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Procedures


These procedures will help you in following records management guidelines listed in the official policy, and in using the Campus Retention Schedule (CRS). Each office should designate a records liaison to work with the recordkeeping duties of the office under the guidance of records managers from Special Collections.

1. Survey and inventory your records

Inventory your existing records and recordkeeping systems to gain an understanding of records you create and use, and the systems used for managing those records. While doing so, identify if your office holds any vital records. Note: Not all offices have vital records; such records often make up only a small portion of the total records of an office. 

To identify vital records, first determine whether the record would be needed after a disaster in reconstructing the function and operation of that agency. The following factors should be considered:
  • What would be the effect on business if a particular record disappeared?
  • What effect would the destruction of records have on the general public's interest?
  • Would the loss of these records hinder the recovery of monies needed to replace buildings and equipment?
  • What delays would occur in production, sales, and services?
  • What difficulties would occur in replacing destroyed records?

2. Organize your records

Effectively organizing your records ensures an efficient retrieval of information, which applies to paper as well as electronic filing systems. Developing a filing plan can help describe policies and procedures for storing and organizing records in your office. For examples and additional advice on filing, see Filing & Storage.

A filing system should be based on classifying the records your office creates and organizing them in a hierarchical manner. The system you establish should be simple, logical, and easy to implement. One way of organizing records is by following the CRS, which classifies records by functional units (e.g. Administrative, Financial, etc.). Within those units are records categories grouped by similar types or records and similar retention periods (e.g. minutes and agendas are grouped together in a records series in the Administrative function). Others ways may be more effective for your particular office. File plans can be used for both paper and electronic records.

3. Create a Departmental Retention Schedule (as needed)

This step is necessary for those offices that have different records than those listed on the CRS. If the CRS does not cover records used in your office, contact the records manager.

Download a blank Departmental Retention Schedule and include records categories based on the CRS that apply to your office's recordkeeping responsibilities. Include retention periods and final disposition of all records. You can use this schedule to help you organize and file your records. 

To find your office's existing retention schedule, go to the Retention Schedule Library. (If you do not have access to the Retention Schedule Library, contact us for access.)

4. Retain your records according to the schedule

Examine the CRS and/or your department's retention schedule to understand the event that starts records retention and the length of time a particular category of records needs to be retained. Organizing your records based on the CRS's categories and also by date will help in handling retention periods. Special Collections cannot store items needing to be retained, but can advise in organizing and final dispotion.

5. Dispose of records based on the retention requirements listed in the schedule

Once a category of records meets its retention period, the next step is disposal through destruction, permanent retention in office, or transfer to Special Collections. Each category of records has listed with it a final disposal action. While Special Collections does not store items awaiting destruction, it can provide guidance on any disposition action.

Destruction:

Most records will likely be destroyed through secure shredding (if the records contain private or sensitive information) or campus recycling. Destruction must be accompanied by a Records Destruction Form. Records should be destroyed once a retention period is complete. 

Documents that are routine or transitory, are not official records, and are not listed on the CRS can be destroyed without filling out a form. Destruction of such documents should be routine.

Note. If a litigation is pending or in progress, records disposition must stop and records will need to be retained beyond the listed retention periods. The Records Manager must be notified of any litigation that would require retention of records beyond normal disposition.   

Permanent Retention & Transfer: 

For records that are listed as permanent or archival, review them to ensure only records listed as permanent are included. Review the Permanent Library Holdings Policy to make sure the records meet the criteria listed therein. While the most common action is to transfer historical records to Special Collections, some may serve administrative or historical needs to the office that created them. Contact a Special Collections Librarian to discuss this.

After determining which records meet the above requirements, contact a Special Collections Librarian for review of the records and for storage boxes. Complete a records transfer list prior to transfer.