What is a Record?

A record is any document - in any format (paper or electronic, and yes even video) - created or received by you or your department - that allows you to conduct business.  The value of a record is determined by content, not by format.   

An easy test:  If a document helps you perform your job description or documents the history and/or administration of your office, it is probably a record and should be handled appropriately.  This includes email and instant messages!

Common Records Disposable Records
Includes, but is not limited to:                                 
                  
  • correspondence
  • emails
  • forms
  • instant messages
  • committee minutes
  • memoranda
  • policy statements
  • budgets
  • SharePoint files
Note:  the University's IT Department does not retain
email records on a backup server.  It is the responsibility
of each individual to manage their email.  Refer to
Managing Email section for tips.
These items may be discarded at will:
 
  • duplicate or convenience copies of correspondence
  • drafts of letters or reports
  • routing slips
  • correspondence not related to your job duties



 









How long do I keep a record?

You keep a record for the duration specified in a Records Schedule. These schedules are specific policies that determine the retention of a record.   View What is a Records Schedule to understand more about these policies.   The value of a record is often determined by the following categories:

  • Administrative Value: The usefulness or significance of records to support ancillary operations and the routine management of an organization. Records having administrative value are generally considered useful or relevant to the execution of the activities that cause the record to be created and during the audit of those activities.
  • Fiscal Value: The usefulness or significance of records containing financial information that is necessary to conduct current or future business or that serves as evidence of financial transactions.
  • Historical Value: The usefulness of records for historical research concerning an organization’s functions and development, or for information about persons, places, or events.
  • Legal Value: The usefulness or significance of records to document and protect the rights and interests of an individual or organization, to provide for defense in litigation, to demonstrate compliance with laws and regulations, or to meet other legal needs.
  • Research or informational value: Within the University environment, records often have research value. This is the value or significance to the materials based upon their content, independent of any intrinsic or evidential value.

Am I responsible for every record I receive?

Although documents that you receive in the course of business are records, you may not be responsible for long-term maintenance of all of them. In most cases where documents are disseminated, such as in the case of correspondence or committee minutes, the records creator (in these examples, the sender or the committee chair) holds the copy of record, which is the official, long-term copy that must be held for public records purposes. All other copies are considered convenience copies and usually have shorter retention times.