Do’s and Don’ts of Boxing
There are two basic methods used to keep track of archival records – we call them the Box Marking Method and the Index Method.
Box Marking Method
The most common method is to simply write the contents of the box on the outside of the box. This is usually done by document type, time period, file number or alphabetically (phone book). The advantage of this system is its simplicity. Other than the obvious lack of detail, the greatest disadvantage is inconsistency and lack of uniformity that can occur when several people do the filing.
When the box marking method is used it is difficult to know if a file really exists. For example, medical records use a terminal digit numbering system in which the last digits are the key filing unit. A box might contain a number sequence of say, 08-6801 to 08-6888. However, by the time the box has reached the storage center not all of the files in that number range are necessarily in the box. Over the years, files may have been renumbered, removed, purged or stored elsewhere.
The second method is to number each box and maintain an index of the contents of the box, usually in an Excel file or internal system. The advantage of the Index Method is that each file’s existence has been recorded and the location of each is known.
If you use the Index Method, Carolina Records Center can import your Excel or CSV file into our system and apply our records retention tracking to your archived files. We have over 60 user defined file fields available to customize even the most detailed requirements.
Remember that preparing records for archival storage is not the most pleasant of tasks for staff. It is repetitive and boring and therefore prone to simple errors such as number transposition (86 instead of 68) or number sliding (moving number one or more places without changing the order 68.80 instead of 688).
What Happens At The Record Center
It may be helpful to understand what happens to your boxes at the record center.
1. Whatever is on the outside of the box (up to three fields not counting your name or your box number) will be input into our system.
2. Regardless of any number you may have assigned, we will assign our own unique records center number for our internal use.
3. A thermal transfer bar code label will be affixed to each box. Thermal labels are more durable than laser labels and can better withstand the handling that occurs in the warehouse without losing the readability of its barcode.
4. We stack boxes three high and two or three deep on pallet rack shelving. This means that each location has 6 to 9 boxes of which only three have labels readable without moving boxes. Information must be written on the front of the box – information written on the side of boxes is never useful to us.
5. Any box that has lost its integrity will be reboxed. We cannot store collapsed boxes.
6. Non standard box sizes will not be stored and will be re-boxed. Standard Sizes are