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Clearing out your files PP Staff Development 10 November 2004 Anne Thompson Assistant Records Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "Clearing out your files PP Staff Development 10 November 2004 Anne Thompson Assistant Records Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 Clearing out your files PP Staff Development 10 November 2004 Anne Thompson Assistant Records Manager

2 Agenda The PP RM Project Clear out your files week Guidance –Steps & short cuts Next steps Questions

3 PP Records Management Project Aims: –To introduce and implement RM within PP –To improve control over our information resources to aid organisational efficiency, and to ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act Further information: –http://www.recordsmanagement.ed.ac.uk/InfoStaff/ RMstaff/RMprojects/pp/contents.htmhttp://www.recordsmanagement.ed.ac.uk/InfoStaff/ RMstaff/RMprojects/pp/contents.htm

4 Legacy Records Legacy records = –‘old’ records that are no longer used and which have no apparent organisation The only reason to keep records = –So that the information contained in them can be retrieved for operational reasons or because the records have a long- term research value Reasons not to keep legacy records = –Information in legacy collections is expensive to locate and retrieve –Under FOISA and DPA we must answer requests for information but cannot pass on the costs to the enquirer –They take up space which could be used more effectively, e.g. physical space in offices and server space

5 Clear out your files week Week beginning 22 November –Allow up to ½ a day Scope: –Legacy paper and electronic records –Held locally, e.g. in your office, on your personal or shared drive –“Stage 1 tidy up”

6 Clear out your files week (2) Principles: –Batch records and folders together –Avoid looking at individual records –Be pragmatic Objectives: –Identify records of archival or research value  offer to University Archivist –Records that are no longer required  dispose of –Identify records required for business reasons  Central Filing

7 Overview of steps 1.Background research 2.Relevant documentation 3.Initial survey 4.Selection criteria 5.Review catalogue 6.Sort and organise 7.Sample records 8.File-by-file review 9.Record decisions

8 Step 1: Background research Gather background information which will help to to decide whether or not to keep the records, e.g. –Who created the records? –When were the records created? –What are the records about? –Are there any existing filing schemes, indexes, lists or catalogues for the records? –Are the records still used? –Do they have a relationship with any other records held by the University?

9 Steps 2-3 Step 2: Identify relevant documentation –Identify any existing policies, procedures or documentation relevant to the records An index catalogue or list of the records? A retention schedule? Step 3: Initial survey –How much? –Are they what you expected? Do they match the catalogue /retention schedule? Do the contents match the file titles? –How are they organised? Are similar types of files together?

10 Step 4: Develop Selection criteria On the basis of the information you have collected so far about these records (steps 1- 3), develop some basic selection criteria –Identify types of records that can be destroyed, either now or at a date in the future –Identify records that are still required for business –Identify types of records that should be offered to the University Archivist Iterative process

11 Developing Selection criteria Consider their relationship with other records –Do they support the interpretation of other records? –Are they duplicates? Consider the business (including legal and accountability) need for the records –How long are they needed for current business processes and future reference? –How long are they needed for legislative, regulatory and accountability purposes? Consider the possible implications of not having the records, balanced against the cost of keeping them Consider their long-term research value

12 Considering long-term research value Archival selection criteria themes: –Origins, growth and organisation –Policies, planning and decisions –Teaching –Research –Students & Staff –Finance and physical resources –University and the wider community Business value may reflect archival value Usually lead and final copies only Summaries & engrossed records often preferred Complete record preferred Less likely to be interested in transactional and implementation records

13 Steps 5-7 Step 5: Catalogue review –Work from the index /catalogue and clear obvious ‘wins’ Step 6: Sort and organise the records –Only if the records are not already in logical order –Sort by reference number, type, title, creator… –Apply obvious selection criteria Step 7: Sample the records –Only when have insufficient information to sort and organise the records without doing so –To develop selection criteria for step 8 OR if all the records are similar, make a retention decision for the whole lot

14 Step 8: file-by-file review Last resort –Don’t read entire file –Don’t use for case files –Don’t weed Short cuts for paper –Look at title first - use your background research – are the file titles reliable? –Find earliest and last dates - use your selection criteria – how long do these files need to be kept? –Is the file worn? May be an indicator that it is an important topic –Is the file thin? May be an indicator that it relates to a trivial matter –Only then look at the papers in the folder

15 Electronic records Use Windows Explorer to view the details of documents – –Title, size, document type, date created, date last modified, date last accessed, document owner and creator. –Try to identify records that are out-of-date, have been superseded by later versions or have not been used for some time. Can they be deleted? Sort s by – –Date (delete older s?) –Size (can the largest s be deleted?) –Name (can s from particular people be deleted?) Only open individual files as a last resort –Gradually transfer those records that are used to the new system, after 2 years delete the rest?

16 Next steps Sections should plan their approach –E.g. Go through common records together at the same time? Guidance available from: –Project website –Project manager

17 Questions?


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