A Records Retention Schedule, simply put, will assist you by identifying which records the school produces that should be kept in the archives. It is one part of a full Records Management Program, and helps not only the archives but the school in general. The U.S. Department of the Interior listed ten reasons why having a Records Management Program at your institution will help:
- To control the creation and growth of records
- To reduce operating costs
- To improve efficiency and productivity
- To assimilate new records management technologies
- To ensure regulatory compliance
- To minimize litigation risks
- To safeguard vital information
- To support better management decision making
- To preserve the corporate memory
- To foster professionalism in running the business
The permanent records will be identified in the list and then you work with that office/department/person to create a regular time to receive the records. For example, I permanently keep student and school produced publications. One of these is called The Green and White, so I receive two copies as soon as it is produced from the Athletic Department. Sometimes it might be preferable to receive a year’s worth of records at once, such I do with the Performing Arts Department when I receive all of the posters and programs from the previous school year.
If you don’t know if your school has a Records Retention Schedule, contact your school’s business office or other administrator. Hopefully, your school does have one and then you can work with the various records creators to not only receive the permanent records, but also make sure that you are receiving a copy of a destruction notice for any records which can be legally disposed. If your school does not have a Records Retention Schedule, work with the business or legal office to see how one can be created at your school. It should be created by someone very familiar with record retention and records management, preferably a Certified Records Manager.
Just a Few Further Resources
- ARMA International White Papers: ARMA is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on governing information as a strategic asset. The website also contains many books and articles available for purchase.
- Basics of Records Management: From the State Library and Archives of Florida
- Destruction Notice Procedures [PDF]: From the Alabama Department of Archives and History
- NAIS Recordkeeping: Includes articles and examples
- Records Advice: From the Georgia Archives
- Seven Elements of an Effective Records Management Program: Available from Ohio State University
- A Ten-Step Records Management Plan for your Office: From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency