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Records Management Guidelines for University Departments

Office of Special Collections and Records Management, David O. McKay Library, Brigham Young University-Idaho

The intent of this policy is to provide general guidelines for establishing a records management program and promote University compliance with recordkeeping laws and regulations, manage risk, and preserve University history. A University Records Manager (a Special Collections Librarian) is assigned to assist campus departments that require long-term records retention to follow the Campus Retention Schedule, and as necessary, to have and follow their own Records Retention Schedule. The Records Management program will provide recommendations for effectively managing University records, including proper destruction, storage, and security, as well as minimizing the cost of legal discovery.

1. Records Management is the systematic and administrative control of records, regardless of media, throughout their life cycle to ensure efficiency and economy in their creation, use, handling, control, maintenance, and disposition.

2. A record at BYU-Idaho is any information or data in a fixed medium of a legal or official nature that may be used as evidence of the University's business transactions, activities, organization, or history that is created, received, recorded, or legally filed in the course of fulfilling the University's mission.

3. The Campus Retention Schedule is the key tool for managing records effectively.

4. The Records Management program seeks to meet several requirements:

  • Ensure only essential records of continuing value are preserved. Records should be retained in the active department office areas as long as they serve immediate administrative, legal, or fiscal purpose, or as long as the department considers in-office retention necessary for administrative or historical reasons.
  • Safeguard against the illegal removal, loss, or destruction of records. Records should be disposed of according to the Campus Retention Schedule.
  • Management of records is the responsibility of the owner, or creator, of the record. Department offices provide guidance on records unique to their offices, and should contact the Records Manager for additional guidance.

5. Benefits

  • Legal compliance and safety of vital organizational records
  • Improved staff productivity with higher quality of service and faster retrieval of documents
  • Reduced storage costs through elimination of unnecessary and duplicate documents and an efficient, cost-effective retention and disposal system

6. The Records Management program consists of several components, foremost among them the Campus Retention Schedule with guidelines for disposition through destruction or transfer. Other components include vital records programs, electronic records and email management, active and inactive records management, training for records liaisons, imaging and scanning, and components deemed necessary by the University.

7. The Records Manager shall initiate recurring activities, including:

  • An annual inventory of electronic records centers in SharePoint and other electronic records repositories to confirm records retention is being followed
  • An annual review of the Campus Retention Schedule for accuracy
  • Annual departmental reviews and Campus Retention Schedule follow up with training as required
  • An annual files purge program, including email purge days. The Records Manager will advertise, initiate, and document an annual file purge by all departments to purge documents that are no longer required (including email and electronic documents) only according to destruction listings in the Campus Retention Schedule.

1. Administration shall identify who reviews and provides approval of an updated or changed Campus Retention Schedule, and of any departmental retention schedules

2. College deans and department heads are responsible for

  • Identifying a records liaison for each department
  • Reviewing and updating retention schedules provided by the records liaison
  • Reviewing records management policies and guidelines, as needed
  • Coordinating department activities that may impact records management, such as recordkeeping training, storage, file purges, and disposal

3. Records liaisons are responsible for

  • Obtaining training from the Records Manager
  • Becoming familiar with records management guidelines given on the records retention website
  • Enforcing the Campus Retention Schedule in their departments
  • Managing the department's records
  • Attending required records liaisons' meetings

4. Records Manager is responsible for

  • Assisting in the design and implementation of records management programs
  • Educating and training records liaisons and others involved with recordkeeping
  • Managing the records center and oversight of other records repositories
  • Developing and maintaining the Campus Retention Schedule
  • Issuing and updating policies and guidelines given on the records retention website
  • Annual departmental reviews and Campus Retention Schedule follow up with training as required
  • Managing the components listed above
Detailed procedures can be found on the records retention website. Each department must become familiar with and follow the Campus Retention Schedule. For any unique records not covered in the schedule, the department should contact the Records Manager for assistance and information.

1. The Campus Retention Schedule is created or updated by the Records Manager after a records inventory and according to retention periods based on legal, administrative, and historical value. The schedule is official and published on the records retention website after review by Information Security, finance, and legal counsel. Departmental schedules must also be reviewed the Records Manager.

  • State, federal, and/or regulatory requirements prescribe minimum records retention periods.
  • Once the specific retention period for any paper or electronic record has been reached, the record will be destroyed consistent with appropriate procedures.
  • Notwithstanding minimum retention periods, all records shall be maintained until all required audits are completed and shall be kept beyond the listed retention period if litigation is pending or in progress. The Records Manager must be notified of any litigation that would require retention of records beyond normal disposition.
  • Destruction of records is permitted in accordance with the law only after expiration of the retention periods stated on the approved Campus Retention Schedule.

2. Records that have entered a retention state and are no longer in current use are held in department offices until the retention period is met, then are disposed of either through destruction or transfer. Destruction of records must be reviewed and accompanied by a signed Destruction Form. Records selected for long term or permanent storage must meet the BYU-Idaho Permanent Library Holdings Policy for University Departments and be reviewed by Special Collections Librarians prior to transfer to permanent library holdings. Permanent records include hard copies and electronic version of records. The University's permanent records are maintained in the library.

3. Records Retention Requirements for Automated Systems

  • Electronic records follow procedures listed in the Campus Retention Schedule.
  • Systems managers will contact the Records Manager who will assist the department that owns the data in determining records retention requirements for the electronic data on new and existing systems.
  • Software solutions are part of the records management process. SharePoint is the recommended solution for facilitating electronic document sharing and management particularly for documents related to a committee or council. The Records Manager should be contacted regarding the use of SharePoint.

4. The implementation of a vital records program to protect and preserve records that contain information vital to the conduct of business in the event of a major disaster is crucial. These documents contain the information necessary to recreate the organization's legal and financial position. Vital records generally represent only a small portion of all records and information maintained by the organization. The Records Manager will review the vital records program annually. Areas of importance are financial records, employee records, student academic records (specifically student transcripts), insurance policy information, ownership records, major contracts and agreements, corporate records, and negotiable instruments.