Information for University staff

This page is for staff in the University’s central administration and departments who are responsible for the creation and management of records. It aims to provide information about the services we offer.

The primary role of the Oxford University Archives is to support the work of the University’s central administration, departments and institutions by ensuring that:

  • records of potential historic importance created by the University's central administration and departments are identified and selected for permanent preservation in the Archives;
  • these records are promptly available on request to staff in the central administration and departments for consultation.

Requesting material

The Archives aims to facilitate access to all records required for administrative purposes by the creating department or section. For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot permit access to records less than 30 years old by anyone from another department or section without the permission of the responsible department.

Access to your records

To request an item from the archives, please ring the office on (2)77145, or email us at Please give us as much information as you can about the item you wish to see, as it will enable us to respond more quickly to your request.

Material over 10 years old should be consulted in the Weston Library. Please contact us to arrange a visit. It may also be possible for items to be scanned and sent to you. Again, please contact us to discuss this. Material under 10 years old may be loaned but only one item may be loaned at a time. We also require a return date to be arranged with us. On receipt of loaned material, please sign and return the accompanying slip to confirm your safe receipt of the item.

Access to another department's records

Should you wish to consult records less than 30 years old which are not the responsibility of your own department or section, we require that the department or section responsible make the request on your behalf. Please contact us to discuss this. Requests for central University administrative ('Registry') files in the Archives should be made directly to us.


If you have a straightforward enquiry, whether relating to your department, or of a more general nature, we will be happy to look the information up for you. Please email us at

Transferring records

The following is a brief guide to the transferring of central administrative, faculty and departmental records to the Archives.

Why transfer records to the archives?

The Archives has a responsibility to ensure that the records of potential historic importance are preserved permanently. Once records are no longer of any administrative use, they should either be destroyed or selected by the archives. We advise that any records of historic value which are no longer needed administratively, and which are currently retained in departments, are transferred to us. The reasons for this are:

  • the Archives offers greater security than most local office environments: access to the records is controlled and unauthorised use is prevented;
  • the Archives' storage areas are monitored to ensure that the records are stored in environmental conditions which will not accelerate their physical deterioration: records are also protected by boxes and other archival packaging;
  • once records are in the Archives they can be made available, subject to any restrictions on access to historians, researchers and the wider academic community.

What records are the archives interested in?

The University's archives should provide a complete and accurate picture of the University's organisation and governance, its key functions and activities, major developments and achievements, and relationships with its various stakeholders, insofar as these are reflected in the University's administrative records (as defined in the archives' Collection Policy).

We aim to select records which collectively build up a comprehensive but compact picture of the University over time. Further details of the type of records we are looking to preserve are available in our Selection Policy (PDF). These may be records which:

  • document high-level decision-making throughout the University (eg signed minutes and related papers of University committees, boards and other bodies)
  • provide evidence of the University's assets, such as property
  • document University procedures, such as student admission, examination or the awarding of degrees

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you are in any doubt about the value of the records you have, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can arrange to come and visit your department and look at the records. It is helpful to us if you can tell us what sort of records you have (eg minute books, correspondence files), what they concern, and what period they cover (eg 1960s).