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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

Records Management and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Presented by

Jennifer Wright

Smithsonian Institution Archives

November 14, 2008

goals of the presentation
Goals of the Presentation
  • 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
sia s mission
SIA’s Mission
  • 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
sia s authority sd 501
SIA’s Authority – SD 501
  • “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.”
records management services
Records Management Services
  • 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
what is a record
What is a Record?
  • 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
appraising records
Appraising Records
  • 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
chndm records disposition schedule
CHNDM Records Disposition Schedule
  • 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
record schedule structure
Record Schedule Structure
  • Consists of 6 columns
    • Series Title
    • Series Description
    • Office of Record
    • Retention Period
    • Source
    • Disposition
series title and description
Series Title and Description
  • 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.
office of record
Office of Record
  • 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
retention period
Retention Period
  • 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
appraisal source
Appraisal Source
  • 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
records disposition
Records Disposition
  • 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
transferring permanent records
Transferring Permanent Records
  • 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
discarding records
Discarding Records
  • 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
transferring temporary records
Transferring Temporary Records
  • 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
records retrieval
Records Retrieval
  • 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
contact information
Contact Information
  • General questions, records appraisals, and records transfers: Jennifer Wright, or 202-633-5924
  • Technical assistance for electronic records: Ricc Ferrante, or 202-633-5906
  • Reference Services: or 202-633-5870
  • SIA Website: