Policy AD35 UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT

Policy Steward: Vice President for Administration

Contents:

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Definition of Terms
  • General
  • .... University Records
  • .... Archival Records
  • .... Records Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedule
  • Policy
  • .... Regular Review of University Records
  • .... Destruction of University Records
  • .... Authorization for Reformatting Records
  • .... Permanent Preservation of Records in the University Archives
  • ....Guidelines for Retention of Electronic Records
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

  • PURPOSE:

    This policy specifies the regulations by which University records are defined, captured, utilized, stored, disposed of, and properly archived when they meet the University's criteria for constituting a “University Record.”This policy provides the means to define and offer counsel to University offices during the creation and use of all University records. Further, it sets records management standards and creates Retention, Disposition, and Destruction Schedules for those records. It establishes archival criteria to maintain and assure continued access to appropriate historical records, in all formats in which they are created and retained.

    SCOPE:

    This policy is applicable to all areas, locations, campuses, offices and units (hereinafter referred to as Units of the University. Records Liaisons must be appointed for each Unit to serve as steward for those records in conjunction with University Archives and Records Management staff.  Certain Units that store and maintain institutional records may have individual guidelines which supplement, but do not supplant, this policy.

    DEFINITION OF TERMS:

    Archival Records - University records which are non-current and are not required to be retained in the office in which they originate or are received.  These records have permanent or enduring legal, fiscal, research or historical value and, in consequence thereof, should be retained and preserved indefinitely.

    Born Digital Records – University records created and maintained in digital format throughout their life span.

    Disposable(or Transactional) Records - University records which have temporary value and, in consequence thereof, may be destroyed after the lapse of a specified period of time delineated in University Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules, specified by federal or state law, or after the occurrence of some act which renders them valueless, in accordance with policy.

    Public Records - publicly distributed information which is available to anyone.

    Record Series - any groups of related records which are normally used and filed as a unit and which can be evaluated as a unit for disposition purposes.

    Records Liaisons – University employees assigned by their Unit to serve as a conduit for policy, procedure, and information between the University Records Management Program and their respective offices.

    Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedule - a list indicating the length of time records must be retained before disposition, as well as the appropriate means of disposition for each series of records.  

    Retention Period - the time that must elapse before the records are disposed, stored or archived.

    University Records - any documents including both written and printed matter; books; drawings; maps: plans; photographs; microforms; digital or analog files, recordings or data; or copies thereof made or received by any Unit of the University in connection with the transaction of University business, and retained by such office as evidence of the activities of the University or because of the information contained therein.

    University Confidential Records - records which have the highest level of confidentiality attached to them and which may only be used by a limited number of people in the originating Unit.

    University Official Records - records which are available to University faculty or staff members (usually within the Unit), but are not made available to the public. Generally speaking, the bulk of University records fall into this category.

    University Restricted Records - records having a high level of confidentiality attached to them and where access is limited to the staffs of a small number of Units.

    University Vital Records - Records essential to the continued functioning or reconstitution of the University during and after an emergency, and also those records essential to protecting the rights and interests of the University and the individuals directly affected by its activities.

    GENERAL:

    ARCHIVAL RECORDS:

    University records in custody of the University Archives will be available for public inspection, copying, and general research use subject to those constraints which may apply by virtue of federal or state law or regulation, University policy or guideline.

    UNIVERSITY RECORDS:

    Regardless of format, University records have a life span and eventually become inactive in their offices of origin.  At that time, it is in the interest of the University for economy, efficiency, history, or administrative necessity to determine and carry out the most appropriate disposition of these records. Records will be either designated as archival records and transferred to the custody of the University Archives, or they will be designated as disposable records and destroyed in a systematic manner as outlined in this policy.   Designations are delineated by record series in the Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules.

    University records in custody of their originating and receiving offices are University property and may not be disposed of except through policy and guidelines established herein. Access to University records still in originating or receiving offices is governed by statute, regulation, or existing University policies and guidelines. Records from offices which are merged in reorganizations should be brought into the new offices carrying out those functions; records from those offices which are phased out should be reviewed University Archives with the University Archivist and/or Records Manager for appropriate action.  

    RECORDS RETENTION, DISPOSITION AND DESTRUCTION SCHEDULES:

    Schedules will be developed as both General Schedules for particular categories of records, and as schedules for the records of a particular office.  All general schedules shall be included in the General University Reference Utility (GURU) as part of the General Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedule.  Disposition information for specific financial forms is included as Financial Document Retention Schedule in the General University Reference Utility (GURU).

    POLICY:

    1. REGULAR REVIEW OF UNIVERSITY RECORDS:

      Units shall annually review the records in their possession and under their operational jurisdiction, and document such review.  The regulations defined in this policy must be consulted and followed in determining the retention, disposition and destruction of the records they manage.

    2. DESTRUCTION OF UNIVERSITY RECORDS:

      1. AUTHORITY FOR DESTRUCTION:

        Units should notify the University Archives/Records Management Program of their intention to destroy or otherwise dispose of University records. No destruction shall take place unless an approved Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedule exists which covers the records in question.  It is the responsibility of the designated individual, hereinafter referred to as the Records Liason, to coordinate and report intended destruction of records to the University Archives/Records Management Program.  The intent of this authority is to protect against the destruction of archival records.

      2. STEPS IN IMPLEMENTING DESTRUCTION OR ARCHIVAL TRANSFER:

        Units may submit notifications of intent to dispose or transfer, or they will be notified on a regular basis of the need to dispose of records; those record series which require disposition will be listed and offices will be required to complete the disposal and notify the University Archives/Records Management Program, indicating the means by which disposal was completed and the amount of material destroyed.  Transfer guidelines will be provided by the University Records Management Program staff upon request.

      3. THE MANNER OF DESTRUCTION OF DISPOSABLE RECORDS:

        The manner of destruction of disposable records will depend on the category of University records destroyed. "University Confidential" or "University Restricted" and any records containing a Social Security or University Identification number MUST be shredded; "University Official" or "Public" records should be recycled. 

    3. AUTHORIZATION FOR REFORMATTING RECORDS:

      1. PURPOSE OF REFORMATTING RECORDS:

        University records may be microfilmed, and/or scanned for storage in optical or other electronic media, for the purpose of reducing storage costs and/or improving access to and manipulability of the data.  Documentation of reformatting process and procedures must be maintained.

      2. QUALITY STANDARDS FOR REFORMATTING UNIVERSITY RECORDS:

        All significant detail on originals must be included on the new medium.  Reformatted reproductions must have the same acceptability and legal status as the original record.  The reformatted reproduction must meet archival standards. 

      3. UNITS MUST PROVIDE ADVANCE NOTIFICATION:

        Offices must provide advance notification to the University Archives/Records Management Program of their intent to reformat records. Such offices must show that space savings and/or improved access to information will result from reformatting, as well as meeting quality and metadata standards.  No reformatting shall take place unless an approved Retention, Disposition and Destruction> Schedule exists which covers the records in question.  All notifications of reformatting will be checked against established standards.

      4. MASTER RECORDS OF MICROFILMED RECORDS:

        Master negatives of microfilmed records which are identified as archival will be transferred to the University Archives for inclusion in the "Vital Records" master negative storage program.  Original archival records which have been microfilmed may be destroyed if the use-copies of the microfilm are scheduled for later transfer to the University Archives.  Original archival records which are scanned or otherwise converted for digital storage shall be transferred to the Archives unless an Archives-acceptable copy of the information can be provided for Archives storage.

      5. UNIVERSITY RECORDS WHICH ARE DETERMINED TO BE DISPOSABLE:

        University records which are determined to be disposable may be stored on any medium that ensures the maintenance of the information until its designated disposal point.  Units should submit notifications of intent to dispose of non-archival originals.  Notices of intent to dispose are also required for reformatted records whenever they are ready for disposal.

    4. PERMANENT PRESERVATION OF RECORDS IN THE UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES:

      1. ARCHIVAL RECORDS MUST BE TRANSFERRED:

        Archival records as designated in the Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules, must be transferred to the University Archives for permanent preservation; the University Archivist, or his/her representative, shall designate which records are archival and shall have the authority to examine any and all University records in their offices of origin, subject to possible conditions of national security classification.

      2. ARCHIVAL RECORDS CREATED MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS PRIOR TO CURRENT DATE:

        Any archival records created more than twenty (20)years prior to the current date must be transferred to the University Archives.

      3. TRANSFER OF ARCHIVAL RECORDS:

        The transfer of archival records from the Unit of origin to the University Archives shall be made at such times and in the manner and form prescribed by the University Archives and subject to the appropriate Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules.

      4. UNIVERSITY RECORDS DEPOSITED IN THE ARCHIVES:

        University records deposited in the University Archives shall be subjected to the following restrictions: "University Confidential" and "University Restricted" records are closed until such time as their status is changed by the Office of the President of the University.  "University Official" records are closed to public access until twenty (20) years after their date of creation.

      5. UNIVERSITY ARCHIVAL RECORDS MAY BE USED BY ANY INDIVIDUAL:

        University archival records may be used by any individual, subject to their agreement to abide by archival rules governing access and use.

      6. REQUESTS FOR EXCEPTIONS:

        Requests for exception to access to "University Restricted" and "University Official" records shall be governed by criteria approved by University Counsel and the Office of the President of the University, and such requests will be handled by the University Archives/Records Management Advisory Committee. Requests for exceptional use of "University Confidential" records will be handled by the Office of the President of the University, or the President's designated representative.

    5. GUIDELINES FOR RETENTION OF ELECTRONIC RECORDS:

      1. ELECTRONIC MAIL (E-MAIL):

        Correspondence and other documents sent by E-mail may constitute a University record. As such, they may need to be retained for longer than an E-mail system is capable of retaining them. It is the responsibility of the sender / recipient to determine if a particular E-mail message constitutes a University record.  Existing Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules apply to records created as E-mails.  E-mail messages which require long-term or archival retention should be retained on retrievable media, including all header and transmission information.

      2. WEBPAGES:

        WebPages, or segments, thereof, may constitute a University record. As such, they may need to be retained beyond routine back-up protocols. It is the responsibility of the creator to determine if a particular webpage, or segments, constitutes a University record. Existing Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules apply to WebPages, or segments.  WebPages, or segment, which requires long-term or archival retention should be retained on retrievable media as created, utilized and/or published.

      3. DATABASES/SETS:

        Databases/sets may constitute a University record. As such, they may need to be retained beyond routine back-up protocols. It is the responsibility of the creator to determine if a particular database/set, constitutes a University record. Existing Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules apply to databases/sets.  Databases/sets which require long-term or archival retention should be retained on retrievable media as created utilized and/or published.

      4. OTHER “BORN DIGITAL” RECORDS:

        “Born Digital” records may constitute a University record. As such, they may need to be retained beyond routine back-up protocols. It is the responsibility of the creator to determine if a particular “born digital” record constitutes a University record. Existing Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedules apply to “born digital” records.  “Born Digital” records which require long-term or archival retention should be retained on retrievable media as created, utilized and/or published.

    FURTHER INFORMATION:

    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the University Archivist, Special Collections Library.

    CROSS REFERENCES:

    Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

    ADG01 - Glossary of Computer Data and System Terminology, and

    ADG02 - Computer Facility Security Guideline,

    AD11 - University Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records,

    AD19 - Use of Penn State Identification Number and Social Security Number,

    AD20 - Computer and Network Security,

    AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),

    AD23 - Use of Institutional Data,

    AD34 - University Recycling Program,

    AD44 - University Storage Space Management,

    AD53 - Privacy Statement,

    AD63 - Workflow Policy,

    BS15 - Disposal and Purchase of Obsolete, Surplus or Scrap University-Owned Equipment, Supplies and/or Materials,

    FN14 - Use of University Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies, and Services,

    FN19 - Policy for Handling and Distributing Confidential Internal Audit Reports and Other Documents,

    HR60 - Access to Personnel Files,

    RA11 - Patents and Copyrights (Intellectual Property), and

    General University Reference Utility (GURU) Appendices General Retention, Disposition and Destruction Schedule and Financial Document Retention Schedule


    Effective Date: October 30, 2007
    Date Approved: October 29, 2007
    Date Published: October 30, 2007 (Editorial changes, September 17, 2014)

    Most Recent Changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    | top of this policy | GURU policy menu | GURU policy search | GURU home | GURU Tech Support | Penn State website |