Records Management Guide (Records Retention Policy)
I. Missouri's Record Retention Guidelines
Missouri Statute Chapter 109, Sections 109.200 to 109.310 is known as "The State and Local Records Law", and contains the state's policy on the nature and inspection of public records. Basically, a public record is any information created or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business regardless of physical form. In addition to paper, Public Records include letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, film and sound recordings. Chapter 109 describes provisions pertaining to public inspection of records and cites any records exempt from inspection. No public record may be disposed of without the consent of the State Records Commission.
II. Missouri's Records Management Program
Missouri Statute Chapter 109.240 describes the University's duties and responsibilities regarding Missouri's Record Management Program including the following:
- Establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of the University.
- Make and maintain records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the University designed to furnish information to protect the legal and financial rights of the state and of persons directly affected by the University's activities.
- Submit to the chairman of the state records commission, in accordance with the standards established by the commission and promulgated by the Director of Records Management and Archives Service, schedules proposing the length of time each state records series warrants retention for administrative, legal, historical or fiscal purposes after it has been received or created by the University.
- Comply with the rules, regulations, standards and procedures approved by the state records commission and issued by the Director of Records Management and Archives Service.
III. Records Management Guidelines
Each department on campus shall promote sound records management practices by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Establishment of realistic records retention and disposal schedules for all its records. Communications Services maintains a file containing the approved records disposition schedules for the University. Please notify Communications Services at extension 5100 whenever changes are warranted to existing disposition schedules.
- Development of a vital records protection program for all permanent and essential records in the department.
- Minimize microfilming costs.
- Developing and maintaining filing systems that will assure efficient usage and prompt retrieval of records.
- Any papers, books, electronic record, electronic image, maps, photographs, original microfilm, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, produced, executed or received by any academic or administrative staff member in connection with the transaction of University business.
- Extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference.
- Stocks of printed or reproduced documents kept for supply purposes where file copies have been retained for record purposes.
- Books, periodicals, newspapers, posters and other library materials made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes.
- Duplicate microfilm of University records.
- Magnetized, perforated and photographically coded cards, tapes and cassettes provided that the documents containing the same information have been retained or approved for disposal.
- Material not filed as evidence of department operations or for its informational value such as telephone call slips, letters of transmittal, route slips, etc.
- Dictation tapes, machine tapes and mechanical records which have been transcribed into typewritten or printed form.
- Preliminary drafts of letters, memoranda, reports, work sheets, and informal notes which do not represent significant basic steps in the preparation of the record document.
V. Electronic Records Guidelines
- Departments are encouraged to use all available electronic technologies that increase efficiency, reduce expenses or improve the methods to process, handle, retrieve, transmit and retain University records and information.
- University information created, retained or maintained in any digitized configuration on a mainframe, PC, hard disk, tape, cassette, floppy or any other magnetic storage format, electronic image (optical disk, CD-ROM) or other optical technology, and any other type of electronic technology, may be an electronic record that must be retained to meet administrative, fiscal, legal, research and historical requirements of the University.
- Preliminary drafts of letters, memos, spreadsheets, etc., are normally not considered official records and do not need to be retained.
- Missouri Statutes, Chapter 109, Section 109.120 specifically permits the use of electronic records for the retention of public records. Section 109.130 specifies, "Such reproductions of the original record shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes provided that the reproduction is equal in resolution to microfilm produced under those standards set forth in Subsection 4 of Section 109.241 and shall be admissible in evidence in all courts or administrative agencies."
- Electronic records serve the same functions as paper records and have the same retention requirements.
VI. Safeguarding/Accessibility of Electronic Records
- Departments must safeguard all electronic records to ensure that individuals do not alter, erase or in any way change the content of the record for fraudulent purposes. In addition to safeguarding against deliberate tampering with records, departments must also guard against storage media deterioration and rapid technology changes that can leave electronic records inaccessible over a period of time because of hardware or software obsolescence. To eliminate the possibility of creating a situation where information can no longer be retrieved, departments must make provision for future accessibility by migrating all electronic records when there are major changes to the generation of hardware or software.
- To ensure the University always has available the necessary electronic records to conduct its academic and administrative requirements, Computer Services will backup all electronic records and databases on the mainframe and most file servers and Unix systems at appropriate time periods and in an appropriate manner to ensure that electronic records and databases are protected from accidental or deliberate loss. Questions regarding backup services provided by Computer Services should be directed to extension 5891.
- Electronic records and databases should be backed up, at a minimum, on a weekly basis, however if major changes or additions are made to electronic records or database groups during the week, backups should be made immediately instead of waiting for the normally scheduled backup. Electronic records and databases which are seldom changed or updated would need to be backed up only as major changes to the information occurs.
- Different backup media (floppy, reels, cassettes, optical disks, disk paks) retain information for different periods of time before deterioration of the information may begin. The longer the backup media will be retained without replacement of information, the more stable the backup media needs to be.
VII. Security for Electronic Administrative Information
- Access to administrative information (all information held in electronic form which is used in the course of administrative activities) which is maintained in or derived from electronic form shall be safeguarded against misuse, unauthorized destruction, modification or disclosure. The University considers all such information to be University assets and retains the exclusive right of ownership.
- It shall be the responsibility of the Information Technology Advisory Board (ITAB) to administer this policy at a system-wide level. The ITAB shall establish, publish, maintain, and enforce information security procedures concerning access to University administrative information.
- The Associate Vice President for Information Technology will inform the University community of any special confidentiality requirements as well as any fraud and abuse risks associated with the information, and shall take reasonable steps to ensure the information is not misused or modified, destroyed or disclosed without authorization.
- Each campus shall be responsible for administering these guidelines on their campus, with the assistance of the Director of Computer Services in Springfield.
- The ITAB shall assist the Associate Vice President for Information Technology with enforcement of these guidelines through the following:
- Function in an advisory capacity to the Associate Vice President for Information Technology.
- Provide a forum for the exchange of security issues and promote information security awareness among the users of University computing resources.
- Recommend standards for information security at the University.
- Establish and maintain guidelines for access and use of University administrative information in accordance with University policies.
- Conduct an annual review of the security of the University's administrative computing information environment.
VIII. Vital/Confidential Records
- No officer or employee shall permit the disclosure or use of confidential information without proper authorization.
- All University records designated as vital or essential to the operation of the University and which if destroyed would seriously impair or disrupt normal University affairs, or which by their loss might place the University in a state of legal or fiscal jeopardy, are to be secured, either by microfilm or other comparable and suitable method.
IX. Record Disposal
- Records may be disposed when they have met retention requirements per the approved disposition schedule by the State Records Commission.
- To determine when records may be disposed of, add the retention time to the year of the record plus one year (months are normally ignored when computing retention time). For records that cover more than one period, such as fiscal years, use the latest time period for the year of record. For example, for 1990-91 records, 1991 would be the year of record.
- Records which are not of a confidential or sensitive nature should be disposed of by means of regularly established departmental practices for handling recycled or waste paper.
- Records which are of a confidential or sensitive nature should be disposed of by any method making record recognition impossible. Determination of what constitutes confidential or sensitive records is the responsibility of the department.