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Interpreting the Library General Records Schedule. Brad Houston, University Records Officer July 15, 2008. What is a record?. Records : Recorded information, in any format, that allows an office to conduct business This includes emails and IMs! Also documents business processes

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Interpreting the library general records schedule

Interpreting the Library General Records Schedule

Brad Houston, University Records Officer

July 15, 2008

What is a record
What is a record?

  • Records: Recorded information, in any format, that allows an office to conduct business

    • This includes emails and IMs!

    • Also documents business processes

  • Value of Record determined by content, not format!

  • Ask: “Does this document help me perform my job description?”

Uw system library grs
UW-System Library GRS

  • Produced by UW Records Officers Council (UWROC), in conjunction with library staff

    • Department heads here were consulted for input

  • Covers 44 records series (functional groups) in 9 categories

  • Effective immediately and retroactively

    • Example: records with 10 years’ retention created in 1998 can be destroyed immediately

  • Prescribes MINIMUM retention periods

    • Be aware, however, of legal liability

Using the grs finding schedules
Using the GRS: Finding schedules

  • Organized into 9 categories

    • Administration, Collection Development, Special Collections, Circulation, Interlending, Information Systems, Publicity, Reference, Surveillance

  • Within each category, find the record type you need

    • Examples: Call Slips, Donor Files, Registration Forms

    • Record series names may not correspond to the names YOU use– read the description to determine functional similarity

Using the grs official records
Using the GRS: Official Records

  • Official Record: The copy of record for audit purposes, record requests, etc.

  • Usually, author of document is the official record-holder

    • Exception: Committee chairs are official record-holders for minutes, etc.

  • Only official records need to be retained for full period

    • Convenience copies usually have shorter period, if any

Using the grs reading schedules
Using the GRS: Reading Schedules

  • Record Schedules consist of:

    • Description of the Series

    • Retention period (original)

    • Retention period (copies)

  • Retention periods include ‘triggering event’, i.e. when you start counting (creation, end of fiscal year, etc.)

  • If retention is marked “Destroy confidentially”, materials MUST BE SHREDDED or put in records management shred bins

Electronic records
Electronic Records

  • As with paper records, need to be scheduled and retained appropriately

    • Includes E-mails, instant messages, webpages, etc.

  • For long-term retention e-records, convert to neutral format (PDF/A, text) before transfer

  • For short-term retention e-records, do not format-switch unless appropriate

    • E.g. software upgrade, etc.

  • Printouts of computer records are copies

    • Can be destroyed once no longer needed

A note on email
A Note on Email

  • Yes, this is a record, too! (Wis. Adm. 12)

  • Most email is transitory and can be destroyed after small period of time

  • Some email (reference requests, etc.) is routine, and should be retained 60 days or specific schedule length

  • Small amount of email of historical value– save and send to Archives (via PantherFile, etc.)

Sending records to the archives
Sending records to the Archives

  • In general, Archives is interested in records that provide unique historical perspective on library activities and operations

  • Series specifically included for archives in GRS include:

    • Director’s Subject Files

    • Library Strategic Plans

    • Newsletters

    • Programming/Events Files

Sending to the archives cont
Sending to the Archives, cont.

  • Fill out records transfer form (available on Records Management website)

  • Contact Brad for records center boxes

    • 1 file cabinet drawer=1.3 records center boxes

  • Put documents in folders; remove binders if possible

  • Create inventory of boxes

    • Box-level is OK; folder-level is better

  • Arrange for pickup/transfer

Confidential shredding
Confidential Shredding

  • UWM now contracts with Kard Recycling and Shredding for confidential shredding

  • Pickup is 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month

  • Contact Brad to have shreddables taken to the shred bins/shred room

  • n.b. There is a limited amount of space in the shred room, so send shredding a little at a time if possible

  • Shredding is for confidential material only– NOT an all-purpose garbage pickup!

Why isn t x on this schedule
“Why isn’t X on this schedule?”

  • May be covered by existing GRS

    • Examples: Fiscal/Accounting records, annual reports, payroll information

  • May be covered by existing Library schedule

    • Example: Cataloging/Statistical Files are scheduled at UWM, but do not appear on the GRS

  • May have been missed by both UWM RM and UWROC

    • Often the case for specialty program files

    • If so, contact Brad for records scheduling

Litigation holds and records requests
Litigation Holds and Records Requests

  • Received by Brad and Amy Watson, UWM Public Records Custodian

  • Supersedes ALL active records schedules

  • Records from series affected by Litigation Holds MAY NOT be destroyed until hold lifted

  • Most likely will affect email; probably does not affect most library records

Office cleanup rm checklist
Office Cleanup: RM Checklist

  • Am I no longer actively using this record?

  • Is it an official or unofficial copy?

  • Has the triggering event for this series occurred?

  • Has the retention period for this record passed?

  • Does this record need to be sent to the archives?

  • Does this record need to be destroyed confidentially?

When in doubt look it up
When in doubt, look it up!


    • The Library/Archives GRS itself


    • UWM Record Management, with tips (and this presentation!)


    • Records Management Guidelines from UWSA