Definitions

Records are generally defined as information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. In the University context, records consist of recorded information that is created or received by University employees in the course of performing official functions on behalf of the University. Records are defined by content rather than by format and thus include those that are paper, analog, electronic, or any other format from which information can be retrieved. Records include, but are not limited to, official University publications (including web pages), fiscal data, correspondence (including email), minutes of meetings, reports, academic records, and employee files.

  • Active records are those that are frequently referred to or that are needed to support the current business activity of a unit.
  • Inactive records are records that have not been needed for at least one year or for which the active period has passed. Inactive records should be securely stored until the end of the designated retention period. Unless these records have been defined as permanent records they should be destroyed after the designated retention period has elapsed.
  • Permanent records (or archival records) are those which have enduring historical, administrative, or research value to the University and which the University Archives retains, preserves, and provides access to in perpetuity.

Retention schedules are documents describing types of records, providing a length of time they should be kept, and including instructions for disposition (destruction or transfer to the University Archives). State or federal law, professional best practices, and operational needs all determine the period that records must be kept.