Vassar College hereby adopts this Records Management Policy to promote the consistent and cost-effective management of its records, both paper and electronic, throughout their life cycle, that is, throughout their creation, use, maintenance, and ultimate disposition.
- Participation and Supervision. All offices of the college produce records, and all are asked to observe the principles of this policy, as described below.
- Records Scheduling. Offices of the college are encouraged to complete a records retention schedule that lists records series produced by the office (not a detailed file inventory) and the ultimate disposition of the records series. Retention periods should be developed in keeping with operational and fiscal/legal requirements. Records retention schedule forms are available on the website of the Archives and Special Collections Library. Completed forms should be approved and signed by the office/department head, supervising dean or vice-president, and Head of Archives & Special Collections, and sent to the Head of Archives & Special Collections.
- Permanent and Non-permanent Records.
- Permanent Records. Records of historical value (as noted on retention schedules) are candidates for inclusion in the College Archives. The Head of Archives and Special Collections will work with the office or department to arrange for the transfer of appropriate records to the Archives.
- Non-permanent Records. Records that do not have historical value are considered non-permanent, but it may be necessary to retain them for a certain period of time. Such records should be properly stored and easily accessible.
- Active and Inactive Records
- Active records are records that are needed by the office that produced them on a regular basis.
- Inactive records are not needed on a regular basis. When records become inactive, this is an appropriate time to consider where they should be stored. If inactive records have historical value, they should be moved to the College Archives. If they do not have historical value, the creating office has responsibility for ensuring that they are properly stored and accessible.
- Storage of Paper Records.
- Inactive, Non-permanent Records. Offices in need of off-site storage for inactive, non-permanent paper records should contact a local storage company in consultation with the Advisory Group. Inactive records that are sent to an off-site facility operated by a vendor should be stored in standard file storage boxes, appropriately identified. Participating offices and departments must purchase and pack the boxes, and pay for any transportation and storage costs. It is also important that offices retain an inventory that identifies the boxes in storage.
- Permanent Records. Depending on size and use, archival collections may be stored either on campus in the library or at the library’s off-site storage facility.
- Storage of Born Digital Records.
- Permanent Records. Born Digital archival collections will be placed in digital preservation storage and considered for inclusion in the digital access repository based on access needs and/or restrictions These collections are maintained by the Digital Scholarship and Technology Services department in collaboration with Special Collections.
- Alternative Storage Formats. Whenever appropriate, records should be copied to at least one, preferably two, different storage locations. This 3-2-1 backup strategy involves keeping at least 3 copies of your data; backing-up the data on 2 different storage types and storing at least 1 copy of the data offsite. Appropriate storage formats include cloud storage, external hard drive, or USB drive. The Advisory Group will seek to advise departments and offices based on new developments in technology and storage equipment.
- Destruction of Inactive Records. Departments and offices are responsible for ensuring that inactive records earmarked for destruction on their retention schedules are destroyed in an appropriate and timely manner. Paper records containing confidential information should be shredded or otherwise destroyed, not discarded with regular recycling or trash.
Approved by the Senior Officers of Vassar College, April 2003
Revised July 2006, April 2009, and August 2021