UofI Records Management 101 – Module 3: Filing Systems & Storage

UofI Records Management 101 – Module 3: Filing Systems & Storage

August 19, 2019 0 By Kailee Schamberger


Welcome to Module Three of Records
Management 101 for University of Illinois employees. In this module we
will be discussing file plans, naming standards, and the various storage
options, both physical and electronic available for University records. If you
have not already reviewed the first two modules in this course, you may want to
go back to the beginning for some more basic records management topics. Our learning objectives are: How to develop a file plan How to develop file naming standards Guidance on scanning projects Physical storage options and electronic storage options. At this point you might be wondering where exactly you come into the picture. What are your personal responsibilities when it comes to organizing and storing records? Each individual employee of the university is responsible for records at some level, but you likely have the most control
over records when they’re in what we call the active stage of the life cycle. During this stage you might be responsible for properly filing them according to your unit’s filing system, retrieving them, and making sure they are
stored securely and protected from damage or accidental loss tampering or deletion. The first step in developing standards for filing records is the creation of a file plan. A file plan is a document that outlines what records you or your unit manages, including where they are stored and in what format, who has primary responsibility for the records, and finally how long they should be retained. At the University we call a file plan a Records and Administrative Data Management Plan. Or for short: RADMan Plan. We want you to document how you manage your unit’s records, as well as any important administrative
data or other files that support your unit’s work but may not quite be
considered records. When developing a RADMan Plan for your unit: first, make a list of all the locations you store records and other important data or files, both
physical and electronic. Start with those that are most important to your unit’s core activities or business functions and then work outward to supplemental
files that provide helpful contextual information about those activities or functions. These will be the most important files
to manage well and therefore, your top priority. A filing naming standard in
your unit can improve access to records by making your work more efficient and
ensuring that the right records are available at the right time. This filing
naming standard can be simple. The most important aspect of any standard is that it is consistently applied. When devising a file naming standard for your records,
try to include in the name at a minimum a subject description that indicates the
content or purpose of the file an abbreviation of the unit or project to
which the file is related and the state of the document such as draft or final version indicators. You might also choose to include a date. You want to keep file names as short and meaningful as possible but still comprehensible. If you have a large volume of physical records that have not yet met the retention requirements but are taking up a lot of room in your office, the temptation to scan those records and keep them electronically while throwing away the paper originals is usually strong. This seems like a logical solution, after all. It will save you real physical space and maybe even improve searches through the documents. Before you start an ambitious scanning project, however, we want you to stop and reflect on a few things! How much longer do you need to keep those records? If less than five years, there are many free or very low cost storage options available to you if you can no longer house the records in your office that would save you the time and effort of scanning. How often do you use the
records? if less than once a month scanning won’t save you much trouble and you’ll be investing a lot of capital in a project with low reward. How much are you willing to spend? Scanning projects are not free, even when
done in-house. They require many hours of labor to not only scan every single page
but also prior to scanning, to prep the documents. Most often RIMS will recommend
against scanning projects simply because the investment of time and money does
not reap much reward and it is likely RIMS can provide physical storage for your records. If you have physical records and you’d like to discuss storage options for them, we’re happy to help! Your options will vary by University but there are free or low-cost storage options in many cases. We’re happy to work with you on figuring out what’s best for your records, whether you need to store them for short or long-term. You might already be familiar with many of the electronic options for storing electronic records such as your Shared Drive, Box, SharePoint, etc. Electronic records should be stored
in an approved location that can provide safe and secure storage. Electronic
records should not be stored in your your laptop, a portable storage device, or a desktop computer because the risk of accidental deletion from these locations without a recovery option is much higher. Similarly, email messages that are
important to support the business of your unit may be considered records and
therefore should be stored outside of your email. This will ensure easy access
to other persons in your unit that may need the information and provide for
better security. No matter the format of your records,
after their retention period has been met your unit may transfer records to
the University Archives, if appropriate, or begin the process of requesting
to dispose of them. We will discuss these two options in more detail in Module Four. For now let’s wrap up briefly by recapping what we’ve learned in Module Three. How do you develop a file plan How to develop file naming standards Guidance on scanning projects Physical storage options and electronic storage options. You have completed Module Three of Records Management 101 for University of Illinois employees. Please proceed to the final module, “Module Four: Transfer and Disposal of Records” or visit our training page for additional resources. Any links or supporting help guides mentioned in this video will be linked on our training home page for this course under additional resources. If you have any questions or need assistance you can contact the Records and Information Management Services Unit at [email protected]