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Records Management Procedures – Glossary of Records Management Terms

Archives (1) the inactive records of the University, which are preserved because of their enduring and historical value to the institution. Only the University Archivist is authorized to determine which University records will be retained permanently as part of the archives collections.

Archives (2) the office (the University department) responsible for the orderly collection of appropriate archival materials.

Archives (3) the place where archival materials are stored and where the University’s records center is located.

Classification is a form of record naming, such as personnel files, budget records, correspondence files, etc.

Maintenance refers to record storage location: standard filing equipment, microfiche, computer hard drives, disks, CDs, etc.

Non-Record Copy: A duplicate of a record copy.

Preservation refers to the usability of the record. It is the responsibility of the office of origin to monitor the physical condition of their records while in the office. Once records are sent to storage or incorporated into the historical collection, the archives department will take appropriate measures to ensure the records are available for interpretation for their full retention period.

Protection refers to the security of the records by limiting access on a “need to know” basis. In addition, protection refers to measures taken to ensure that the institution’s vital records are identified and backup procedures implemented to ensure the recreation of a particular record in the event of a disaster or loss.

Record Copy: The official copy of a record that is retained for legal, operational or historical purposes. Often the record copy is the original, but not always.

Record Group: This term applies to the records of an office. In the Archives a control number is assigned to each administrative unit.

Record Series: File units arranged in accordance with a filing system or maintained as a unit because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, have a particular form, or because of some relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use.

Records: All books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics that are made or received by a department or unit of the University of Delaware or in connection with the transaction of business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by the University of Delaware or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the University or because of the informational value of data in them.

Retention refers to the length of time the records need to be available for reference. Occasionally, retention is mandated by federal or state laws/statutes; however, the majority of retention decisions are determined based on a department’s continued need for the information.

Retrieval is the ability to produce the requested records in a timely and efficient manner. Filing systems (whether manual or electronic) should be selected for endurance, reduction of misfile opportunities, and easily designate “out-of-file” items.