Records Management General Overview
Texas A&M University, as part of a state agency, is required to have an active and on-going records management program. Records management is "that field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about the business activities and transactions in the form of records" (ISO 15489).
As a state agency, The Texas A&M University System is required to submit a records retention schedule to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for certification, and to establish policies and procedures for the management of state records created, received, retained, used, and transmitted for both paper and electronic records.
The term "Records Management" includes:
- Development of records retention schedules
- Management of filing and information retrieval systems in any format
- Ensuring adequate protection of records in any format that are vital, archival or confidential according to accepted archival and records management practices
- Economical and space-effective storage of active and inactive records
- Maintenance of public information records in any format in a manner to facilitate access by the public as required by Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code
What is Records Management?
International Standard ISO 15489, Information and Documentation, defines records management as “the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.” Records management aids an organization in meeting current operational business needs and accountability requirements, and providing historical evidence of its transactions.
Why Use Records Management?
Records contain information that is a valuable resource and an important business asset. A systematic approach to the management of records is essential for organizations to protect and preserve records as evidence of activities and transactions. Records managers are responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal laws. Texas A&M University is required by state law to have an active and on-going records management program. The administrative agency in charge of state records is the State and Local Records Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Records management provides:
- Basic cost savings – reduced space requirements in offices and file rooms, less disk and server space used, and better use of active filing space and supplies
- Improved workflow – less time spent searching for a needed record
- Increased efficiency and more effective performance of business activities
- Support and documentation of policy formation
- Improved decision-making
- Regulatory compliance
- Litigation protection and support
- Identification and safekeeping of vital records for continuity in the event of a disaster
- Identification and safekeeping of archival materials that document the history of the university
- Documentation and preservation of research
- Protection of the interests and rights of the university, and its past, present, and future administrators, faculty, staff, and students
Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® (GARP®)
These eight principles are high-level guidelines and represent a sound records program.
Principle of Accountability - An organization shall assign a senior executive who will oversee a recordkeeping program and delegate program responsibility to appropriate individials, adopt policies and procedures to guide personnel, and ensure program auditability.
Principle of Integrity - A recordkeeping program shall be constructed so the records and information generated or managed by or for the organization have a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.
Principle of Protection - A recordkeeping program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection to records and information that are private, confidential, privilieged, secret, or essential to business continuity.
Principle of Compliance - The recordkeeping program shall be contructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities, as well as the organization's policies.
Prinicple of Availability - An organization shall maintain records in a manner that ensures timely, efficient, and accurate retrievel of needed information.
Principle of Retention - An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.
Principle of Disposition - An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records that are no longer required to be maintained by applicable laws and the organization's policies.
Principle of Transparency - The processes and activities of an organization's recordkeeping program shall be documented in an understandable manner and be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties.
For more information on GARP®, see the ARMA International web page http://www.arma.org/garp/index.cfm