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Central Records Unit records (University of California, Irvine)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: University of California, Irvine, Central Records Unit records
    Creator: University of California, Irvine. Central Records Unit
    Identifier/Call Number: AS.004
    Physical Description: 311.3 Linear Feet (765 boxes and 11 oversize folders) and 14.6 unprocessed linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1928-1994
    Date (bulk): 1965-1984
    Abstract: These records capture a large proportion of the most important, top-level incoming correspondence of the first three decades of UCI's history. The collection contains correspondence, departmental memos, meeting minutes, financial statements, statistical analyses, reports, program development plans, building development plans, legal records, and miscellaneous notes generated by various units of central UCI campus administration and UC offices. Some of the materials predate the establishment of the Central Records Unit in 1963. The bulk of the records pertain to campus administrative activities and operations, academic affairs, academic departments, community affairs and the planning and construction of the UCI campus.
    Language of Material: English .


    Most processed components of the collection are open for research. However, boxes 578, 602, 712, and 728-731 are restricted. Please see collection contents for more details. Unprocessed additions may contain restricted materials. Please contact the Special Collections and Archives Department in advance to request access.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    University of California, Irvine, Central Records Unit records. AS-004. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    The Central Records Unit transferred the bulk of these records to the University Archives in 1988. Subsequent accessions were added between 1988 and 1994. Almost 300 linear feet of additional materials were accessioned in 2001. An additional 1.6 linear feet were added in 2010. 11 linear feet of legal records were added in 2013. Another 11 boxes were added in 2014.

    Processing Information

    Upon receipt in 1988 the collection was rehoused by Archives staff. The collection was processed by Archives staff from 1997 to 2000. Additional materials were processed in 2003, 2007-2008, 2010, and 2013.

    Organizational History

    The Central Records Unit was established by Vice Chancellor L.E. Cox in late 1963 and began operations on January 1, 1964. The primary goal of the unit was to provide central administrative offices a simple and effective system to manage their administrative documents and collect and maintain a body of material that would serve as campus administration's corporate memory for business purposes. This unit provided a central location for the maintenance of office files, reproduction services, processing incoming and outgoing mail, monitoring action items until they were completed, distribution of campus administrative procedure and policy statements, and managing retention schedules for records having administrative, legal, fiscal, or research value. Initially the offices served by Central Records included the Chancellor's Office, Public Affairs, Student Affairs (except student records), Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance, Architects and Engineers, Personnel (except records on individuals), Purchasing, Grounds and Buildings and various academic departments.
    Central Records procedures for processing campus mail varied through the years. Prior to 1989, Central Records sorted and routed mail directly to addressees. In 1989, at the request of Chancellor Peltason and with the goal of speeding up mail processing, Central Records began photocopying all incoming U.S. and campus mail addressed to administrative control points by name or title. Control points included the Chancellor, the Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, the Associate Vice Chancellors, and the Assistant Vice Chancellors. In 1989, the photocopies were sent to addressees, and the originals were retained and filed by Central Records. In 1990 processing policy changed: photocopies were filed and the originals were forwarded to the addressee. Once material was no longer of use to the addressee or office, Central Records encouraged the return of the original documents so they could be placed back in Central Records files, and the photocopies were discarded. Mail marked "Administrative Confidential," "Addressee Only," "Personal," or "Mr. and Mrs." was forwarded directly to the addressee and not opened or photocopied by Central Records. This approach was in place from 1990-1992.
    The Central Records Unit functioned as an office of record for campus administration. In addition to its records management function, Central Records also accepted any materials that departments believed had historical value for eventual transfer to the University Archives, which the Library began staffing in ca. 1968.
    At its inception, Central Records faced a good deal of reluctance and suspicion, since staff feared placing their files in a central administrative area "for all to see." The active support of top campus administrators helped immeasurably to overcome these attitudes. Soon departments found Central Records services to be an efficient and dependable means of managing their records.
    In its first year of operation the Central Records Unit achieved many of its goals, including saving space and equipment, eliminating duplicate material campuswide, and building the beginnings of a systematic records management program. Unfortunately, the unit also encountered a dilemma that would become increasingly problematic in future years: limited staffing vs. an increasing amount of incoming material due to the growth of the campus. In future years lack of space also became a major problem. In 1975 and 1981 files were selectively microfilmed in order to provide more space for incoming materials, and some original documents may have been discarded.
    Central Records service was designed for high-level administrators in the Administration building. Services were offered to other departments on a voluntary basis. When a department in the Administration building decided not to utilize Central Records services, all mail was sent directly to the office or department unopened, and the department was responsible for maintaining its own records. When an office moved out of the Administration building, Central Records services were no longer provided to that office.
    At times when Central Records staff suffered heavy workloads, modifications to current procedures were made in order to place more responsibility with the individual departments for records upkeep. Invariably, these modifications significantly affected the continuity of Central Records files. If left to the departments, many did not regularly forward the required materials to be included in Central Records. For example, due to a heavy workload in 1971, Central Records stopped processing the Purchasing department's mail. The processing was reinstated in 1972 when staff realized that legal records that the department had forgotten to forward were missing from Central Records files.
    In the mid-1980s, for a variety of reasons, some Central Records users began duplicating Central Records tracking activities in their own offices. A memo from Dowrene Hahn, Records Management Coordinator, dated August 21, 1984 stated that "The Central Records system should be updated to minimize or eliminate the need for logging by individual offices." Soon after, the Central Records Task Force was created to examine the present performance of the unit. Their final report states:
    The methods established to perform these functions accommodated the University of California (Irvine) during the 1960s but have become less efficient in recent years. Many service and function changes have taken place in this time, along with organizational changes and new management in Central Records and at higher levels of campus administration. The revolutionary advances in office automation and information processing have also significantly impacted Central Records.
    Among other things, the Task Force recommended that Central Records not maintain personal files or departmental working files. Otherwise, "a radical reassignment of job responsibilities and additional space, equipment, and personnel would be required to facilitate all departmental demands placed on the current system."
    In 1985, with hopes of attaining a higher level of control over files housed at Central Records, a computerized database was introduced to index all documents on file. Each document was assigned a unique number that was used to identify the document in the database; physical items were still filed by subject. Central Records staff read each incoming document and entered keywords describing the document's subject into the database. The database gave staff the ability to locate documents using the document number, addressee, sender, and subject keywords.
    In 1991 the Central Records Unit moved from the Administration Building to North Campus, and staffing was cut from 9 FTE to 2 FTE over the course of about four years. As a result Central Records abandoned its mail-processing component and delivered mail directly to each department. Since mail processing was in the hands of each department, Central Records depended on each office to forward appropriate materials for inclusion in Central Records. At this point, the campus records manager, Dowrene Hahn, began advising individual departments on managing their own records, including what type of documents to maintain, for how long, and where permanent documents should be forwarded (to either Central Records or University Archives). Central Records was disbanded in 1992 at the beginning of the administration of Chancellor Laurel Wilkening due to budget cuts.


    Missing Title

    1963 Established by Vice Chancellor L.E. Cox.
    1964 Began servicing campus from the Library Administration Building.
    1970s Moved to the Administration Building.
    1971 Name changed to Administrative Services.
    1975 Microfilming of permanent records covering 1963-1969.
    1981 Microfilming of permanent records covering 1970-1977.
    1984 Name changed back to Central Records.
    1984 Central Records Task Force commissioned to review current procedures.
    1985 Computerized database introduced to index all documents on file.
    1991 Moved to North Campus facility.
    1991 Eliminated processing of incoming campus and U.S. mail (served distribution
      function only).
    1992 Disbanded due to campus budget cuts.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    These records capture a large proportion of the most important, top-level incoming correspondence of the first three decades of UCI's history. The collection contains correspondence, departmental memos, meeting minutes, financial statements, statistical analyses, reports, program development plans, building development plans, and miscellaneous notes generated by various units of central UCI campus administration and UC offices. Some of the materials predate the establishment of the Central Records Unit in 1963. The bulk of the records pertain to campus administrative activities and operations, academic affairs, academic departments, community affairs and the planning and construction of the UCI campus.
    The function of Central Records was to collect and document the corporate memory of UCI for business purposes. For this reason, the bulk of this collection consists of campus administration material. Coverage of other campus units such as alumni affairs, personnel, student affairs, extramural financial aids, gifts and endowments, university advancement, contracts and grants, centers, institutes, organized research units, libraries, and UC systemwide affairs is relatively weak.
    Researchers interested in early Irvine city planning should consult series 12 (Community Affairs). This series includes material on the Irvine City Council, Irvine City Planning Commission, Council of the Communities of Irvine, and Irvine Tomorrow, covering the years 1960 through 1983.
    Material in the collection is largely textual, although many maps and blueprints are included in Series 15-17. Other formats scattered throughout the collection are microfilm and a few photographs.
    There is no way to know how complete this collection is for the represented offices. As various offices began taking control of their own files in later years, documents may not have been forwarded to Central Records on a regular basis. As a result, the collection at present best documents administrative activities and operations in UCI's early years. This balance is likely to change as additional records are transferred to the University Archives collection.
    From 1964 through 1985, a purple-edged sticker was affixed when an item was routed, indicating the name of the addressee and the date. In 1985, the use of stickers was abandoned and Central Records began attaching colored slips to routed items. Red slips were attached to action items, and green slips were attached to informal items. During the processing of this collection, adhesive stickers and stapled routing slips were not removed from Central Records material. The information on these remaining stickers and slips reflect the last person to whom the file was routed.
    After photocopying and distributing the originals of campus and U.S. mail, Central Records processing activities also included penciling a file plan classification number in the top right corner of each item or group of items (see "Organization" following this section for a description of the file plan scheme). The material was then filed according to these numbers, in reverse chronological order. In processing this collection, materials within each folder were reorganized into chronological order.
    In addition to the file plan number, each document was annotated at top right as "Permanent" or "Routine." Documents were classified as "Permanent" (indicated by a "P") if Central Records determined that they had permanent historical value. Permanent document types included policies, procedures, meeting minutes, reports, contracts, plans, financial statements and statistical analyses. Documents such as brochures, notices and miscellaneous loose papers were classified as "Routine" (indicated by an "R"). Both "P" and "R" documents are interfiled within folders and within file plan series.
    Example: 330-30R
    Some documents lack any annotation of file plan number or permanent/routine character. These may have been transferred to the Central Records collection from elsewhere in the University Archives.


    These records are arranged into 19 series corresponding to the highest level of the file plan arrangement imposed by the Central Records Unit based on its file plan. The number sequence that follows each series title indicates the relevant segment of the file plan.
    • Series 0. File Index to the Central Records Unit 0.4 linear ft.
    • Series 1. University Affairs (100-149) 0.2 linear ft.
    • Series 1a. University Affairs (100-149), additional records 2.4 linear ft.
    • Series 2. Personnel (150-299) 2.7 linear ft.
    • Series 2a. Personnel (150-299), additional records 23.8 linear ft.
    • Series 3. Administrative Activities and Operations (300-399) 21.2 linear ft.
    • Series 3a. Administrative Activities and Operations (300-399), additional records 42.4 linear ft.
    • Series 4. Academic Affairs (400-449) 10.7 linear ft.
    • Series 4a. Academic Affairs (400-449), additional records 8.8 linear ft.
    • Series 5. Academic Departments, Schools and Colleges (450-524) 16.5 linear ft.
    • Series 5a. Academic Departments, Schools and Colleges (450-524), additional records 28.2 linear ft.
    • Series 6. Bureaus, Centers, Institutes, Museums, Organized Research Units and Libraries (525-599) 2.2 linear ft.
    • Series 6a. Bureaus, Centers, Institutes, Museums, Organized Research Units and Libraries (525-599), additional records 5.4 linear ft.
    • Series 7. Student Affairs (600-639) 4.7 linear ft.
    • Series 7a. Student Affairs (600-639), additional records 18.8 linear ft.
    • Series 8. Extramural Financial Aids (640-649) 1.6 linear ft.
    • Series 8a. Extramural Financial Aids (640-649), additional records 10.6 linear ft.
    • Series 9. Alumni Affairs (650-674) 0.2 linear ft.
    • Series 9a. Alumni Affairs (650-674), additional records 0.8 linear ft.
    • Series 10. Gifts and Endowments (675-679) 0.8 linear ft.
    • Series 10a. Gifts and Endowments (675-679), additional records 3.0 linear ft.
    • Series 11. University Advancement (680-744) 2.6 linear ft.
    • Series 11a. University Advancement (680-744), additional records 11.2 linear ft.
    • Series 12. Community Affairs (745-749) 3.2 linear ft.
    • Series 12a. Community Affairs (745-749), additional records 2.7 linear ft.
    • Series 13. Government Agencies (750-799) 1.6 linear ft.
    • Series 13a. Government Agencies (750-799), additional records 0.9 linear ft.
    • Series 14. Extramural Contracts and Grants (800-849) 0.8 linear ft.
    • Series 14a. Extramural Contracts and Grants (800-849), additional records 6.3 linear ft.
    • Series 15. Plant - Planning and Construction (850-879) 16.3 linear ft.
    • Series 15a. Plant - Planning and Construction (850-879), additional records 29.2 linear ft.
    • Series 16. Plant - Operations (880-914) 0.5 linear ft.
    • Series 16a. Plant - Operations (880-914), additional records 11.9 linear ft.
    • Series 17. Plant - Non-Instructional Activities (915-949) 1.9 linear ft.
    • Series 17a. Plant - Non-Instructional Activities (915-949), additional records 4.8 linear ft.
    • Series 18. Chancellor's Personal Files (950-974) 0.6 linear ft.
    • Series 19. Legal records, 11 linear ft.
    The collection also contains two unprocessed additions:
    Accession 2003.008A: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women unprocessed addition, 1971-1991, 0.4 linear ft. Accession 2014.017: Central Records unprocessed addition, circa 1959-1991, 11 linear ft.
    The file plan is structured in multiple tiers. For example:
    • Tier 1 (Series) Personnel (150-299)
    • Tier 2 200 Academic
    • Tier 3 200-20 Appointment, Promotion, Termination
    • Tier 4 200-20-01 General
    Each first-tier series heading is followed by inclusive file plan numbers for the entire series. The second-tier three-digit number represents a more specific section of the series. In the third and fourth tiers, two-digit numbers are added which represent more specific subject filing within the hierarchy.
    Users of the collections should be aware that filers varied in their skill and attention to details of the file plan, and some items may therefore be filed under a higher "tier" than necessary.
    The Central Records file plan has changed over the years; file plan numbers have been deleted and added to accommodate the changing campus administrative structure. In this collection many file plan numbers have no material filed under them; these files have not yet been processed, but are available for use through consultation with the University Archivist.
    File plan numbers and titles taken from the latest version of the Central Records file plan were used throughout this guide; obsolete numbers were not utilized. In addition, file plan numbers with no material associated do not appear in this guide.
    Series 19 (Legal records) was added in 2013 and was originally arranged by lettered code rather than by a numeric code sequence. Most of the records in this series do have a number sequence written on them, but they are not arranged by this sequence.

    Separated Material

    Central Records numbers 950-974, Chancellor's Personal Files (.04 linear feet) were removed from this collection and filed in Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich Records (AS-001).