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Archival Appraisal and Acquisition


Purpose of Pennsylvania State Archives

The Archives of Pennsylvania State Government are maintained to:

  • establish and protect the legal, financial , and other rights of the government
  • protect the rights and interests of persons directly affected by an agency's activities
  • permit policy and administrative continuity and consistency by providing perspective on which to base planning
  • document organization, functions, programs, activities, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions for practical and cultural purposes


Types of Records in Pennsylvania State Archives

The following records are normally appraised by the Pennsylvania State Archives for permanent retention:

  • Records on Organization and Functions (organizational charts and studies)
  • Formal Minutes of Boards and Commissions (including agenda packets)
  • Records of Internal Agency and Interagency Councils, Committees, Task Forces, and Study Groups
  • Legal Opinions and Comments on Legislation
  • Formal Directives, Procedural Issuances, and Operating Manuals
  • Evaluations of Internal Operations
  • Analytical Research Studies and Reports
  • Agency Histories and Selected Background Materials
  • Briefing Materials
  • Public Relations Records (speeches, addresses, comments and releases)
  • Audio, Visual, and Graphic Records
  • General Subject Files Documenting Substantive Agency Programs
  • Selected Case Files
  • Scientific and Technical Data
  • Socioeconomic Micro-Level Data


Transferring State Government Records

  • The State Archives staff review agency schedules to determine if records have archival or potential archival value. At the conclusion of their retention periods, archival records are transferred either directly from the agency or from the State Records Center (SRC). If the records are still at the agency, the Records Coordinator should contact the State Archives at (717) 787-7180 or (717) 772-3257 for transfer procedures.
  • If the archival records are stored at the State Records Center (SRC), the Records Coordinator will receive an Agency Disposal Report twice a year listing records to be transferred to the Archives. This authorization for final disposition must be signed and dated by the Records Coordinator and returned to the SRC. Once authorization had been received, the SRC will transfer the archival records.
  • If Records Coordinators or program staff find records that are not listed on the agency schedule or any general records schedule, they should contact the State Records Center at (717) 783-7330.
  • When the transfer has been completed, the records become the property of the Commission on behalf of the Commonwealth and are accessioned into the holdings of the State Archives. Unless designated as confidential or restricted, the records are made available for research use by agency staff and the general public in the Archives Search Room.


Accessing Pennsylvania State Archives Records

Agency staff are encouraged to view records during normal business hours (Wednesday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.). Special arrangements can be made to use records on Monday or Tuesday if there is an emergency situation.

Review our agency finding aids and contact the Reference Section at (717) 783-3281 for more information on services and fees.