Records Retention Guidelines Effective June 22, 2005
The following records retention guidelines provide recommendations for the disposition of public affairs, news and communications records. Those records document the activities and events of Duke University and its schools, departments, programs and centers. They also serve to highlight the accomplishments of faculty, students and staff locally and around the world.
These guidelines apply to public affairs, news and communications records and data stored on any and all media. These guidelines do not obligate an office to create records that did not previously exist.
Some information used in the management and oversight of public affairs activities is financial in nature. An office should follow procedures laid out in Financial Services' General Accounting Procedure 200.240, Retention Periods for Accounting Records when disponsing of fiscal records.
Public affairs, news and communications offices rely almost exclusively on electronic or “born digital” records created with word processing, spreadsheet, electronic mail, website authoring or database programs to carry out their business and activities. While the all-encompassing term “records” includes any recorded information stored on any medium, the guidelines attempt to recognize that a series may contain paper and electronic records. As electronic records are created, managed and stored throughout their life cycle of usefulness, these guidelines should serve as a general strategy for identifying basic retention needs for different sets of information.
Using the Retention Guidelines
The retention guidelines identify minimum retention periods for public affairs, news and communications records. Records not identified in these guidelines should not be disposed of without first consulting the University Records Manager, the University Archivist or the Medical Center Archivist. Records that are involved in an investigation, legal action or proceeding, audit or program review — whether forthcoming or in progress — should be retained until the resolution of those actions.
Following the minimum retention period, the records in question should be disposed of according to the recommendations in these guidelines. In some cases it is important to destroy information (excluding records identified for permanent retention) using a method that preserves its confidentiality.
Duke University maintains contracts with several shredding facilities. Visit Procurement Services for more information.
The University Records Manager will review the retention guidelines for public affairs, news and communications records periodically and will issue revisions as necessary.
In most cases, offices responsible for maintaining records (if they are in traditional hardcopy formats) do not have adequate space to store them beyond one or two years. If records must be moved to an off-site storage location, consider the following needs:
- access and retrieval — including frequency of retrieval, emergency access needs and potential costs associated with getting to the records
- environmental conditions that provide stable and friendly conditions for the records
- security systems that prevent unauthorized access to the records
- filing systems that permit the rapid retrieval of records via a logical index, box list or similar finding aid
- overall physical and intellectual control over the records for which you are the guardian
Abbreviations and Definitions
Administrative Value: the usefulness of a record in the conduct of the office’s business
Minimum Retention: the minimum amount of time a particular series of records should be retained prior to disposition
Permanent: an indefinite retention period; signifies that the records have sufficient value or importance to justify keeping them in perpetuity. Permanent retention also may be based on legal requirements or demonstrated and justifiable need. Long-term or permanent retention of electronic records requires resources for data migration, ensuring the integrity and trustworthiness of the data and addressing hardware/software obsolescence. An office should consider the long-term availability of its resources prior to expressing an interest in retaining information permanently. The University Archives or the Medical Center Archives is the official repository for information with historical or enduring value.
Records: all recorded information, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, created or received pursuant to the transaction of university business or in the fulfillment of its educational, administrative, business or legal obligations
Record Series (or Series): a group/set of identical or related records, information or data that are normally used and filed or stored as a logical unit; synonymous with data set
Duke University Records Retention Guidelines
Category Description: Public Affairs, News, and Communications
Primary Heading: Public Affairs, News, and Communications
These are records created to document and communicate to the external community the activities and events of the university and its schools, departments, programs and centers.
|Series Title||Content||Minimum Retention||Notes|
|advertisements||advertisements of special events or services||Contact Archives|
|articles & clippings||news articles or clippings (e.g. Duke In the News, News @ A&S, etc.)||Contact Archives||May be online documents|
|biographical files||vitae, photographs, profiles or articles about the individual, etc.||Contact Archives||Some may be online as "profiles" or "faculty news"|
|bulletins, newsletters & publications||Contact Archives||May be online documents|
|experts lists||Superseded or obsolete||May be online documents|
|interviews||interviews with or about members of the Duke community, including "one-question interviews"||Contact Archives|
|news releases||news releases about Duke's people, programs or initiatives. May also include tip sheets, media advisories, op-ed articles, etc.||Contact Archives||May be online documents|
|photographs||photographs of events, people or activities||Contact Archives||Photographs should identify the person(s) or event. May be online as "image banks" or "image gallery"|
|requests for information||Request satisfied and administrative value ends|
speeches or statements delivered by members of the Duke community
|Contact Archives||Includes remarks delivered by guest speakers, if available.|