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Records Management and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Presented by Jennifer Wright Smithsonian Institution Archives November 14, 2008 Goals of the Presentation Introduce the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and its Records Management Services

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Records Management and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Presented by

Jennifer Wright

Smithsonian Institution Archives

November 14, 2008


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Goals of the Presentation Museum

  • Introduce the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and its Records Management Services

  • Discuss the CHNDM Records Disposition Schedule

  • Describe the Processes for Discarding, Transferring, and Retrieving Records

  • Answer Questions


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SIA’s Mission Museum

  • Appraise, acquire and preserve records of the Institution

  • Assist in the proper disposal of records

  • Offer a range of reference, research, and records services

  • Create products and services which promote understanding of the Smithsonian and its history


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SIA’s Authority – SD 501 Museum

  • “All documents created or received by employees of SI in the course of official business are records of the Institution, and none may be disposed of except in accord [with guidelines] established by the Smithsonian Archives.”


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Records Management Services Museum

  • Help identify what to keep and what to discard

  • Create records disposition schedules

  • Assist you in organizing your records – advice and file plans

  • Maintain and care for records

  • Provide access to records

  • Destroy records according to established schedules


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What is a Record? Museum

  • Any official recorded information, regardless of medium or characteristics, created, received, and maintained by a Smithsonian museum, office, or employee

  • Records include paper files as well as:

    • Word Processing Files

    • Film, Video, and Audio Recordings

    • E-mail

    • Spreadsheets and Databases

    • Photographs

    • Websites

    • PowerPoint Presentations


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Appraising Records Museum

  • Decisions about which records to keep or discard are based upon:

    • Function of the office

    • Which records best document that function

    • Where the most complete set of those records are located

    • Existing guidelines established by SIA, other SI offices, or outside institutions

  • Appraisal decisions are not based on media types


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CHNDM Records Disposition Schedule Museum

  • Created based on a museum-wide records survey in 1999 and signed by CHNDM and SIA administration

  • Gives guidance on how long to keep certain types of records and what to do with them when they are no longer needed

  • Includes general schedule for records commonly found in most offices and individual schedules for records specific to each office


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Record Schedule Structure Museum

  • Consists of 6 columns

    • Series Title

    • Series Description

    • Office of Record

    • Retention Period

    • Source

    • Disposition


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Series Title and Description Museum

  • Series

    • A group of records that serve the same function and are often filed together

  • Series Title

    • A descriptive title used to identify a series of records

  • Series Description

    • A detailed description of the types of records that are included in this series.


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Office of Record Museum

  • Office of Record is responsible for maintaining the official and most complete set of the record

  • Office of Record may be your own office, another CHNDM office, or another SI office

  • If you keep copies of records, you are probably not the office of record for that series


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Retention Period Museum

  • Permanent Records

    • Historical, enduring value

    • Best document your office’s activities

  • Temporary Records

    • Records of short-term value

    • Records for which you are not the Office of Record

    • Administrative, routine, housekeeping functions

    • Information files

  • Permanent/Temporary Records

    • Records with short-term value that are interfiled with records of permanent value and need to be weeded before transfer


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Appraisal Source Museum

  • Documentation of legal authority or appraisal decision on which retention decisions are based

    • SIA

    • National Archives and Records Administration General Records Schedules

    • Policies and procedures written by other SI and federal offices


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Records Disposition Museum

  • Instructions for the maintenance or transfer of records once they become inactive (no longer needed to conduct current business)

  • Disposition information instructs units in how long to keep records in this series and what to do when that time period is over


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Transferring Permanent Records Museum

  • Contact SIA with the series and quantity of records to be transferred or to discuss a transfer of electronic records

  • Ensure that all records are in labeled folders (remove from hanging folders and binders)

  • Number the boxes and create a list of folder titles within each box

  • Place a copy of the folder list within each box

  • E-mail the folder list and the mailing date to SIA


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Discarding Records Museum

  • Three methods for discarding records

    • Discard/Destroy on-site

    • Send directly to a commercial shredding company

    • Transfer to SIA’s Records Center to be destroyed

  • Files with SSNs, personal contact information, account numbers, or other sensitive information must be destroyed (shredded)

  • Electronic records containing sensitive information can be destroyed via OCIO


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Transferring Temporary Records Museum

  • Any type of temporary record can be transferred to SIA’s Records Center

  • SIA will provide mailing labels and any sturdy box may be used to ship the records

  • At transfer, a destruction date will be assigned

  • SIA will ensure the timely destruction of records

  • Destruction will be suspended pending investigations or legal actions that might bear upon the records

  • Staff from your office will be able to access the records at any time until the destruction date


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Records Retrieval Museum

  • After the records transfer, SIA will provide you with the accession number and, for permanent records, a copy of the folder list and will place another copy on the SIA website with full-text search

  • To access your records, contact the SIA Reference Team

  • Most records are available for use in 36-48 hours

  • Records may be used in the SIA Reading Room


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Contact Information Museum

  • General questions, records appraisals, and records transfers: Jennifer Wright, [email protected] or 202-633-5924

  • Technical assistance for electronic records: Ricc Ferrante, [email protected] or 202-633-5906

  • Reference Services: [email protected] or 202-633-5870

  • SIA Website: http://www.siarchives.si.edu


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