Managing Records: Services for State Agencies

Guidelines for Developing Transfer/Container Lists

The container list provides a detailed table of contents for the records you are transferring. Without this list, it will be difficult for the transferring agency, the archives, or a researcher to identify precisely what box or folder is needed. Container lists are especially important for records that are or will be transferred to the Archives.

You know your records the best. Taking the time to create an accurate and thorough list will be sure others can understand what is in them as well.

The contents of each box should be listed, ideally folder by folder, and should include the following information:

  • Folder Titles consisting of
    • Record type such as Correspondence; Press Releases, Register
    • Function   Example: “Retirement -- Smith, Joe” is clearer than “Joe Smith’s Files”
    • Subject   Example: Patient Case Files; Board minutes; Specifications for highway improvements
    • Office of origin (unless clearly indicated in the series title)
    • Dates or alpha or numeric code
  • Folder title components are clearly indicated in the series title, such as case files then it does not need to be repeated in the folder titles.
  • Ideally, each folder should contain a unique number to differentiate it from other folders in the box and other boxes
  • Folder titles should be clear, accurate, and comprehensible with contents stated in the fewest words possible to convey context. The list should provide enough information to identify and describe the contents.
  • You may create your listing in MS Work, MS Excel, or MS Access. Please send an electronic copy with your transfer documentation.

Folder Title Examples

Folder Title

Comments

Better Title

State Board

Not clear, is this someone's subject file? Or a record in and of itself? What are the dates?

State Nursing Board meeting minutes, 1968-1970

Commissioner's Annual Report, 1957

Very clear, tells me what type of record it is, who created it, and the date

 

Roads

Not clear. Whose road file? What's in the folder? Dates?

County Engineer. Recently paved roads, 1989-1991

Permits, 1921

Not clear, What type of permits are they?

Camping Permits, 1921.

State Entomologist. Subject Files, Honey Bees, 1993

Very clear. I know who created the record, what series it's from, what the contents of the folder relate to and the date

 

Bills

Not clear. Bills for what? Dates?

Telephone Bills, 1980-1994

Transcript

Not clear. Related to what? A meeting? Legal document? Tape or video?  No dates

Medical Records Confidentiality Work Group. Meeting Transcript, 11/26/1996

State Archivist. Subject Files, Accountants – Fletcher, J.B., 1978

Very clear. I know who created the record, what series it's from, what the contents of the folder relate to and the dates

 

A01001 58001 63 00

Not clear. This is a type of file arrangement but for what? A case file? A job project? No date is given nor is there one in the code

Equipment Contract # A01001 58001 63 00, 1978

Commission Minutes

Partially clear but missing the type of Commission and the dates.

Adirondack Park Commission Minutes, 1970-1989

Road Contracts. Main Street, 1924

Very clear. I know what the contents of the folder relate to and the date.

 

Albert Jones

Not clear. Who is he? Staff? Subject file? Dates

Performance Plan – Albert Jones, 1995

Sample Container Lists

Acceptable:

Series: Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Executive Office. Commissioners' and deputy commissioners' correspondence, subject files, and orders.

Box

Subseries 1: Correspondence Files

Contents

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

1

 

A – As

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

2

 

At – Berr

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

3

 

Bes – Buck

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

4

 

Bud – Cau

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

5

 

Ce – Clas

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

6

 

Cle – Conn

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

7

 

Conno – Cox

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

8

 

Cr – Disc

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

9

 

Do – Elm

January 1, 1955 – January 31, 1956

Better:

Series: New York (State). Governor (1955-1958: Harriman). Subject and Correspondence files

Box Folder Title Year

1

A-General

1956

 

A-General

1957

 

Acquisition of Land and Fishing Rights

1957

 

Adams, W. Darwin

1956-1957

 

Adirondack Bobsled Club

1957

 

Adirondack Conservation Council

1957

 

Adirondack Echo

1958

 

Adirondack Enterprise

1955

 

Adirondack Mountain Club - Correspondence

1955-1958

 

Adirondack Mountain Club -  Printed Material

1955-1958

 

Adirondack Park Association - Clippings

1956-1958

 

Adirondack Park Association - Correspondence

1954-1960

Best: 

Series: Dept. of Transportation. Highway Design Project Correspondence, Plans

Box No. Contents Date Year Date

1

Highway Project Files

1986 September 10

1986

2

Highway Project Files

1986 October 10

1986

3

Highway Project Files

1986 November 4

1986

4

Highway Project Files

1986 November 4

1986

5

Highway Project Files

1986 December 3

1986

6

Highway Project Files

1986 December 3

1986

7

Highway Project Files

1986 December 3

1986

8

Highway Project Files

1986 December 3

1986

9

Highway Project Files

1986 December 23

1986

10

Highway Project Files

1986 December 23 – 1987 January 5

1986 - 1987