Share This

Records Management


Importance of Records Management

Records management is vital to:

  • Managing growth of record holdings
  • Improving storage & retrieval
  • Improving efficiency & productivity
  • Identifying & protecting vital/essential records
  • Meeting fiscal, archival, legal, & administrative requirements
  • Preserving corporate memory & provide a historical reference to the past
    • When individuals leave - knowledge management
    • Archival value - preserved for historical reasons

NDCC 54-56: Records Management
North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) Chapter 54-46: Records Management outlines requirements for a standard Records Management program. It also includes definitions, duties, and guidelines for management, disposal, and preservation of records. Furthermore, NDUS Procedure 1912.8 directs each NDUS institution to "maintain a continuing program for the management of records as required by N.D.C.C. ch. 54-46."

What is a Record?

NDCC 54-46-02 states that a record is: "a document, book, paper, photograph, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official business."

A document is a record if:  

  • Your office created it.
  • Your office received it & acted on it.
  • Your office is designated as the custodian (record-holder).
  • Your office needs it to document decisions.
    • EXAMPLES: Meeting minutes, accounting files, budget files, correspondence, personnel files, insurance policies, contracts, project files, research documents, etc.

Is E-Mail a Record? 
E-mail messages can be a record, though it depends on the message's content, i.e. lunch invite vs. a decision to approve the budget of a project. E-mails should be treated like correspondence, filed by subject/content, and retained according to a retention schedule (same rules apply paper & electronic).

Storage options:  

  • Print and file in traditional paper system,
  • Archive in email folders, or
  • Move to separate file location (network, EDMS, etc.) for record-keeping purposes.

What is Not a Record? 

  • Library & museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes.
  • Stocks of publications (forms, brochures) & of processed documents.
  • Extra copies of documents retained only for convenience of reference.
    • NOTE: Reference copies should not be kept longer than the record. Must be made available for open records requests and litigation, even if only copies available.

Check out this Is It a Record? flowchart.

Records Retention Schedule

The current Records Disposal Report for Williston State College (NDUS General Records) can be found in the WSC 2019 Records Disposal Report.

This report is due to the WSC Unit Records Coordinator by May 31, 2020.   

Unable to find a record series description that applies to your record?
Please contact your WSC Unit Records Coordinator to help identify the appropriate record series for you. It may possible that a new record series needs to be created and the Unit Records Coordinator will request that on your behalf.

Litigation Holds

Information subject to a litigation hold should not be disposed of until the hold is canceled or removed. If you are notified of pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation, ongoing audit or open records request, there may be an impact to the management and/or disposal of your records. SBHE Policy 1912 outlines the procedure for applying a litigation hold for NDUS and its institutions.

Disposal Resources

The Disposal Process
Information about the annual records disposal will be communicated to the WSC community through this website and other electronic announcements. Records disposal is the responsibility of all WSC faculty, staff, and students who manage records. The process is facilitated by the Unit Records Coordinator. Forms received from the WSC campus community are compiled by the Unit Records Coordinator, who then records their unit's disposal data electronically prior to the required deadline.  

Disposal Methods
Paper Records

  • Landfill/Recycle: place in trash or a recycling bin - no special protections required
  • Retain: retain within department
  • *Shred: coordinate appropriate disposal
  • Archive: give the records to be archived to your Unit Records Coordinator who will then coordinate the transfer to Archives.

Electronic Records

  • Recycle: delete if stored on a hard drive (computer or external), on a network drive or within an electronic imaging system. If stored on a floppy, CD, DVD, USB, tape or other electronic media, place in recycle bin
  • Retain: retain within department
  • *Shred: securely destroy
  • Archive: give the records to be archived to your Unit Records Coordinator who will then coordinate the transfer to Archives.

Records with a disposal method of "shred" often contain confidential information and must be disposed of properly. Paper or microform records must be shredded in an office shredder or through a shredding service. Other media should also be disposed of so as to destroy any data. For electronic media this may mean that the device has to be physically destroyed or completely overwritten with data at the end of its life.  

Contact Information

The Unit Records Coordinator provides assistance and oversight to faculty, staff, and administrators in their units for management and disposal of their records in compliance with federal, state, and institutional requirements. 

WSC Unit Records Coordinator | Shari Erdman, Learning Commons Coordinator
701.774.4226 (p) | 701.595.7408 (t) |

Information on this page adapted with permission from the NDSU Records Management Department, Fargo, North Dakota.