Records identified for discard in general or specific records disposition schedules may be disposed of on-site without any further consultation with the Archives. Note that records bearing sensitive and/or personally identifiable information (e.g., Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, home addresses), should be destroyed by shredding. If it is not practical to shred records with sensitive information on-site, they may be transferred to the Records Center for destruction.
Removable media (such as compact disks and USB drives) containing sensitive and/or personally identifiable information can be sent to Records Center for shredding. Consult with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for the destruction of sensitive information stored on hard drives, laptops, and other devices.
Paper or electronic records that are no longer actively being used, but have not reached their destruction date, can be sent to the Records Center for storage until their scheduled destruction date.
Smithsonian museums and units must follow these instructions when transferring temporary records to the Records Center. The instructions apply both to units in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and to units outside of the area.
Consult the Smithsonian-wide or appropriate unit-specific (staff only) records disposition schedule. If the records are not covered by the schedule, follow the instructions for Appraising Records
If the records are appraised as being temporary (to be destroyed now or in the future), request a supply of Records Center boxes from the Archives. For units outside of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, mailing labels can be requested from the Archives liaison. Mailing boxes are not provided for units outside of the Washington, DC area.
Place materials in Records Center boxes. Records may be left in binders, hanging files, envelopes, or binder clips. DO NOT place personal material or non-Smithsonian records in the boxes. Creating a list of general contents and a date span of each box is recommended but not required. If it is likely that access to a specific folder may be necessary prior to destruction, creating a folder list for each box is recommended.
Contact the Archives to schedule a time to pick up the records. If the records are being shipped, be sure to securely pack and tape close the boxes.
The Archives liaison will come to pick up the records or will acknowledge that shipped records have been received.
The Archives will send an acknowledgment memorandum to the transferring unit with an identification number for the transferred records and a scheduled destruction date.
Any records transferred to the Records Center for temporary storage will be maintained until the scheduled date of destruction. Units will be notified after the destruction has taken place, unless otherwise instructed. Units should notify the Archives immediately of any possible or pending investigations or legal actions that might bear upon the records. This includes any investigations or legal actions to which an office is only a third party. Upon notification, the Archives will immediately suspend the destruction of any records that may be considered useful to investigative or court proceedings.