University of Missouri - Columbia Archives

Policy Number 4: Classification of Records


All records entering the University Archives must be given a unique classification number.


It is the purpose of the classifying of records to provide unique and logical identification within the Archives Record Group system for each set of records entering into the holdings of the University Archives. This classification number facilitates later location and use of the records, links records of the same or similar origination, and assists in establishing provenance.


This policy applies to all University of Missouri - Columbia Archives staff members and student workers.


4-1. The University Archives staff is responsible for establishing and upholding the Archives classification schemes.

4-2. The University Archives staff and student workers (under staff direction) are responsible for assigning classification numbers to new materials according to the guidelines set forth below.


5-1. Classification Number - a number given to a Record Group or Record Subgroup which indicates: 1-the campus, 2-the school, college, or administrative unit, 3-the office or department of the school, college, or administrative unit from which the records originated, and 4-the sequence in which the collection was accessioned and processed.

5-2. Accession Checklist - a form that allows one to check off the steps taken in the accession and description process for records taken in by the University Archives.

5-3. Record Group Listing Guide - a comprehensive list of all of the classification numbers used in the system and the unassigned numbers available for new administrative units or academic departments.

5-4. Certificate of Disposition - a form used by the Records Center to inform originating offices of the intention to transfer Records to the University Archives. When records are transferred to Archives Custody in this way, the Certificate of Disposition becomes the substitute or equivalent of the Form UM 34A, Transfer of Records to Archives.

5-5. Archives Holdings at the Records Center Database - a database maintained by the Records Management Division that lists all of the records in the Records Center that are in the administrative custody of the University Archives.


6-1. All collections receive a permanent classification number during the accessioning process. The records may be suitable to add to an existing collection or they may require a new classification. It is necessary to browse through the records originating from the same administrative or academic unit in order to see which of these actions should be taken.

6-2. The classification number consists of 4 parts:

6-2-1. The first part indicates whether the records were created by an administrative unit of the University of Missouri - Columbia (C) or by the University of Missouri System (UW).

6-2-2. The second part indicates the school, college, or administrative unit that created the records, e.g., 3 corresponds in the classification system to the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.

6-2-3. The third part indicates the office or department of the school, college, or administrative unit that created the records, e.g., 4 corresponds in the classification system to the Office of the Director of Placement.

6-2-4. The fourth part of the number indicates the sequential number of collections processed under a certain Record Group or Record Subgroup.

EXAMPLE: C:3/4/1 indicates Columbia Campus: College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources/Director of Placement/first collection processed in the Director of Placement's Subgroup.

6-3. It may be necessary to create new Record Groups and thus new classification numbers. This will be done in consultation with the University Archivist. The new entry must be added to the online UW or C Record-Group Classification List (links below).

6-4. If a newly accessioned body of records fits directly and logically within an already accessioned, described, and classified subgroup, then a new collection may be added to an already existing one. Notations to that effect are made on both the original and the new Form 34A, Transfer of Records to Archives or the Certificate of Disposition. The existing classification number and the accession number are written in the upper right hand corner. Notice of the new collection number and accession number is sent to the Records Center so that they can update the Archives Holdings at the Records Center database.

However, in the majority of cases, it is best for a new accession to receive its own classification number and description. This practice will facilitate reference service much better than adding to an existing collection.

6-5. When the classification number for accessioned records is determined, that number is to be noted on the Accession Checklist before proceeding further with the accessioning process.

NOTE: Previously the letters NP have been used in classification numbers to indicate that particular collections were unprocessed. As of 07/2002, this designation is no longer used and all collections are given unique classification numbers regardless of level of processing.

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7-1. Record-Group Classification List for Columbia Campus Records - C

7-2. Record-Group Classification List for University-Wide System Records - UW

(Revised: 12 August 2002)

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Published by: University Archives

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