General Procedures

Records Creation. All University departments should create records that accurately document their core functions and activities.

Records Retention. The University Records Manager, in consultation with the University Archivist, the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of Audit and Compliance, will work with University departments to develop records retention schedules according to federal and state laws and regulations, professional best practices, and operational needs. A General Records Retention Schedule will provide guidance for records commonly created across the University; this will be supplemented by approved unit-specific schedules as necessary.

Records Storage. All departments should store their records in a safe, stable, and secure manner that supports their timely, accurate, and cost-effective retrieval and applies appropriate controls on their accessibility.

Records Disposition. All departments should destroy University records scheduled for destruction in accordance with the appropriate records retention schedules. This will often necessitate confidential destruction, through shredding or deletion. All departments should maintain documentation of records destroyed in accordance with retention schedules.

Legal Hold. Circumstances may arise that require the immediate suspension of document disposal routines and activities and require the preservation of records beyond those time periods set forth in University record retention schedules. The Office of General Counsel should be notified immediately of all service of legal process or of any new, threatened, or potential litigation matters or government investigations, audits, or proceedings so that a legal hold analysis may be conducted. In the event of a legal hold, the University will take steps to identify all paper and digitally maintained files that may contain documents relevant to the case, including emails, and will notify members of the University community to preserve such documents indefinitely. The directives in a legal hold supersede all other University or unit-specific retention and disposal guidance.

Transfer to University Archives. All records transferred to the Princeton University Archives for permanent retention will undergo the archival appraisal process and will be processed and described according to current archival standards. All University records will be open to researchers on a non-discriminatory basis following the expiration of any restrictions. University records may be restricted after consultation with the University Archivist or in accordance with legal restrictions for a specific and reasonable period of time.