Revising a Retention Schedule: Lessons Learned

This spring, Michigan State University completed the first phase of a multi-year records retention schedule project by revising the Human Resources Records Retention Schedule. The new schedule, which is the first major revision since 1990, aligns with regulations and best practices, is easier to read, and clearly identifies a number of active and legacy business systems as well as offices of record for each record series.

The first phase of the project took over two years to complete and involved significant support from a number of critical stakeholders, including Human Resources, Academic Human Resources, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, and General Counsel. Before jumping into the next phase of the project (Fiscal Records, here I come!), I wanted to reflect on some lessons learned regarding retention schedule revisions. Continue reading “Revising a Retention Schedule: Lessons Learned”


SAA Session 409: Working Together to Manage Digital Records: A Congressional Archives Perspective

At this session, panelists discussed the transfer and preservation of digital congressional archives, providing perspectives from a variety of records professionals who work with congressional archives in both a records management and archival capacity.

Elizabeth Butler, Deputy Archivist for the U.S. Senate Historical Office, described the basic functions of the Senate Historical Office and focused on their interest in capturing electronic records. The Senate Historical Office is working on developing guidance for Senator’s offices in order to better assist them with managing their electronic documentation. Elizabeth sees a significant need for stronger collaboration with IT Administration, particularly with the increase in born-digital records. Continue reading “SAA Session 409: Working Together to Manage Digital Records: A Congressional Archives Perspective”

Documenting Records Destruction in a Decentralized World

Last year, our university implemented a new procedure for documenting in-office records destruction. As the one year benchmark approaches, I have been thinking about our organizational approach to documenting records destruction, especially in a decentralized environment.

Procedures for documenting records destruction may depend on state laws, regulations, and institutional polices. For some organizations, declaring that employees are following records policies, including those requiring records destruction, may be enough to adequately “document” the destruction of records.  Continue reading “Documenting Records Destruction in a Decentralized World”

“We have a RM program?”: Reaching Out to Users

Records management programs can provide great value to units and offices, assisting them with identifying, storing, and organizing their documents. However, to use these services, users have to be aware of them, and records management awareness­­–or lack thereof– can be a major stumbling block for a program.

Continue reading ““We have a RM program?”: Reaching Out to Users”

Location, Location, Location: Where Does Your RM Program Live?

A question was posted recently to a college and university listserv: Where does your records management program report? What is your program’s administrative location? While many of the responses indicated that records management programs were still located in university archives, as would be expected in a college and university environment, some programs now report to general counsel, information technology, and business services units.

The variety of responses raised this question for me: what is the “best” place to manage your records program and develop relationships with stakeholders? Where can your records management program grow, thrive, and be the most effective for your organization?

Continue reading “Location, Location, Location: Where Does Your RM Program Live?”