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Archiving completed projects

Photo of documents in folders hanging in a row.

When it is time to wrap up your project, there are quite a few things to remember in terms of registering and archiving project documentation.

Have all official documents pertaining to the project been registered in the records management system? Can the case be closed in the records management system? Do not forget that the scientific publication must also be registered!

As soon as possible after the project has been completed, the research material must be submitted to the archives unit so that it can be recorded in the archive management system and brought down to the physical archives. Your room, a metal cabinet in the corridor, or your own home are not approved storage facilities for completed projects.  It is the originals that need archiving. If you need to keep some documents accessible for your activities, you may well make copies. If required, it is also possible to borrow documents from the archives.

If the primary material is on paper, it must be stored in archive boxes (see further information below). If there is a large amount of primary material in electronic format, this should be organised in such an orderly way that it is retrievable for at least ten years. Consult your school and the archives unit and then contact IT Support to find out where best to store the research project’s primary material. There are several alternatives depending on the research project and school affiliation.

It is of utmost importance that the material is stored in storage facilities provided by the university and that you do not use your own storage facilities and software. As mentioned above, research material constitute official documents and the university bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the documents are made available.  Some basic metadata about the primary material must also be prepared and available.

Contact the archives unit if you have any questions or once your primary material has been collected and is ready to be archived.

First, review of all the research material on paper, in folders, on CD’s, in computer files, discs, videotapes, et cetera. Then group the material into four document categories: administrative documents, primary documents, working material, and reporting material. Also refer to Örebro University’s information management plan, detailing which documents are to be preserved, which ones are to be disposed of, and which ones are to be registered in the records management system.

Clean out all the working material, that is, drafts, notes, scrap paper, transcripts, duplicates and copies. Then remove all paper clips, tape, rubber bands, metal or plastic elements and any other loose objects from the remaining material since these will damage the documents to be preserved and archived.

The material organised into the remaining three document categories are now to be registered or archived. This means that administrative documents, primary material and reporting material are to be either registered in the records management system, put into archive boxes or stored electronically. In the boxes, each document type must be archived separately. It is important to keep the document types separate since different rules for retention and archiving apply to different document types. Documents that are subject to weeding out must not be put in the same boxes as or listed together with documents that are to be retained. Use a file cover or cover page on which you clearly state what material is included and the time period covered, for example “Primary data research project XXX – 2020”.

Use a fade-proof pen labelled “Svenskt arkiv”. Each document type must, as far as possible, be placed in chronological order, which will facilitate any searches in the archives later on. Fill the boxes to the top, making sure, however, that you do not overfill them.

Example of labelling when archivingMark the boxes with a pencil on the lower part of the back of the box. The content of the box should be marked with retention period (10 years after project completion) and document type (for example primary material). Also add the year during which the project was completed, for example 2020. Pencil is to be used on the archive box to mark it temporarily prior to labelling. Ink and felt-tip pens or home-made labels may not be used.

Contact the archives unit to decide when and how the material for preservation can be submitted for archiving.