If you’ve attended one of the Records Management trainings you know how important it is to organize your files, records (both physical and electronic) based on the records retention schedule. Here are two out of the four tips on how you can make small changes to your filing system that will directly impact your efficiency in disposing of state records.
1.File documents in one location.
- Did you create or inherit a filing system in which there are records spread all across the office or better yet in another building entirely? In these cases it’s difficult to keep track of what needs to be disposed because your probably not even sure where all of the record copies are.
- Records spread across an office are one thing, but old records that are held in a different location create a whole other problem. If your department has records held in Ferguson, the basement/cage of the UC or Mountainside, you have actually created a much larger problem for yourself.
Records Management means that you will not have old records that are falling out of filing cabinets or needing to be stored off site. If you run out of room for your files, you are not accurately managing them. Don’t assume that one day it’ll be someone else’s problem later on.
- SOLUTION: Before you can move forward with anything else, you need to track down all of your department’s files, classify them, and begin purging. I (Kayla Waggoner) would love to help you with this process! Don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.
2. Do not mix retention period inside filing folders, both physical or electronic.
- When it comes time to dispose of some of your records, if you have multiple retention periods in one folder it makes it harder to just dispose of it. As an example, many departments probably have a folder dedicated to Student Files. In that student file folder you will probably have their transcripts, degree plans, major assignments, exam grades, and maybe even email correspondence between the department and said student.
- Here’s that list again with the current retention periods attached:
- Transcripts – other colleges (for those who are enrolled) – AC+5 (AC = Graduation)
- Student Degree Plans – AC+3 (AC = Graduation)
- Major Assignments or Student papers have varying retention periods. These have to be classified individually. Really it’s the grade or other personalized student information that matters. However, important student works might need to be archived.
- Exam Grades – 1 year (currently).
- There are lots of other things that could be included in a student file. The point is, from the list we have currently you’ll be shredding once a year from just a portion of the folder, and then again 3 and 5 years after the student graduations.
- Purchase a multiple sectioned file folder so that all of the individual student’s information may remain in one place, but will not give you a headache when it comes time to shred the documents.
- Do not print the documents. You can find a lot of the student information online or a quick call to the office of the Deans or the Registrar’s office will provide that information. If you do not have a copy printed or saved electronically then you don’t have to worry about it.
- Save all of these documents online so that they are much easier to delete when the time comes. When putting them online make sure and put the retention code next to the title as a constant reminder to yourself.
Follow me on to the next post for two more tips.
As most everyone has already seen, we’re rolling out the disposition logs with a deadline of October 31, 2017. It is not our goal to confuse anyone with these forms, but rather to create a process and a full supply of documentation that show Sul Ross’ compliance with the State. With that in mind here’s an outline of what you can expect for the foreseeable future.
- Final reminder that Disposal Forms were due last April. The deadline is now August 31, 2017.
- Those who turned their Disposal Forms in last spring have received their Disposition Logs, due October 31, 2017. If you have questions about the Disposition Log, check out this post.
- Those who turned in their Disposal Forms by the August 31, 2017 deadline will receive their Disposition Logs during this month. They have the same deadline of October 31.
- October 31, 2017 is the deadline for the Disposition Logs. Once those are turned in, you’ll be good to go until November/December.
- November 2, 2017 is our next in person training. If you have not yet attended a training, that will be your day to do so. More information will be provided as the date approaches.
- The next Disposal Form will be due December 15, 2017. This is to account for all of the CE disposition dates across the schedule.
- Departments who met the December 15, 2017 deadline, will receive their Disposition Logs.
- Disposition Logs will be due March 30, 2018.
- Those who did not turn in a Disposal Form or turned one in late will have the same March deadline as those that turned their forms in the previous December.
- Trainings and other help. This would be a great time to schedule an inventory. If you’d like more information about the inventories, please give us a call.
- The Records Retention Schedule Draft is due to the State by May 31, 2018. After this date, departments will have one year to make any other changes necessary to the schedule.
- A down month similar to April. We will suggest that departments schedule inventories at this time.
- Disposal Forms will be due August 31, 2018 to accommodate for the fiscal year end retention period requirements.
From here we will continue the same process as the year before. This is the schedule that the university will be on for the immediate future. If you ever have any questions along the way, please let us know.
Whether your familiar with the Archives of the Big Bend or not, I bet the Records Management side of the Archives will be something new to everyone. As most everyone knows, Records Management isn’t only about getting rid of records, but also about the permanent preservation of important documents.
As any of the numerous Records Management trainings will tell you, the I and O archival codes listed on the Records Retention Schedule help departments recognize which of their records require either archival review or a transfer to the University Archivist. But what about the records that you personally want to keep but they are either not a record, or lack an I or an O archival code? Don’t worry!
Here’s a quick summary of things that can be found on the Texas State University webpage. This summary is a great example of what should come to Archives.
“Any department, office, employee, or past employee who discovers old university records may have uncovered part of the history that we want to document. Presidential and Provost correspondence, building records, student organizations, and photographs of people and places on campus are highly desired. Other historically significant information is appreciated.”
If you have anything in your office that you think fits that category or would be beneficial to the university, please give the Archives a call. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
First off, some of you might not have realized that emails are included in the Records Management laws. Typically emails will be your Correspondence – General or Administrative, but not always. Emails are probably the most up to date records that recordholder’s create, daily.
Here’s some steps to help you determine how to figure emails into your Records Management program and fit individual emails into the Records Retention Schedule.
If you’re still unclear about how to classify email’s, visit the Texas Record blog site maintained by TSLAC. They always have great advice.
Almost every department on campus has a Correspondence – Administrative (1.1.007) and a Correspondence – General (1.1.008) on their section of the Records Retention Schedule (RRS). But you may be wondering what is considered “correspondence” and how do I know if I fall under Administrative or General? Look no further, we’re got some helpful tips to help decipher these record series titles.
Firstly, correspondence ranges from official memorandum to unofficial chat discussions on Blackboard or Skype Business. However, where you’re going to frequently see correspondence is your Sul Ross email. Everyday each state employee is sending several emails (hundreds if you count the fs_all routes) that either directly or indirectly relate to their job. After an email has been classified as a record, individuals are responsible to maintain these based on the Records Retention Schedule. For details on the email classification system you’re encouraged to attend or watch one of the E-Records training’s. If you’re curious about the emails as they are only a format of a record, please contact us for more information at any time.
The following is a break down of the two correspondences provided by TSLAC on their blog, The Texas Record as well as the general definition provided by the commission.
- 1.1.007 – Correspondence – Administrative
- These records include “incoming/outgoing and internal correspondence pertaining to the formulation, planning, implementation, interpretation, modification, or redefinition of the programs, services, or projects of an agency and the administrative regulations, policies, and procedures that govern them.”
- Important: This record series contains an archival code of O. For a state university this means that the universities Archival office has the authority to keep any historical information within this record series. The archival note for Administrative Correspondence is that “only the administrative correspondence of executive staff, board or commission members, division directors and program heads require archival review.” This means that Department Heads, Deans, VPs, and the President’s office have this archival review requirement.
- 1.1.008 – Correspondence – General
- This record series is included for everyone else in a department.
- These records include “non-administrative incoming/outgoing and internal correspondence, in any media, pertaining to or arising from the routine operations of the policies, programs, services, or projects of an agency.”
Other staff and faculty members are allowed to keep these types of emails for reference (same as some of your paper files) but are not actually responsible for the retention of these emails.
Let us know if you have any questions about this topic!