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An Overview Policy Retention Schedules Transfer & Destruction Laws & Regulation Additional Resources Archives
Ask the Archivist Records Management Overview

John D. Crissinger

Records Retention Officer

Susan D. Scott
Library Director


WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT OUR RETAINING AND MANAGING OUR RECORDS? Because they are our organization’s institutional memory that…

  • Document our management decisions…

  • Provide historical references of transactions and events…

  • Enhance our organization’s operational efficiencies…

  • Demonstrate regulatory compliance…

  • Provide litigation support…

What is a Record? A record is a document, data, or set of data that is created or received in the course of an organization's business.

  • has Content, that is the text, data, metadata, symbols, numerals, images, and/or sounds that make up the substance of the record

  • has Structure, that is the physicality and internal organization of the Content.

  • has Fixity, that is the quality of the Content being stable and resisting change.

  • has Context, that is the organizational, functional, and operational circumstances surrounding a record’s creation, receipt, storage, or use, and

  • is maintained as Evidence of an organization’s activity(s). Click here for more Information.

Transient Records: click here for a description of Transient or Transitory Records.

Non-Records: click here for a description of Non-Records.

If one needs advice as to whether the document is transient, non-record or not, please contact OSU Legal Affairs...

7 Elements of an Effective Records Management Program: click here for more information.

Records Lifecycle: click here for information about the lifecycle of a record.

Beware of the Pac-Man® Effect

A significant amount of documents that we handle on a daily basis have a very short retention span (Transient/Transitory) or no retention requirements (Non-records) at all. When we routinely and appropriately dispose of these records, we can more effectively expend our energies on managing those records of intermediate, long term, and indefinite retention that require our attention. As demonstrated in the illustration below, if we do not perform these routine disposals of records with extremely short retention periods, we run the risk of generating such large volumes of these documents, that we will overwhelm our ability to effectively manage our records of consequence.

In handling of these documents one needs to consider how they handle their "snail mail" at work and home:

  • Review the documents content; this may mean thoroughly reading the document, but more often than not one is able to judge just by the look of the document or a subject line: If it is a non-record, then toss it into the garbage or recycle bin (analog or digital) immediately;

  • If it is a transient/transitory record, then place it in a file or sub-file (analog or digital) that is designated for periodic review and dispose of as soon as allowable.

If one needs advice as to whether the document is transient, non-record or not, please contact OSU Legal Affairs...
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The John L. & Christine Warner Library serves the students, faculty and staff of both the Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark, OhioLINK patrons, and community members.

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