Overview and Definition of Records
Metropolitan Community College (hereafter ‘MCC’) is subject to the Records Management Act, Nebraska Revised Statues 84-1201 through 84-1229. Per the legislative intent statement of this act, "Records containing information essential to the operations of government, and to the protection of the rights and interests of persons, must be safeguarded against the destructive effects of all forms of disaster and must be available as needed. It is necessary to adopt special provisions for the selection and preservation of essential state and local records, thereby insuring the protection and availability of such information…"
The Act defines records as:
"Record means any book, document, paper, photograph, microfilm, sound recording, magnetic storage medium, optical storage medium, or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics created or received pursuant to law, charter, or ordinance or in connection with any other activity relating to or having an effect upon the transaction of public business…"
In plain English, a record is any piece of information regardless of medium that details any aspect of one’s job. In order to easily understand what a record is, it may be easier to first understand what a record is not.
Records are not:
- Anything that has been acquired or kept for the purposes of serving as a general reference resource, including junk mail and copies of documents made as references which did not require any action to be taken upon receipt. This also includes working copies, assuming that a final draft is eventually arrived at.
- Copies of reports, memos, executive orders and anything else for which your office was not the originator or the office responsible for holding the copy, and which have not been annotated by your office.
- Anything kept solely for supply purposes, like blank forms and pre-addressed envelopes.
- To-do lists and any other documents that exist solely as a reminder to do something.
- Anything that documents office activities not directly related to that office’s core functions.
If something falls into one of the above categories, chances are good that it is not a record, at least not insofar as your office is concerned. Non-record material is not subject to the same strict adherence to procedure that records are, and its retention and disposal is a matter of departmental policy and procedure.
The primary tool by which records are preserved and appropriately disposed of as necessary are retention schedules, which are official documents reviewed and approved by the State Archivist that guides an institution’s policies with regards to how long certain types of records are kept (their retention period) and when and how records should be destroyed (disposition) or transferred to the Nebraska State Historical Society (State Archives). MCC is guided by three retention schedules: Schedule 151 (Metropolitan Community College), Schedule 151-1 (Metropolitan Community College Foundation) and Schedule 24 (General Records for Local Government). College Archives staff are responsible for keeping Schedules 151 and 151-1 up-to-date (with the assistance and input of all MCC departments); Schedule 24 is updated by the Nebraska Secretary of State.
As MCC is bound to follow the law with regards to records retention and disposition, the retention schedules we use give us the legal authority to dispose of records. MCC staff should consult Schedule 151 first, and if the type of record that they are looking for cannot be found on that schedule, then Schedule 24 can be consulted. MCC Foundation staff should consult Schedule 151-1 first, and if the type of record that they are looking for cannot be found on that schedule, then Schedule 24 can be consulted. Schedules 151 and 151-1 take precedence over Schedule 24, if retention periods for identical records appear on both schedules. If a record’s retention type is ‘permanent,’ then that record will never be disposed.
Life Cycle of Records
Active records are those which are usually referred to on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They should be stored in the departmental area, usually for at least one year, and they should be stored carefully, keeping FERPA and HIPAA regulations in mind.
Inactive records are those which are referred to on a yearly basis or less. Inactive records can be stored in the departmental area, or they can be sent to the College Archives or to another designated departmental storage site. Either way, they should be stored carefully, keeping FERPA and HIPAA regulations in mind.
Dead records are those which have reached the end of their retention period, as noted in the appropriate retention schedule. If stored in a departmental area, the owning department is responsible for following disposal procedures, in accordance with the law. The department must prepare and file a Records Disposition Report with College Archives staff before disposing of the materials. The Records Disposition Report can also be found on the Forms Bank. Any records that contain student or employee identification information must be destroyed by shredding to maintain adherence to FERPA/HIPAA guidelines. Dead records stored in the Archives will be disposed of properly by College Archives staff.
Sending Materials to the College Archives
Follow the below steps when submitting materials for storage to the College Archives. Only inactive records (see ‘Life Cycle of Records’ above) should be submitted to the College Archives. Dead records should never be submitted to the Archives; for information on how to properly dispose of them, read the 'Dead records' section above, under 'Life Cycle of Records'.
Acquire Bankers R-Kive® boxes (Office Depot Item # 36127) to pack the records into. Recycled boxes may also be available from College Archives staff, and they can be checked with before making any purchases. If your records require odd-sized boxes, contact Archives staff to discuss alternative boxing and storage arrangements.
Discard or keep for reuse any non-records (blank forms, envelopes, routing slips, illegible notes, &c.) that may be stored with the records, as well as any office supplies (hanging folders, binders, rubber bands, etc.). Any records stored in hanging folders or binders will need to moved into manila file folders and re-labeled, and rubber bands will need to be replaced with staples or binder/paper clips.
Pack the folders upright into the box in alphabetical/numerical order, one folder after another, ensuring that they are all facing the same direction. Boxes should not be overstuffed—folders should be loose and be able to be pulled out again easily, but not so loose that any folders sag or lie completely flat. Records with similar retention periods and disposition requirements may be combined into the same box if doing so does not violate any FERPA or HIPAA regulations. (Don’t intermingle records that contain personal protected information with those that don’t.) Full boxes can weigh as much as 50 pounds, so exercise caution when lifting.
Complete a Records Transfer Form for each box being sent to the College Archives. This form is also available on MCC's Forms Bank. In order to ensure that you are using the most recent version of this form, do not use a copy of this form that you have previously saved.
- If possible, complete the form electronically, otherwise print a copy and neatly fill it out. Fill in all fields above the list of instructions, except for ‘Call Number/Date Entered’. ‘Special Instructions’ is an optional field, and can be used to inform College Archives staff of any special conditions attached to these records, for example, if they should be retained beyond their disposal date because of legal requirements, or if researchers require departmental consent in order to view them.
- To determine the Disposal Date of the box, consult the appropriate Retention Schedule (see ‘Retention Schedules’ above), specifically the ‘Retention’ column, which will help guide you in determining an appropriate Disposal Date. If the retention is Permanent, simply fill in the Disposal Date as ‘permanent’, or ‘PERM’.
- The ‘Schedule Item Number’ field should contain the ‘Item Number’ of the row in the Retention Schedule used to determine the Disposal Date.
- The ‘Records and Dates Covered’ fields are for listing the box’s contents. This list should be specific but not necessarily granular; for example, instead of listing every document and its date created by faculty member Anderson Jones over the course of four years, simply summarize as ‘Faculty Files of Jones, Anderson; 1999-2002’. Avoid using abbreviations and jargon. If there is not enough room on the form for a complete list of contents, continue the list on a new page.
- Print the completed Records Transfer Form and place it inside the box, on top of the records. Staple any additional pages to it as necessary. Make sure the box’s lid is on secure. Apply tape if necessary.
Submit a Facilities Work Request Form in order to deliver the records to the College Archives, FOC 17, Room 010. Inform Facilities how many boxes you are sending.
Send electronic copies of each completed Records Transfer Form to email@example.com. Once the materials have been cataloged in the College Archives, you will receive an electronic copy of the Records Transfer form back with the Call Number/Date Entered field filled in. Save this form for your records, for reference when requesting retrieval of records from the Archives in the future.
Retrieving Materials From the College Archives
Some records housed in the College Archives, such as timecards, payroll records, purchase orders and student records, are considered confidential and will only be made available to other College departments with the originating department's consent. Other records are considered to be of public record and are available to departments College-wide.
- To view archived records, contact the College Archives via email at firstname.lastname@example.org relating the details and nature of your research. If possible, provide the records storage location of the materials to be viewed. If this information is not available, be prepared to give a specific description of the records you are seeking.
- If specific information is sought from the College Archives, print or electronic copies of these records can be secured in the College Archives.
- If general information is sought, boxes can be temporarily removed from the College Archives with permission by the originating department.
- A request for archived records to be permanently transferred back to the owning department requires a signed letter listing the archived records involved and stating the reason for the transfer.
Additional procedures for handling College records can be found in Procedures Memorandum X-27, Records Management at Metropolitan Community College. (PDF file, 34 KB)
For more information about the College Archives, please contact College Archives staff at email@example.com. or Colin Kehm, Archives Records Coordinator, at 531-MCC-2675 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.