The following materials are considered to have no administrative, legal, fiscal or archival requirements for their retention. They may be disposed of as soon as they have served their reference purpose. Shred, recycle or delete as appropriate. See also: Electronic Records that do not need to be printed or saved.

Need help cleaning out your Redundant, Obsolete, and Transitory records? Contact the ROT Squad today!

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Incorrect versions of documents, forms or reports that had to be regenerated in order to correct errors in typing, data entry, spelling, grammar, or format.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Drafts may be disposed of as soon as the document is finalized and are no longer needed for reference purposes. Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Extra copies of correspondence, completed forms, bulletins, statistics, reports, hardcopy printouts from a database (including e-procurement purchase orders and reports), electronic files extracted from a master file or database, mailing lists, etc., used only for reference or informational distribution. Also includes unsigned forms, contracts, meeting minutes and other records created electronically that are not complete until they are signed.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served. Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

The following electronic records do not have to be saved or printed because they are extracted from a master file or database. Reports printed from a database are considered duplicates and can be destroyed as soon as they have served their reference purpose. They will be visible and accessible for their full retention period in the system of record and can be reprinted as needed. You should never print e-mails - the official copy is the original digital version.

For those rare sponsored budgets that do not submit financial status reports at least annually, you will need to continue to keep your own copies of ISDs, CTIs, and invoices for the full retention period. (Refer to the Research and Grant/Contract Records Section of the UW General Schedule).

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Documents derived from a master file or database in the form of statistics, reports, hardcopy printouts, mailing lists,  auto-generated notifications and reminders, etc. Includes emails.  These records will be visible and accessible for their full retention period in the system of record and can be reprinted as needed. Refer to list of electronic records that do not need to be printed or saved.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Communications and postings that do not relate to the functional responsibility of the department (i.e., announcements of meetings, reservations, confirmations, itineraries, acknowledgements, form-letter thank you notes, etc.).

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Lists/logs containing information tracked by a department from which elements are superseded as new data/information is received, where not covered by a more specific records series. Includes membership lists and contact information.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Records relating to the assigning, prioritizing, tracking/monitoring and status of work/projects in progress.  This activity can occur in workflow notifications, status logs, Excel, Kanban boards, electronic tracking applications such as Trello, Kerika, AirTable, etc.  For financial charges relating to work in progress, refer to Billing Source Documents.

Official Copy: Any Office
Retention: Reference purpose served
Disposition Method: Recycle or Delete

Printed materials received from other UW offices, vendors or other non-UW institutions, which require no action and are not needed for documentary purposes. May include technical reports/studies, magazines, catalogs, periodicals, flyers, announcements, newsletters and other widely distributed printed materials received by a UW office.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

Internal and external requests for routine information.  Includes responses to requests for routine, standardized information applicable to any requestor in a comparable situation.

Retention: Retain until after the information has been sent or received.

Supplies (multiple copies) of departmentally-produced printed documents which are superseded, obsolete or otherwise valueless. May include program brochures, booklets, flyers, forms, catalogs, directories, manuals, posters and other informational materials produced by a department for wide distribution. 

NOTE: One copy of all UW publications should be sent to the University Archives at Box 352900. Contact them to send materials electronically.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please shred, recycle or delete as appropriate.

The retention for email is based on the content of each individual email.

Emails that simply request or provide information are transitory and can be deleted as soon as a reply is given or received. Examples of transitory emails include emails that:

  • Answer directional questions such as:
    • "How do I apply for this program?"
    • "What are your office hours?"
    • "When is the test?"                                                        
  • Or provide generic information:
    • Explaining/clarifying a variety of general university policies (ex. S/NS vs. annual drop, low scholarship and satisfactory progress)
    • Events (on-campus, off-campus)
    • Grading policy
    • Major/minor—/eligibility/number of credits necessary
    • Opportunities (ex. jobs, internships, scholarships)
    • Parents/FERPA
    • Redirection to another office (the cc question)
    • Registration when/how/where/eligibility/reminders
    • Transfer students
  • Or contain information or links from a source such as a website, database, or content management system.

Official Copy: Any Advisory Office
Retention: End of academic year
Disposition Method: Shred or Delete

Emails which accompany an attachment, document, report, form, etc., that do not add any substantive information to the transmitted material.

Retention: May be disposed of as soon as the reference purpose has been served.  Please delete as appropriate.