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Developing Records Retention and Disposition Schedules

Find it in the Schedule

Information Type

Document Types

  • Identified through a records inventory;
  • Identified through business process and workflow and records created;
  • Dependent on the needs of the business.

Examples:

  • Meeting Minutes; 
  • A/P Invoices;
  • Purchase Cards;
  • Personnel Record or Contracts;
  • Recruitment Records.

As a rule, it is a good idea to start with the mission-critical units within a department, and to methodically analyze the workflow of especially the high-volume work processes. That said, some records may be more difficult to deal with – it is okay to deal with the easier records as a first step and make a plan to deal with the rest. Look for clusters of official records and take a staged approach. Concentrate on central/shared storage locations and any problem areas you identify.

Make sure that you know how work processes flow from their start to completion. Identify the high-volume repetitive work processes (such as taking orders or processing payments or processing applications). Learn and understand where access to documents and data is essential for work to be accomplished and people served.

Remember that whenever rapid access to data and documents is essential, and especially if rapid and simultaneous access to the same data and documents is needed at two or more locations, you should carefully evaluate the process for how the records handled.

Forms are often the most common type of records and, as such, steps should be taken to understand their workflows. Forms may be paper forms or electronic forms. As a rule, forms management could be better than is currently being done in most departments. 

Records management manuals are documents developed to comprise records management policies and procedures manuals. These manuals should define the scope of department-wide records management programs, explain program authority, list services provided and clarify records management procedures personnel are expected to follow. Every department can benefit in many ways from creation and use of web-based or electronic records management manuals.

Obtain or make a list of all the computer application systems used in the program or service and obtain the system documentation for each application, where it is available. You may have obtained the system documentation during the initial preliminary review. If not, you should contact your information technology area for a copy.
 
The system documentation typically describes the functions of the application, file layouts, data captured and stored in the files, reports produced, screen layouts, the users of the system, who gets the information (reports or extract files), backup and recovery routines, etc. Depending on the size and complexity of the application, there may be more than one manual. For example, an application could have a system manual which describes the technical aspects of the hardware and software, a user manual which provides instructions to the user on how to use the application and an administrator/operator manual which describes the high level functions of the system such as backup and recovery. You will probably need all the manuals to ensure you have all the available information on the application system. System documentation is often out of date. Determine the accuracy of the documentation with the systems specialist and get updates, if possible.

 

You will need to identify the electronic information management (EIM) systems that are used in your department. You will also need to gather information on the software, operating systems and network administration procedures that are used for these systems. Network administration procedures should identify the backup routines done on each system and where the information is stored on the network. Some organizations have established policies and procedures on how these systems are to be used, how documents are to be created and how they are to be stored. If available, obtain a copy of these policies, procedures and guidelines.
 
Departments that do not have an electronic information management system may have organized a LAN drive to be shareable between staff members to share electronic documents. These shared drives are usually organized into sub-directories that resemble the existing records classification structure. Obtaining a listing of the sub-directory structure will help you to identify the sub-directory series that exist for the program or service area.

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