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Policies & Procedures - Records Mgmt. Retention & Disposition Manual



Records Management is a constantly changing field as new developments in technology and management are found useful and applied. However, the need for records control as a management tool has not changed. The records program of The Citadel is evidence of this. The Records Management Program was implemented as a total program with a records center, records inventory and scheduling, central files and microfilming on 1 August 1979 in compliance with the Public Records Act of 1973.

The purpose of this Record Retention and Disposition Manual is for The Citadel’s departments/activities to use as a guideline to help both with understanding the program’s objectives and how its system works. It should be used along with Specific Records Retention/Disposition Schedules and the General Records Retention Schedule for Colleges and Universities.

This manual is designed to: explain records retention schedules, provide guidelines for retaining records, provide instruction for the disposition of departmental records, promote the cost-effective management of records, and encourage the authorized disposal of obsolete records on a regular basis.


Records Management is the application of management techniques to ensure the systematic analysis and control of records. It provides economy and efficiency in the creation, organization, maintenance, use, retrieval and disposition of records. Records Management includes the following areas of interest: Records Retention, Computer Files, Microfilm, Forms design and control, Information Retrieval, Filing Equipment, Vital Records and Records Center Operation. The program includes designing efficient filing systems, controlling the creation of records, and developing records retention schedules that will identify records that have permanent, historical, or research value. A schedule also provides for permanent retention and administering a records disposition program that will allow for the orderly destruction of records of temporary value when their legal, fiscal, or administrative value ceases. The program also includes encouraging the establishment of controls over the microfilming of records and determining of the feasibility of converting paper records to microfilm on a cost verses benefit basis.


Under the Public Records Act, the State Department of Archives and History is authorized to develop the rules and regulations necessary to carry out a Records Management Program. The three sections charged with implementing the Records Management Program are State Records Analysis Unit, The State Records Unit, and The Training and Technical Services Program.


South Carolina Public Records Act (PRA). Title 30 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, mandates that The Citadel "must establish and maintain an active continuing program of records management;" and states that "no records of long term or enduring value, including those generated by and stored in electronic information systems or magnetic, optical, film, or other media may be destroyed or erased without an approved retention schedule;" and that "all records disposed of in accordance with an authorized retention schedule and/or after copying must be destroyed in conformance with the Department of Archives and History procedures.


The Records Management Program is a function of Human Resources that is under the direction of the Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs and is responsible for the implementation of Records Retention Schedules.


The Director of Human Resources serves as The Citadel’s Records Officer. As such, the records officer is responsible for coordinating The Citadel’s program for the management of all records, both paper and electronic, and serves as The Citadel liaison with the Department of Archives and History. Each department/activity will appoint a records liaison coordinator to serve as a point of contact for the Records Analyst regarding records management.


The Citadel Records Center is a temporary storage area for semi-active and non-current records and is located on the 5th floor in Bond Hall. Computer printouts and records in corrugated boxes are stored on shelving in a controlled arrangement for ready access. Fire protection includes an automatic sprinkler system. Records are secured at all times.

Each department/activity is eligible and encouraged to transfer records to the records center. By storing inactive and semi-active records, filing equipment will be relieved for other uses. There may be legal, fiscal, or administrative requirements that the records be retained; but if the records are not referred to on an average of more than twice a month per file drawer, they probably could be stored in the Records Center. The Records Center can make electrostatic copies of stored records for department/activity use. If a large number of copies are required, the department may have to take the files to their own facilities for copying unless authorized by Records Officer. Records will not be accepted for storage unless such transfer is specified in a Retention Schedule.


Records are defined as documents, papers, books (except books in formally organized libraries), maps, drawings, cards, charts, letters, photographs, microfilm, magnetic tape, or other documents that have been made or received in connection with the transaction of business and preserved for informational value or as evidence of a transaction.


The first step in implementing a Records Retention Schedule is to inventory the records. A records inventory includes a description of the records, volume, inclusive dates, data concerning reference frequency, retention requirements and other related information.

No specific time can be set to complete the inventory. Completion of the inventory will be based on several factors: volume, number of series involved, location and accessibility of all the records and the type of storage containers used (file cabinets, boxes bundles, etc.).

The Records Analyst will identify the records by series, write a description of the record, determine the number of cubic feet of each series and obtain the inclusive dates of the series inventoried. This information will be recorded on a Record Series Inventory Form. ARM-1 (2009) (Appendix 1)

Upon completion of the inventory, a decision will be made to determine if there is a specific legal requirement for retention of the record, reviewing both federal and state records retention requirements to determine compliance with applicable laws.

Finally, the evaluation is coordinated with the State Records Analysis Unit, Department of Archives and History, to ensure compliance with rules and regulations promulgated by this department.


SPECIFIC SCHEDULES: A Specific Retention Schedule is the product of the records inventory and also indicates the length of time records will be retained by the department, where and in what format the records will be retained, and how and when the final disposition will occur.

Approval: A completed inventory form is forwarded to the Department of Archives and History. Upon receipt of this form, State Records Analysis staff prepares a retention schedule. RS-S-2 (91) (Appendix 2) Specific Retention Schedules prepared for The Citadel, requires approval by The Citadel, the State Archives Director and the Budget and Control Board. After final approval, an official copy of the schedule is returned to The Citadel’s Records Officer for implementation and will be retained by Records Analyst.

GENERAL SCHEDULES: General Schedules are issued by the Department of Archives and History for records common to all state agencies. General Schedules supercedes specific schedules that may have been previously approved. General Schedules are approved by the General Assembly and published as regulations. General Schedules do not require an inventory or approval process.


Administrative Value - The length of time the record may be needed to perform an administrative duty.

Legal Value - Information which is useful as evidence of the legal rights or obligations of the department or ensures compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Fiscal Value - Records the financial transactions of the department.

Contractual Value - Relates to the department fulfilling its contractual responsibilities.

Historical Value - Documents the history of the department.


A revision to a departmental schedule should be made by completing an inventory form noting required change. The change may involve a title, a description, a retention period, the media type, etc. In order to revise a schedule, a Records Series Inventory Form (RS-I-1), must be completed by Records Analyst and submitted to the S. C. Department of Archives and History. Records Management authorizes and coordinates revisions to the departmental Records Retention Schedule.


YRS: Years - Years will be preceded by a number to indicate the "number of years" to retain.

USUP: Until Superseded - Record is destroyed and replaced with the next revision.

ACT: Active - Retain the file or case while it remains open or is "active".

UAUD: Until Audited - The file should be retained until it has been audited. Files subject to audit are noted on the schedule with a "Yes" in "Subject to Audit" column.

UNFR: Until No Longer Needed for Reference - Keep "until no longer needed for reference."

SA: State Archives - Records series must be sent to Records Management which will forward it on to the Department of Archives and History for review and "selection of needed documentation" for permanent retention.

HC: Hard Copy - The file is maintained in hard copy.

MF: Microfilm - The file is maintained on microfilm.

AV: Archival Value - Records that have enduring value.

D: Destroy - do not maintain beyond a designated point in time.


Each department/activity should work closely with the Records Analyst to coordinate the regular disposition of obsolete records. Disposition should be carried out periodically or at least once a year. To streamline disposition, record coordinators should review filing arrangements, periodically cut off files, and work with Records Management to develop procedures for segregating inactive and obsolete files.

Records should be destroyed when the retention requirement has been met unless they are needed to meet specific requirements, i. e. audits, or designated for transfer to storage or other storage media.

The titles and descriptions of records series listed on the schedule may not exactly reflect the titles and descriptions of actual department/activity records.


Objective: To reduce the number of records maintained by a department/activity.

Process: Department/activity records can be disposed of in one of two ways:

(1.) Physical destruction: Shredded, burned discarded, or recycled.

(2.) Transfer of possession: Records sent to the Records Center for placement in storage, imaged or sent to Department of Archives and History for permanent retention.

Records Management will provide written notification to record coordinators when records are to be transferred or destroyed. Records Management must authorize the destruction or transfer of all records, even if the retention period for the record(s) has expired. The notification will provide coordinators with the title of the series, the date(s) of the records, and instruction as to whether the records should be destroyed or transferred.


All records must be destroyed by shredding, discarding, or recycling. When records become eligible for destruction, Form (Temp-38 4/94) or Form (HR/RM) is prepared. (Appendix 3 and 4)

When microfilmed records become eligible for destruction, Form (ARM-12 08/2011, ARM-13 rev. 04/2007) is prepared. (Appendix 5). At the end of the fiscal year, a Report of Records Destroyed is prepared, Form (ARM-11 (94)). (Appendix 6) All forms are prepared by Records Analyst, signed by the Records Officer and sent to the Department of Archives and History. Records Management has a copy of each form on file for review if needed.


Records which are eligible for transfer must be packed and transmitted to the Records Center according to the following:

Storage Boxes - A standard cubic foot cardboard container is used for transferring, provided by Records Management. The size of the box is 15" x 12" x 10".

Packing Boxes - When packing boxes, place folders in an upright position according to the size of the folder (letter or legal). DO NOT OVERPACK BOXES<

Computer Printouts - Computer printouts transferred for storage should not be over 4" thick.

Labeling Boxes - Boxes will be labeled by the Records Center Staff.

Transfer Form - All records being transferred will be documented on a Records Transfer and Storage Control Form which is kept by Records Management. (RM/95) (Appendix 7)

Requesting Records - Request for records can be made by calling the Records Center and identifying the record (s). When retrieved, the Records Center staff will deliver it. (RM/95) (Appendix 8)


Benefits: The benefits of using records management procedures regarding the disposition of files include:

1. Efficient use of office space, equipment and staff time.

2. Removing obsolete files results in a more efficient and safe work place.

3. The legal disposition of files avoids litigation concerning unauthorized record disposal.

Liabilities of Premature Disposal: Destruction of records before their retention periods expire may endanger the interest of the department as well as public interest because of the risk of:

1. The expense of legal settlement over disputed records.

2. Gaps in information that could disrupt efficiency.

3. The irretrievable loss of historical data.

Liabilities of Non-Disposal: Records have a life span, and outdated records can become a burden if retained beyond their useful life because of:

1. The unnecessary expenditures for space, equipment and supplies.

2. A reduction in efficiency as the accumulation of unnecessary old records slows access to active files.

3. Threats to safety due to carelessly stored records.


The Citadel’s security copies of microfilm are stored in the State Records Center in Columbia. The State Records Center operates an environmentally controlled vault for state vital records and magnetic tapes. The temperature and humidity levels in the vault are maintained at constant levels at all times to meet accepted standards that are conducive to prolonging the life of microfilm and magnetic tapes. The records series retention schedules will specify what microfilm records should be stored in the vault.


The Public Records Act of 1973 assigns the responsibility to the State Department of Archives and History to developing quality standards for the microfilming of public records and the issue of necessary rules and regulations to maintain quality control over microfilming of such records.

It should be emphasized that once a record is filmed and the hard copy is destroyed, the microfilm copy becomes the only record. To ensure that microfilmed records are legible and will remain that way for the required retention of the information, is to have certain quality tests made on the film at the time of filming and immediately thereafter.

The microfilm quality standards adopted by the State Archives Department are derived from standards issued by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Micrographics Association (NMA). These microfilm standards are accepted nationwide.

In order to meet the required standards for permanent record or long-term microfilm, all microfilm filmed at The Citadel is transferred to the Department of Archives and History microfilm laboratory for testing and development.

Resolution Test Chart:

In order to meet the required standards, the following charts and forms must be exposed on the film at the appropriate place. The resolution chart is used as a measurement to determine the ability of a microfilm system to record detail, and is essential in maintaining consistent film quality and acceptability. These charts are filmed at the beginning and end of each roll of microfilm (Appendixes 9 & 10).

Declaration of Intent and Purpose:

In order to identify and ensure that the microcopy of a public record is an authentic copy of the original record and can be submitted as evidence in any court proceedings, a Declaration of Intent and Purpose, certifying that the records are the actual records of the department/activity and were microfilmed in the normal course of business must be completed and filmed at the beginning of each roll immediately after the resolution test chart (Appendix 11).


Active Record - A record consulted frequently in the conduct of current department/activity.

Archives - An area utilized for the permanent storage of valuable records and documents.

Cubic Feet - The measurement of volume for records, archives,and manuscripts.

Current Files Area - The designated area, usually the working office, where records in frequent use are maintained.

Document - Recorded information, regardless of form or medium.

File Series - Documents, volumes, or groups of records that are arranged under a single filing system or kept together as a unit.

Hard Copy - Paper copy of a record as opposed to electronic or microfilm.

Inactive Record - A record no longer needed in the conduct of current business.

Inventory - The act of locating, identifying, and describing records in detail.

Media - The physical material in or which information can be recorded.

Non-record Material - Includes library material, extra copies of documents, publications, preliminary work sheets, and similar papers which are not needed for purposes of documentation.

Original Record - A primary of the first generation record from which copies may subsequently be made.

Permanent Record - A record which has a permanent or enduring administrative, legal, fiscal, research, or historical value or in consequence thereof must be retained and preserved indefinitely.

Public Record - Records that are created or received by the department in the normal course of business and are opened to public inspection by law or custom.

Records Analyst - A person responsible for the creation, maintenance, and disposition of active and inactive records.

Records Appraisal - Analyzing records for the purpose of establishing retention policy. Including a review of the operational, legal, historical, contractual and fiscal value of records.

Records Center - An intermediate area maintained with facilities for storage, processing, servicing, and security of records until disposal, in accordance with a retention/disposal schedule.

Records Disposition - The final removal, whether for destruction or formal transfer, of records which have reached the end of their retention period.

Records Retention/Disposition Schedule - A listing (index) of records series, indicating for how long it should be maintained and the disposition.

Retention Period - The period of time during which records must be maintained by the department because they are needed for operational, legal, historical, fiscal or contractual purposes. Records should be destroyed after the termination of the retention period.

Record Series - A group of identical or related records that are normally used and filed as a unit and can be evaluated as a unit for retention scheduling purposes.

For more information about this policy, contact Carolyn Bartley at 953-7127 in the Human Resources Department.



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