Records Management

A. Introduction

Many college and university archival programs include records management. This section outlines basic considerations and components of records management programs either within or organizationally separate from archival programs. See also the suggested readings in Appendix II.

B. Records Management Objectives

C. A Policy Statement:

D. Organizational Relationships

The administrative relationships must facilitate a systems approach to records management; i.e., analyze and appraise all components of an information systems as a unit. This approach requires coordinated and cooperative organizational relationships to bring together and address the needs of the records creator, information technology staff, records management, archives and others. Organizational relationships should:

E. An Advisory Body Can:

Appropriate members of this body include: the institution's archivist and records manager; along with representatives from legal services, internal audit, each of the major organizational units, and the institution's information technology unit.

F. Components of a Records Management Program May Include:

Fundamental areas of a basic records management program include:

1. Policy and procedure development.

Policies should provide authority and define parameters of the program, define relationships with other institution units (See C. above), and denote levels of responsibility and services provided. The records manager/archivist should produce a records management manual to specify the institution's records program policies and procedures.

2. A records retention and disposition program.

a) Inventory and appraise records to gather basic information about the organization's records to facilitate records appraisal, to establish retention and disposition schedules, to achieve economies in the storage and disposition of inactive records, and to identify the institution's vital records.

b) Develop schedules to define retention and disposition responsibilities. During the schedules' development, they must incorporate legal, audit, administrative and historical values of the institution's records and information. The archivist should consult the institution's legal counsel and internal auditor while reviewing or approving these schedules. This review can be the responsibility of the advisory group described in D. above.

c) Records managers/archivists can use a variety of methods to implement retention and disposition policies.

—Make them available to those in the working offices; i.e., office administrative staffs.
—Publicize them using the most accessible communication vehicle; e.g., administrative manuals, Web pages or other online communication technologies.
—Share retention and disposition policies with information technology staffs and with those responsible for the institution's information resource planning.
—Implementation should also include provision for periodic audits and reviews to insure that the retention policies are up to date and that campus offices are implementing them appropriately.

3. Data collection/forms management.

4. Active records management.

5. Inactive records management.

6. Training and outreach program.

To be effective, the records manager/archivist will have to rely on others in the institution to assist in carrying out the objectives of the records management program. The training and outreach program should: