Records and Information Management (RIM) is the control of an organization’s information throughout its lifecycle. Information is one of the most valuable things that an organization owns and can represent either an asset or a liability depending on how effectively it is managed. Information goes through several stages in its lifecycle: creation, use, maintenance, and disposition. RIM seeks to apply controls to each stage of the lifecycle.
According to Board of Trustee rules, the University of Cincinnati Records Management program is a function of the Archives & Rare Books Library. The program is directed by the University Records Manager with approval and guidance by the University Archivist. Each vice president or other officer having custody of university records appoints one or more persons to act as Records Officers to administer the records in his or her custody. Records Officers work with the University Records Manager to inventory their records, develop records retention schedules, and manage retention and disposition.
The most important thing to remember regarding the retention of electronic records is that minimum retention periods should be determined by the content of the record, not the format. Therefore, the university’s policy is that records retention schedules written and approved by the University Archives apply to both paper and electronic records and there is no separate retention schedule that covers electronic records. Unless required by law, the official record can be retained in either paper or electronic format.
The length of time you are required to keep your records will be documented on a department records retention schedule. If you do not know if your department has a schedule, contact the Records Management Program.
Records retention schedules are the guide to the records of an office. For each record series, they provide a description of the series and indicate the length of time it must be maintained as well as its ultimate disposition. They are prepared by the University Records Manager in consultation with Departmental records personnel, the Designated Records Officer for the administrative area, and other University personnel where appropriate.
The length of time that you are required to keep records is driven by content and is based on the value of the records to the University. Records have legal, administrative, fiscal and historic value. Each aspect is considered to be of equal value and retention periods are assigned to protect all of them. Some records will have more than one type of value. The longest retention period that covers all values will be assigned.
E-mail itself is not considered a record series or a record category; rather it is a means of transmission of messages or information. Like paper or microfilm, e-mail is the medium by which this type of record is transmitted and read. Just as all paper or microfilm records cannot be scheduled together under a single retention period, e-mail cannot be simply scheduled as a record series. Retention or disposition of e-mail messages must be related to the information they contain and/or the purpose they serve. Both incoming and outgoing email messages should be analyzed for records retention purposes. The content, transactional information, and any attachments associated with the message are considered a record if they meet the ORC definition.
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