Records Management Terminology

University records: Recorded information created, received, and maintained by the University in its administrative activities which provides evidence of these activities. The University retains records for as long as they are needed to meet operational, legal, regulatory, fiscal, or other requirements. University records can be in any information format or medium.

  • The administrative unit responsible for a University process or activity is also responsible for the associated records. These records are referred to as the University’s official records, while other versions kept for information purposes by other units are transitory copies of the official record.

Transitory records are records of temporary or insignificant value, useful for a limited time to complete routine actions or to prepare the final version of official records, or they are convenience copies kept only as information sources for current tasks. Transitory records are not needed to meet operational, legal, regulatory, fiscal, or other requirements and should be destroyed on a regular basis, when their usefulness has ended. All confidential (including restricted & highly restricted) transitory records should be securely destroyed.

University archives (or, archival records) are records selected for long-term preservation, after they are no longer needed for administrative purposes, due to their value as evidence and documentation of the University's history, organization, function and structures.

University records retention schedule: The guideline document describing records associated with a University process or activity, the University’s legal and compliance requirements for keeping that class of records, and the administrative units responsible for the records.

  • The University implements its records retention schedules to ensure that records are kept for as long as required and that obsolete records are disposed of in a systematic and controlled manner. The records retention schedules provide employees with the information they need to adhere to approved records management requirements in a consistent manner.

Records retention period: the length of time that records must be kept by the unit responsible for the records.

Records disposition: the actions taken on University records by the responsible administrative unit, when the records retention period has ended. There are four possible disposition actions documented in the University records retention schedules:

  • Secure destruction: Records are protected against theft, loss and unauthorized use or disclosure prior to destruction. The records are then destroyed or erased in an irreversible manner which ensures that the information cannot be recovered or reconstructed, by methods recommended by the University’s Information Security Officer or the University Records Manager.
  • Destruction: Records whose information confidentiality classification under Policy 46 is “public” may be discarded or destroyed using non-secure methods. For example, public paper records can be disposed of in office recycling bins.
  • Archives: All records in the records class become part of the University archives at the end of their retention period.
  • Archives Selection: Some of the records in the records class are eligible for addition to the University archives. The retention schedule may include a description of the records most likely to become University archives, but the final selection of these records will be made by the Library Special Collections & Archives department.

Records destruction form: This form is to be used to document the disposal of official records – i.e., the records for which your unit is identified as a “responsible unit" in the University records retention schedules – and significant quantities of transitory records containing personal information. It must be completed when disposing of paper or electronic files. It is not necessary to complete this form when disposing of other transitory records.

University information management roles See Policy 46 – Information Management for definitions of the roles of “information steward”, “information custodian”, “information user”, and “information service provider.”