Generally speaking, archivists prefer to acquire records that are in the same state of organization as when they were being used by their creator. The original order, or filing system, can help to explain the history of the records. It can answer such questions as:
- “For what purpose was a record created or acquired?"
- “How was it used?"
- “Why was it kept?"
- “Does it relate to something else in an adjacent folder?"
It is important to us, therefore, that donors do not impose their own system of organization on a collection of records. In instances where there is no discernable system in place, it is best if the records are left as they were and brought to the archives for our staff to review.
Please bring the records to the archives in good quality storage containers. Whether at home, an office, or an archives, no records should be stored in boxes that are broken, chewed, stained, contain organic or inorganic garbage, or for which the lids are missing.
It is very helpful to us if you provide a list of the records you are donating to the archives. As much as possible, give the following details for each item, volume or file-folder:
- start and end dates,
- general description of the contents, including image identification for photographs.
The details can be captured on the Archives' Donor Form either by using the on-line version or by printing out the form and completing it by hand.