State Records Center
The Kansas State Records Center provides centralized, efficient, and secure storage for inactive and semi-active state government records. Authorized by the legislature in 1957 and funded in 1992, the State Records Center offers agencies controlled access to their records until administrative, fiscal, and legal retention requirements are met.
There are several advantages to using the State Records Center. Agencies will save money by transferring materials to the state records center in a timely fashion, thereby freeing up prime office space for more active use and reducing the need to purchase additional high cost filing equipment. The state records center provides control of records in a clean, well-lit structure which eliminates the use of attics, sub-basements or similar inadequate storage areas. Finally, and most beneficial, staff will no longer have to devote valuable time to extensive searches through cramped storage areas for semi-active and inactive files. The State Records Center offers prompt and courteous document retrieval within 24 hours. While the state records center is administered by the Library and Archives Division of the Kansas Historical Society, it is separate from the State Archives, which houses the noncurrent state and local government records with enduring value. The state records center and the state archives cooperate to insure the proper management of the state's valuable records and information resources.
State agencies can phone the records center at 785-232-1123, fax 785-232-9330, or Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.
In order to store records at the state records center:
- The agency must have both a completed records survey and a retention and disposition schedule approved by the State Records Board. If these are not in place or if the schedule needs revising, contact the state records manager at 785-272-8681 about setting up a time to do so.
- Only semi-active or inactive records will be stored in the state records center. Records are considered semi-active or inactive when an agency refers to them less than once a month.
The agency must have an assigned records officer as specified in K.A.R. 53-4-1. This person is the liaison between the agency and the Historical Society. Responsibilities of records officers include, but are not be limited to, the following:
- Obtaining storage boxes and forms from the state records center.
- Supervising the placement of records in the boxes and completing all forms necessary for the transfer of records. Agency indexes or finding aids should be included whenever possible.
- Labeling and numbering the boxes.
- Providing an Authorization for Access list of personnel who are allowed to request agency records stored at the records center.
- Communicating with the state records center staff as needed.
All records are property of the state (see K.S.A. 45-403), but the agency retains custody of their records stored in the state records center. The State Archives becomes custodian of any records transferred from the state records center to the state archives.
K.S.A. 75-3511 prohibits the use of state agency records stored at the state records center without the approval of the originating agency. In accordance with this statutory requirement, the state records center will protect the agency's records from unauthorized access by allowing only individuals with written permission to request records. An Authorization for Access form will be sent to all agencies and only those included on the list will be granted access. If someone is not on the list and needs access, a letter from the records officer noting the effective period of authorization will be acceptable. The public will not be allowed to use the records center for research.
The first step in transferring records is to contact the state records center staff and request the necessary boxes. Only standard sized cartons will be accepted. Odd size boxes do not fit on the shelves properly which wastes space and defeats the purpose of providing efficient and economical storage. The standard size box is 12" wide x 15" long x 10" high and will accommodate one cubic foot of material. These cartons will store both letter and legal size files. (See the table below to calculate the number of boxes needed.) There is no charge to agencies for the boxes when used for sending records to the Records Center. Requests for additional cartons will not be honored until all previous allotments are accounted for.
Cubic Foot Equivalants
- 1 letter-size file drawer = 1.5 cu. ft. or 2 boxes
- 1 legal-size file drawer = 2.0 cu. ft. or 2 boxes
- 1 letter-size, 36" open shelf file = 2.0 cu. ft. or 2 boxes
- 1 legal-size, 36" open shelf file = 3.0 cu. ft. or 3 boxes
- 3" x 5" cards, ten 12" rows = 1.0 cu. ft. or 1 box
- 4" x 6" cards, six 12" rows = 1.0 cu. ft. or 1 box
- 5" x 8" cards, four 12" rows = 1.0 cu. ft. or 1 box
Upon receipt of the cartons, observe the following guidelines to properly pack the boxes:
- It is strongly suggested that a box be limited to just one record series. If it is necessary to place multiple record series in a box, the carton should be limited to records with the same retention period and disposition requirements.
- Files in a record series should be cut off periodically to ease the transfer of records in uniform chronological blocks. This is referred to as "breaking" files and means that on a given date a new set of files is established for the following period. Files can be broken annually, biennially, or at longer intervals depending upon the rate of accumulation. The time frame for breaking a records series may depend upon the occurrence of an event such as the termination of a contract or benefit. Using color coded folder labels can be helpful in distinguishing periods.
- When packing the boxes, leave the records in their original order and file folders. Make sure that the folders are clearly labeled. The records center staff must be able to locate a single file within a box, and they will not be familiar with the records.
- Be sure that the file folders are not too full. Ideally, folders should be limited to 25 pages and they should never contain more than 50 pages.
- Please do not put hanging file folders in the boxes--the lid will not fit properly. Place all documents (with the exception of oversize materials) in accurately labeled standard file folders.
- Place letter size records in the box facing the front. Place legal size records in the box sideways starting from left to right. Stack computer printouts and ledgers flat, but do not stack them past the hand-holes.
- Do not overfill boxes--there should be room to remove files without difficulty. If the cartons are too full the lids will not fit securely, the boxes will not fit on the shelving, the box sides and bottoms will tear, and the possibility of damage to the records increases.
- Make sure that all box hand hole cutouts are pushed in.
- Notify the staff of any oversize materials ahead of time.
- Records that are up for disposition before the next fiscal year need to be retained by the Agency until disposed of.
Complete Records Transfer Form
An agency seeking to transfer materials to the state records center must complete a Records Transfer form. It serves as a shipping manifest, receipt, and retrieval tool. The state records manager will review the completed transfer forms for accuracy. The following information should be typed or printed on all Records Transfer forms:
- Agency Code: Enter the appropriate three digit agency code number. (Agency codes are listed in the Communication Services Directory.)
- Telephone Number: Enter the telephone number for the records officer.
- Date: Enter the current date.
- Agency/Division/Other Organizational Unit: Enter the name of the agency, the division, and any other organizational unit necessary for complete identification.
- Agency Address: Enter the full mailing address for the agency/division and other organizational unit.
- Records Officer or Transferred By: Enter the name of the records officer or the individual authorizing the records transfer.
- Restrictions: Check the appropriate yes or no box.
- Type of Final Disposition: Using data from the agency retention/disposition schedule, indicate whether the records will be destroyed or transferred to the State Archives when the disposition date has been reached. Please DO NOT include records with different final disposition requirements on the same Records Transfer form.
- Agency Box Number: Enter the agency box number for each carton being transferred. Boxes should be numbered sequentially.
- Records Series Number and Records Series Title: Use the record series title(s) and record series number exactly as they appear in the agency retention/disposition schedule and the inclusive dates of the records. Retrieval service will be facilitated if the box content description includes the numerical or alphabetical coverage of the records in the carton.
- Disposition Date: Use information from the agency retention/disposition schedule to determine the disposition date for the records being transferred; enter the date in "year/month" format.
Incomplete or incorrect forms will be returned to the records officer for verification of information. Once the form is approved, Records Center staff will contact the Agency to schedule the pick-up.
The records center manager will assign a unique records center location number to each box. The original white transfer form is retained by the records center manager. The yellow copy is sent to the records officer and the pink copy goes to the office sending the records. Both copies returned to the agency will have the records center location number so it is important to keep the forms for future reference. The records center location number will be used to request files or boxes from the state records center.
Transfer form and further instructions available online. Send completed transfer forms to Marcella Wiget at
Kansas Historical Society
6425 SW 6th Avenue
Topeka KS 66615-1099
785-272-8681, ext. 288
Label & Number Boxes
Agencies must label and number all boxes prior to their transfer to the state records center. Using data from the Records Transfer form, print the following information under the handle on the center of the box:
- Agency/Division/Other Organizational Unit
- Description of Records
- Disposition Date
With a black permanent marker, number the boxes in the correct sequential order on the upper left hand corner of the carton.
It is essential that the box numbers shown on the transfer form correspond exactly with the numbers written on the cartons.
Schedule Records Pick-Up
Once the transfer has been accepted, arrangements need to be made for the state records center staff to pick up the cartons ready for transfer. Agencies outside the Topeka area will be responsible for any transfer arrangements. On the day scheduled for pick up by the state records center staff, the boxes need to be stacked at the loading dock five boxes high.
Agencies must complete an Authorization for Access form to designate the individuals who will be allowed access to records stored at the state records center. Only persons appearing on this form will be given access to the agency's records. This policy applies to both written and telephone requests for records.
If an individual who is not listed on the Authorization for Access form needs access to agency materials at the state records center, the records officer must send an authorization letter to the records center manager. The letter must specify the effective period of authorization.
Authorization for Access form available online. When completed, send to the State Records Center at
To request records, personnel authorized for access by the agency need either to complete the Records Request form and fax or e-mail it to the state records center. In the latter case, state records center staff will complete the form for proper documentation. Only factual information from records--names, dates, amounts--will be provided over the telephone. Requests for five pages or less can be returned to the agency via fax. The telephone number for the records center is 785-232-1123. The records center fax number is 785-232-9330.
Records are pulled at the time of the request. In most cases, requests received before 8:00 a.m. will be delivered that morning, while those received after 8:00 a.m. will be delivered the following morning. State records center staff will hand deliver all materials unless the agency makes other arrangements.
Agency staff will use the transfer form to determine the records center location number to provide the records center staff with the exact box number that contains the needed file. Be as specific as possible when requesting a file including the record series title, file name, records center location number, date of record, and the storage medium.
Files should be returned to the state records center as soon as they are no longer needed. They should not be allowed to accumulate. Material can be returned through the central mail system to KSHS or the records center staff can be notified to pick up the records. Prompt return will insure that files are refiled quickly and accurately. Refile reminder notices will be sent to agencies only for files that are scheduled for transfer to the State Archives. This helps maintain the integrity of the records series with enduring value.
If agency personnel (or an auditor) require access to large quantities of records and it would be more convenient to work in the state records center, work space will be provided. Agency personnel visits to the state records center must be arranged in advance and identification must be provided. The public will not be allowed to use the state records center for research.
Unless otherwise notified, records will be destroyed or transferred to the State Archives according to approved retention and disposition schedules. Thirty days before destruction or transfer, the records center manager will send the agency records officer a Records Disposition report. If the agency wants its records retained in the state records center beyond the approved disposition date, the records officer must notify the Records Center within 30 days of receipt of disposition report.
Recycling is the preferred method of destruction. Confidential records are shredded at agency expense by the state contracted shredding firm. A Records Destruction Certificate will be sent to the agency after confidential materials have been shredded. If the agency desires, a representative from that agency may send someone to witness the destruction of any confidential records.
Other records management services include training sessions on basic records management techniques; using the records center; records surveys and retention and disposition schedules; and the role of records officers. Contact the State Archives for more information at 785-272-8681, ext. 288.