Spring Cleaning your Files and Records

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April 5, 2023, 10 a.m.
April is Records and Information Management Month, which serves as a great reminder that it is time to ‘spring clean’ our offices and our records.
april calendar with action items on each day

by Elizabeth Hansen, Director of University Records Management

April is Records and Information Management Month, which serves as a great reminder that it is time to ‘spring clean’ our offices and our records.

University Records Management is here to answer all your questions, from “how long do I need to keep this?” to “how do I get rid of this?”

Almost every document or file that is created by Syracuse University has a prescribed length of time that it needs to be stored. Some documents, such as drafts and notes, only need to be kept until the project is over or a final product is produced. Others, like student transcripts and annual reports, need to be kept permanently. Everything else falls somewhere in between.

If you are unsure how long your records need to be kept, first take a look at our retention schedule at https://library.syracuse.edu/university-records-management/retention-schedule/. If that doesn’t answer your questions, reach out to us at rm@syr.edu and we’d be happy to look into your specific record type for you.

University Records Management is in the process of updating the University Records Retention Schedule. If you see something that you believe should be changed for your department, please reach out to us to begin those discussions.

Now is also a good time to look at your office’s electronic records. Electronic records are subject to the same rules as paper records. It’s time to purge those six drafts of the same report with names like “Final Report w Bobs edits” or “Final Report_FinalVersion” or my favorite, “Final Report_FinalVersion2.”

You may be wondering why it’s important to clean out your old records or records that have fulfilled their retention requirements. First, cleaning out old records will free up space in your office and on computer/hard drives. This makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. Second, and more importantly, over retaining information can open the university to legal and privacy risks. For example, keeping records with ‘Personally Identifiable Information’ contained in them longer than legally required could result in a data breach.

To assist with the spring clean-up of your records, we have created a calendar of quick and easy daily activities for the month of April that will help clean up both your personal and professional records.

April 2023

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

University Records Management is here to answer your records storage, retention and destruction questions. Please reach out to us to help make sure all the University’s records are kept according to the legal requirements, are stored and can be found as efficiently as possible.

Contact University Records Management at:

Phone: 315.443.8388

Email: rm@syr.edu


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