Elements of a Records Management Program

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September 10, 2013

[The following is excerpted and updated from Developing and Operating a RecordsRetention Program (ARMA 1986) and Electronic Records Retention: New Strategies for Data Life Cycle Management.]

A records management program outlines the when what and where of records maintenance, and specifies processes and procedures for the transfer and disposition. This program must address a wide are of areas and responsibilities including:

  1. The time in which documents possess operational, fiscal, legal, or even historical value. (Retention Schedule)
  2. The time in which the documents are active (high-recall and utilization) and must be maintained in an optimally convenient system or location for all interested parties. (Active Document Lifecycle)
  3. The specific/expected time when records can be transferred to a secondary storage facility/medium or management system. (Inactive/Dead Document Lifecycle)
  4. The method of removal/disposition. (Document Destruction)
  5. The specific operational procedures which ensure compliance with the program. (Standard Operating Procedures)
  6. 6. The relationship between the length of retention and other aspects of the records management program such a medium of storage (microfilm, digital images, filing) and means of accessing a specific record set (data processing and archives)(Objective Criteria)
  7. Retention of records regardless of the media utilized for that record (optical storage, microfilm, magnetic media, etc.) or the storage location (file servers, off-site storage, etc.) (Retention Methodology)

Author: Michael Dailey Co-owner, vice president and chief marketing officer of Recordsforce, Inc. Past management experience in business-to-business services, most notable within the telecommunications industry. Extensive first-hand management experience in account acquisition, client support and product marketing M.B.A. degree, Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester; B.S. degree, University of Rochester Can be contacted at 603-766-8000 or [email protected]

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