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Section 6: Storage Areas and Equipment

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Introduction

For districts and any offices maintaining an inactive records storage area, this section contains information on

  • storage area requirements,
  • box identification, and
  • types of storage boxes available.
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Essential Requirements for Storage Areas

  • Make sure storage areas are secure. Provide protection from:
    • the elements: A windowless, air-conditioned environment is best;
    • insects: Food and drink should not be allowed in the storage area;
    • fire: A storage area with a fire-suppression sprinkler system is ideal. Suitable fire extinguishers should be accessible. Smoking in or near the storage area should be strictly prohibited. Do not store volatile substances in or near the same place as records;
    • aaccess by unauthorized people.
  • Use shelving. Metal shelves are best. Keep the bottom shelf at least two or three inches off the floor. For fast retrieval, you may organize the shelving area by record types, fiscal years, etc. Use shelf labels.
  • Stack boxes. If shelving is not practical or available, stack boxes on pallets or some other support that keeps them off the floor. Cardboard document storage boxes may be stacked up to six high. It helps to insert 1/4-inch plywood between boxes. Cut plywood sheets a little larger than the lids of the boxes. Attach a large label identifying the stacked records to a box on the outside of the stack, or even individual outside boxes. Retrieval is more difficult with this storage method.
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Record Location Aids

Index storedrecords in sufficient detail to retrieve them. Form 1419 is designed to capture this information. Include the location (pallet number, shelf location, etc.), a reference to the Agency Item Number on the TxDOT records retention schedule, and the date the records become eligible for destruction on the index. Furnish a copy of the index in a pending file, arranged by destruction date, to your records administrator. The list can serve as a detail attachment when documenting records destruction.

For quick retrieval, attach an index or list of contents to each box. Avoid adhesives that attract insects. You may also want to place a copy of the index inside the box.

Mark boxes visibly to identify the contents and destruction date. Include only records with the same destruction date in any single box. Use different colored markers for different destruction dates, and avoid colors that fade in sunlight. Mark any boxes that contain either vital records or records requiring review by the State Archives before destruction.

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Types of Storage Boxes

Although the standard document storage box is the only type allowed at the TxDOT records center or State Records Center, there are occasions when other types of boxes may be needed for local use. The table below describes several types of storage boxes.

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Box Type

Description

Standard Document Storage Box

Standard document storage boxes are one cubic foot in volume, measuring 10 x 12 x 15 inches. They hold letter- and legal-size documents and have removable lids. Empty boxes fold flat for storage. Request these boxes from local supply rooms, Regional Distribution Centers or warehouses (NIGP # 615-37-13-0850).

Permafile Box

These boxes are also known as transfer boxes. The standard size is 10 x 12 x 24 inches, and the legal size is 10 x 15 x 24 inches. The boxes are collapsible and reusable. Each has the same volume as a file drawer. Permafile boxes are commercially available.

While useful for storing some types of records such as rolled maps or large documents, Permafile boxes have some disadvantages:

  • Weight: a full box weighs up to 100 pounds.
  • Hazards: the metal reinforcing strip can cut hands and rip clothing.
  • Inefficient use of space: Boxes cannot be stacked more than four or five high without crushing the box on the bottom. Legal-size boxes do not fit standard shelving.

Bankers Box

These cardboard boxes slip into metal-reinforced cardboard shelving units. They are the same size as standard document storage boxes. Bankers' boxes are an inexpensive way to store records. However, the shelving units will not support more than seven or eight full boxes in a stack, and you must dismantle an entire stack to replace a worn unit. The units tend to weaken with time and use, and may become dangerously unstable.

Custom Box

Some offices make wooden boxes to store construction project records. Each project has its own box, which simplifies moves and transfers.

Other

Cardboard boxes for use with specific media are available under state contract (commodity code 640-25-60).



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