpful for future budget and fiscal planning?

Staff as Contributors

Image of papers moving from a computer to a cloudSepia image of Carnegie LibraryTall stacks of white paper with blue sky and cloudsBlack and white image of cd cases


Employees of the College in every job create and store records every day.

What's a record--the definition is pretty broad and includes any data or information that is evidence of individual or institutional activity. Plus, as shown by the images above, it can be found in numerous forms, paper, audio, visual, digital.

Most of the College records are created for a specific purpose and are only needed within the organization for a short period of time.  If you continue to use a record fairly regularly, it's considered current and not ready to travel to the College Archives.  While an archives collects all kinds of records, we can't collect everything!  

If you have questions about which records to keep, which records to dispose of, and which records to transfer to the Archives, please review this guide for answers to these questions.

If you still have questions, please email

Records We Collect - Categories

Office or administrative files: Correspondence and memos (incoming and outgoing) pertaining to policy, major events, gifts, activities, and functions of the organization.

Reports: Annual/biennial reports that provide a summary of activities for a given period of time; Final Research reports that provide summaries of major research activities; plus special reports including reports of the President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, and Directors, the special reports and studies received from consultants, and other reports having continuing value.

Governance and policy documents:  Constitutions and by-laws, proceedings, guidelines, policies and procedures, including policy statements governing recruiting, interdepartmental relations, and administration of departments, committees, etc.

Meeting minutes: Minutes of any boards, councils, committees, task forces, or similar organizations created by mandate, statute, order, or Board of Trustees or President’s decision. In many cases, meeting minutes are an organization's only record of activity.

Official publications: Yearbooks, student newspapers, departmental brochures, bulletins, newsletters, directories, handbooks, posters, monographs, and announcements issued by all College offices, schools, and departments, as well by faculty, student and alumni organizations.

Audiovisual and photographic material: Any material that provides important visual documentation of Davidson College activities, students, personnel, and the campus as well documentation of events and programs organized and sponsored by entities within the College.

Celebration and special event records: Programs, substantive promotional and informational material, and final reports resulting from College or department-sponsored celebrations and special events.

Awards, honors, fellowships, scholarship:  Files for student, faculty, and staff

Records We Collect - Examples

Records that document the significant activities and core functions of a department, program, or committee such as

Accreditation Records                                                                          Legal Case Files (affidavits, orders, briefs, testimony transcripts, etc)
Annual Reports Maps, architectural drawings, and Site Plans
Athletic Programs and Promotional Materials Newsletters and Departmental Publications
Audio Tapes Organizational Charts
Audit Reports (Internal and External) Pamphlets
Awards (Students, Faculty, Staff) Photographs, Slides, and Negatives
Broadsides and Posters Planning Reports and Documents
Clippings Files Policies and Procedure Manuals
Building Plans or Blueprints Policy and Administrative Correspondence
Capitol Contracts Policy and Administrative Memoranda
Case Files Press Releases and Clippings
Committee Files (Trustee, College, or Department) Promotion and Tenure Files
Conflict of Interest Records Publications and Newsletters                                 
Constitutions and By-laws (Affiliated Organizations or Groups) Scholarships (Students, Faculty, Staff)
Departmental Administrative Files Scrapbooks for Unit or Affiliated Organizations
Event Programs and Promotional Materials Scripts (programs or presentations)
Faculty and Staff Meeting Minutes and Records Search or Screening Committee Files
Faculty Publications Speeches
Fellowships (Students, Faculty, and Staff) Student Honorary Society Records
Film and Video Productions Studies (Regarding the Institution or Department)
Funded Grant Proposals and Reports  
Histories of Departments and Programs  
Honors (Students, Faculty, and Staff)  


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