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Records Management Overview

History of Records Management Program at East Carolina University

In 1980, the first steps were made to develop a records management program for the University of North Carolina system. The North Carolina Division of Archives and History conducted surveys of the inventory of administrative units on each of the UNC campuses. In April 1982, ECU designated an interim archivist to begin centralizing administrative control of nearly seventy-five years of campus history.

Efforts initially centered on the salvage of university records stored in the basement of Fleming Dormitory. Students enrolled in the History Department’s Archival Administration course were pressed into service to assist with the processing of records into the Records Center or destroying of material no longer needed. Records discovered across campus in closets, offices, and attics were also recovered. Much of this material has formed the foundation of a rich institutional history, further demonstrating that the sense of campus pride and community existed through the preservation of historic documents long before a formal archives was in place. Today, the University Archives and Records continues to operate from Joyner Library where we continue to assist with the preservation of campus history while also supporting the administrative efforts.

What is Records Management?

The Records Management program is part of the University Archives within the Special Collections division. It serves the primary purposes of:

  • Maintenance
  • Preservation
  • Disposition

of university records in accordance with all applicable state law, federal law, and institutional policy. Our records managers work with administrative units to determine what materials should be preserved, transferred, or destroyed and how long to keep non-permanent materials for reference and legal use.

Records under the care of the University Archives reside in one of three secured storage areas for the period of years determined by the appropriate governing disposition instructions. Because of this, only inactive records with limited consultation needs should be sent to the Archives. Records which contain a clear historic or cultural value may be transferred into the University Archives for permanent preservation.

There is no cost to the administrative unit to store records here in the Archives or Records Center. The records remain the property of the office of origin until destroyed or custody is transferred into the University Archives. Material must be transferred using an approved container. See “transferring records” to learn more. Our records managers and archivists are available to provide consultations for questions regarding filing systems, digitizing official records, and improving space efficiency. 

What is a Records Retention and Disposition Schedule?

A Records Retention and Disposition Schedule is a listing of all records series types creating by an administrative unit, indicates how long records should be retained, and whether should be transferred to the University Archives for permanent retention or destroyed. Commonly referred to as a records schedule, they provide a guide for administrative and support staff to manage the information needed to successfully manage an office in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The records schedule must meet all state and federal statutes related to individual records series instructions.

Following a Records Schedule

The most common types of dispositions listed on a records schedule are:

The most common types of retentions listed on a records schedule are:

  • Retain in office permanently
  • Transfer to the Records Center after a set amount of time. Review after an addition set amount of time and either transfer into the University Archives or destroy
  • Transfer to the University Archives at the conclusion of the fiscal year