Transferring Records - State Records Center and Archives

Both the Records Center and State Archives serve the roles of storing records and providing reference services, but there are several fundamental differences, outlined below:

State Records Center:

  • Serves as an off-site storage facility for state agency records that remain under the legal custody of those agencies
  • Houses only those records that are subject to records retention schedules and have not yet reached the end of their retention period
  • Stores records based on agency retentions for administrative, fiscal or legal purposes, which are then destroyed (according to schedule)
  • Only allows the agency of origin to access the records
  • Delivers records back to the agency of origin upon request
  • Assigns each box of records a unique bar-code number for inventory control, tracking and reference

The Records Center provides safe, environmentally controlled storage for agency records that must be temporarily retained. These are closed records which an agency has infrequent need for but still must be retained to fulfill fiscal, administrative or legal needs per the schedules. Records Center services are available to all state agencies. All records sent to the Records Center must be on an approved records retention schedule.

To request a file or transfer records, associated Records Management forms must be used. Staff will contact you once forms are received and approved. To access agency records from the Records Center, an agency employee must be an approved cardholder and registered in our system for that agency. Large reference activities are conducted by agency personnel themselves. 

Disposition notices will be sent to the agency Records Officer when records have met their final retention time and are due for destruction.

State Archives:

  • Only stores records that have historical value
  • Only accepts records that have completed their retention period and are considered permanent
  • Has legal custody of the material transferred to the State Archives when it is received
  • Allows record access to anyone, under the terms of the Freedom of Access Act
  • Does not allow records to leave the building
  • Catalogs its holdings by subject, content and origin

Questions concerning use of the Records Center or Archives should be directed to your agency's designated Records Officer or to the Records Center staff.

State Records Center/State Archives Instructions (pdf) (See also RC training in right-hand sidebar on this page.)

Includes when to send your records, how to transfer, how to pack boxes, retrieving records and destruction of records.

Records Center Forms (where applicable, use forms for Archival records also)

Request for Reference Service Form (online form)

Agencies with an email address are required to use this online form to request files from the State Records Center or Archives. You will need to login with your email and password. Requestors MUST have an access card number to request files and complete all required information. The request will go directly to the Records Center email account for processing. If you have questions regarding using the online form, please contact the Records Center.

Cardholders from Legislative Offices and Independent Agencies, as well as the Courts, who do not have an address can use our alternative Request Form for Legislative, Independent Agency, and Court Use Only

Any questions or issues with the forms can be directed to: Records Management

NOTE:  The State Records Center reserves the right to refuse to fulfill requests based on the following:
1) The requestor is not an authorized card holder. Requestors cannot use another employee’s access card number to request a file.
2) Request has incomplete or incorrect information which requires staff to conduct additional research and/or guesswork to try to locate files. Agencies must refer to transmittals provided by Archives to ensure information is accurate.  If you do not have transmittals, you can request copies from Records Management.  These should be kept on file to ensure accurate information is provided in the future.

Records Officer/Cardholder Form - Records Officers must be appointed by Commissioner, Director, or other agency/bureau head who has authority to sign on behalf of their Department. Cardholders may be authorized by the agency RO.
Email to Records Management

Transmittal of Records and Transmittal of Records Continuation Sheet - They require a Records Officer's signature and appropriate access card number. If emailing, please submit to : Records Management or Archives Services
Note: Requests will be filled in the order in which they are received. Please allow 2-4 weeks once transmittals are received for materials to be picked up.

Packing List
This form must be completed (as many pages as necessary) and enclosed in each box packed for transfer (to the State Records Center or Archives). Packing lists are also required to be included with any transmittal submissions (Records Center or Archives). Keep a copy for your own records, listing each file in the box. This will assist you in the future when requesting files. If you have questions contact Records Management or Maine State Archives as appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the Records Center?
Maine State Agencies, Courts, Legislature - The State Records Center stores records for Maine State agencies once they have met their in agency retention.  The records must be listed on an approved records retention schedule.
How do I transfer my boxes to the Records Center?
Records must first be an approved records retention schedule. Obtain appropriate archival boxes. Prepare transmittal form and packing list. Use forms found above under "Records Center Forms." Contact Records Management or Archives Services staff to arrange for pick-up of the boxes or they can be shipped or delivered once the transmittal is received/approved. Complete instructions are included above "Records Center Instructions."
Where do I get boxes for storage at the Records Center?
Records Center Boxes can be ordered from WB Mason (Paige Company #801 Archive Boxes - PAIG801).

For archival records we recommend ordering boxes that are designed for permanent storage from other vendors, such as Gaylord or Hollinger.  For more information contact the Archivist III.

How quickly can I get a file?
You may request records by using our online request form.  If we receive correct and complete referencing information, we will put the requested records in our outgoing mail within 24 hours – excluding days when state offices are closed – or notify you that they are ready for pickup, if you prefer. 
What is the difference between the State Records Center and the State Archives?
They are at separate locations and have two entirely separate purposes. The Records Center provides off-site storage to state agencies--the agencies retain legal custody until the time the records meet their retention period, at which time a notice is sent for the records to be destroyed. When records have met agency retention requirements and are designated "Archival," agencies transfer legal custody of the record to the State Archives for historical preservation and public research.  Confidential records should not be deemed as "Archival" for the purposes of this agency.  If an agency needs to retain confidential records permanently, they should be kept within the agency or the confidential information should be redacted.  According to State Statute, all records transferred to the Maine State Archives are available for public examination after 75 years.
Who has access to our agency records?
All records created or maintained by state agencies are the property of the State of Maine and the public that paid for their creation. However, the agency that creates or maintains the records is the legal custodian of the records. Records transferred to the Records Center remain in the legal custody of the agency of origin. This means that the Records Center only takes physical custody of the records.  The Records Center is responsible for protecting the records from unauthorized access, damage, and deterioration. Both legal control and control of access to the records is retained by the agency until the records are either transferred to the Archives or destroyed. The Records Center will not release records to another agency or to the public.  (Only agency card holders have access.)
Is our office notified before records are destroyed?
Yes! Notices of disposition to destroy records are sent to the Agency Records Officer to obtain a signature from the originating department authorizing their destruction. This is required before the Records Center disposes of any records. This process can be delayed if justification is given for documenting legal, audit or program need.