Every record, whether paper or electronic, has a specific amount of time that it needs to be kept. This is called a retention period. Our Retention Schedules list the retention period and disposal method for each type of record.
Once the retention period has ended, records are disposed according to their value and content:
Please be aware that all records pertaining to ongoing or pending audits, lawsuits (or even reasonably anticipated lawsuits), or public disclosure proceedings are said to be on destruction hold and must not be altered or destroyed until the hold has been lifted and the records have met their retention. For best practices and guidance on how to handle destruction holds, please see our Destruction Holds Resource.
We recommend using a Disposition Log to create an audit trail of paper and electronic records your office has destroyed. It’s not necessary to record individual destroyed documents or files – instead, records should be grouped and recorded by their type and function (i.e. Record Series) (PNG).
At a minimum, the Disposition Log should contain the following information:
- Record Series Title - Records included on the log should be identified by Record Series; individual documents and file titles do not have to be listed. Consult the General Records Retention Schedule or your Departmental Retention Schedule
- Inclusive Dates for the records being destroyed
- Person Authorizing Disposition - May or may not be the same person who physically oversees the disposition
- Disposition Method - Delete, shred, recycle, or transfer to University Archives
- Disposition Date
Click here to download a Disposition Log template (XLSX) for use in your office.
Disposition at the University Records Center
For boxes transferred to the Records Center, it is understood:
- Departments are responsible for accurately identifying and communicating the contents of the boxes they submit for storage.
- Records Management Services will absorb the cost of shredding or recycling boxes stored in the records center.
- Our office will work with the University Archivist to transfer records designated as archival to the University Archives.
- Boxes stored at the records center are not destroyed without the receipt of formal signed authorization from the owner of the records.
- It is the responsibility of the signatory to ensure that the records in question are not on destruction hold because of litigation, audit, or public records request.
- Any eligible boxes for which we do not receive the requested signed disposition authorization will be returned to the originating office.
- Records Management Services will maintain a disposition log for all records stored at the University Records Center that have been destroyed or transferred to the University Archives.