Record Keeping 101

If you are new to the concept and process of records management, familiarize yourself with the content below and the Record Management Handbook.  The Handbook will notify you of your employee responsibility and how UW-Green Bay retains and disposes of our records.

Know your records

Familiarize yourself with the records in your department.  Next, locate an approved record schedule from the Record Schedules List that best matches the description of the records you need to dispose of.  All records identified in your department should be categorized under an approved Records Schedule.  Each Record Schedule conveys a set of requirements for the duration a record may be maintained.  There are only two courses of action to occur once a record falls outside of the Record Schedule retention:  Transferring Records or Destroying Records.

You CANNOT dispose of a record if the retention period has not been met, nor can you follow a department list for retention.  Your source of truth is the approved record schedule.

Most administrative records fall under the UW System Administrative General Records Schedule.  However, your department may also have specific records relating to your area that would require reviewing a different Record Schedule (i.e. Academic Advising or Residential Programs), or, you have have Disposable Records that require no retention.  See Locating Record Schedules - Disposable Records for rules on what is classified as "disposable".

Understanding Record Schedules is key to knowing the retention parameters of records in your department.  For instance, the schedules note that Agenda's are retained for 3 years and transferred to Archives, while Student Loan Repayment Records are kept for 7 years before destruction.  The way you process a transfer to archives is different than how you would destroy a record.   The Periodically Assess Your Records section below is the first step in determining what needs to happen to your records AFTER the retention date.

Inventory Department Records
There are two courses of action with records:  archiving or destruction.  Use the Inventory Management Worksheet to inventory your records .  During this assessment you will match your records with an approved record schedule using the Record Schedules List.  Once complete, during the annual review process, you will easily know which records are ready for disposal.  Are records ready for Transferring to Archives or can they be set for Destruction?

Records can be transferred to the Archives at anytime once the retention period has passed.  Records needing confidential destruction are initiated twice a year by the Records Officer.

Set Document Standards

Eventually, many records will make their way to the Archives.  Having a system set up with good naming conventions - for BOTH paper and electronic records - will make it easy to store and retrieve records later.  Avoid acronyms unless it is commonly used and also contains other relevant information.  There's nothing worse than trying to find a 10 year old facility use plan that was filed as "J. Doe's Files" or "FUP Reviews" and sifting through hundreds of records to find the right one.   For either paper or electronic records, the Archives suggests similar formatting standards:

Paper Electronic
File Name:  Student Union Facility Plans 2012

File Name:  Clery Act Crime Report Data 2015

Improper Labeling 
File Name:   Archives Police Lists
Folder Name:    Graduate Research Committee Minutes 2008
      File Name:   Graduate Research Minutes 01152008
      File Name:   Graduate Research Minutes 02232008

Improper Labeling
Folder Name:    GRC Reports
       File Name:  GRC January Report
       File Name:  GRC February Report

My office is going paperless. What do we need to do?

Electronic records are still public records.  Electronic records have the same value as a paper record.  Treat all electronic records the same way you would paper.  See Recordkeeping 101 for instructions to periodically assess your records.  Thinking about Digitizing?  There are associated costs in the production of digital files, and current technology records we have in place now, may not be necessarily accessible in the future.  Hardware and software required to read such files may become obsolete.  Careful planning with IT staff and the Records Officer, will be necessary before you take the next step toward digitization.  Read more on digitizing at UW System Digitization of Information.