Procedures University Records Management

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  1. Consult the University Retention Schedule to identify the retention period for records being deposited. Contact with any questions.
  2. Complete the Records Deposit and Inventory Form. We have also provided a Records Deposit Inventory Template for your use.
  3. University Records Management approves deposit and contacts department.
  4. Contact Facilities Services to arrange delivery of boxes to Hawkins Bldg., Rm. 140.
  • Use standard records center boxes measuring 15” x 12” x 10”. W.B. Mason – Item #FEL00703.
  • Pack records according to record series and date.
  • Pack boxes from front to back according to their designated arrangement (e.g. A – Z, 1 – 20)
  • Leave 1.5 inches of space in each box for any future retrievals and/or interfiles.
  • Label short side of each record center box with the following:  department name; accession number; box contents (e.g. record series, folder range, and date); and box number (e.g. 1 of 4).
  • Deposit records that have exceeded their retention period. Destroy in office, or contact Materials Distribution for information regarding shredding services.
  • Fill a box with multiple record series.
  • Fill a box with a wide range of dates.
  • Pack “hanging” folders in boxes.
  • Over pack the box.

*Please contact URM with any questions.

  1. Complete the Records Request Form.
  2. University Records Management staff will retrieve records. Please allow 24-48 hours for the retrieval process.
  3. File requests and single box requests will be hand-delivered by Library Delivery.
  4. Box requests exceeding two boxes must be retrieved by a staff member of the requesting department. Or, the department can contact Facilities Services to transport the records at a cost to the requesting department.
  5. Contact University Records Management at when ready to return the records to the University Records Center.

Departments also have the option of examining their records in-person at the University Records Center.  Please contact University Records Management ahead of time so that arrangements can be made to retrieve requested records and have them ready for review.

  1. URM conducts a biannual review of its records stored in the URC to identify records that have met their eligible destruction date.
  2. URM will prepare an Authorization to Destroy Records form, which lists the boxes ready for destruction. The form will be sent to the appropriate department records coordinator, who will obtain the necessary signed approval from a dean, director, or department head. NOTE: URM will NOT destroy records without signed approval from corresponding departments.
  3. Please review the eligible boxes to ensure that no unresolved audit questions, investigations, litigation, or other reasons for holding up the destruction exist.
  4. Mark the check boxes next to the boxes your department has approved for destruction.
  5. Email the signed form to URM by the due date.
  6. URM will absorb the destruction costs for all boxes stored in the URC that are currently eligible for destruction.
What is a Record

Information, regardless of physical format, which have legal, fiscal, administrative, or enduring value that are created or received by Syracuse University. Records provide evidence of its operations, document business decisions, and/or have value requiring their retention either for a specific period or permanently.

How Long to Keep It

A retention period is the length of time a record must be retained to comply with legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical needs and requirements. The University Retention Schedule defines SU's policies for how long records must be kept. A retention period is the length of time a record must be retained to comply with legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical needs and requirements.

What Not to Keep

Non-records are documents such as drafts, worksheets, routine memos, materials made available from public sources, or duplicate copies of original records created for convenience or distribution. These documents have no retention value and can be disposed of at the discretion of the user. Some other examples include work papers, outlines, notes, to-do lists, reminders, blank forms, labels, or other reading files.

How to Dispose of Records

Discard or recycle records that only contain public data.

Destroy or shred information that contain any sensitive and/or confidential information. Sensitive information includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as date of birth, SSN, credit card numbers, etc.; Personal Health Information (PHI) such as medical records; education records protected by FERPA; and human resources records such as salary information.

Electronic Record

All records must be managed in accordance with University policies and in compliance with federal and state laws. The same safeguards and controls over information stored electronically apply as for information created and maintained in paper form.

Manage emails, files on network drives, and other electronically stored information based on its content and determine the appropriate retention period using the University Retention Schedule.

Archival Records

Document the history of the University’s organization, activities, functions, policies, and people. Archival records have enduring or historical value and may include, but are not limited to, reports, meeting minutes and agendas, theses and dissertations, SU publications, photographs, and faculty and alumni papers.  Due to the historical and/or scholarly significance of these materials, archival records are permanently kept and should be transferred to University Archives when they are no longer needed for business use. Please contact University Archives for any questions regarding the identification and/or transfer of archival records.

Guidance to all schools, colleges, departments, and offices across the University interested in digitizing their hard copy (e.g. paper and film) records. Scanned University records are required to be authentic, accurate, complete, and retrievable to ensure all digital images serve as acceptable evidence for any legal, audit, or administrative purposes. Adherence to these guidelines, along with industry best practices, ensures that digitized records will meet the above requirements for the duration of their respective retention periods.

Authenticity – An authentic record can be proven to be what it purports to be, created or sent by the person purported to have created or sent it, and created or sent at the time purported.

Reliability – A reliable record can be trusted as a full and accurate representation of the transactions, activities, or facts to which it attests.

Integrity – A complete and unaltered record is said to possess integrity.

Usability – A usable record can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted.

Patricia C. Franks, Records and Information Management, 2nd ed. (London: Facet Publishing, 2018), 60.

File Formats
  • Digitized images with retention periods of 10 years or more - TIFF or PDF/A
  • Digitized images with retention periods of less than 10 years - TIFF, PDF, PDF/A
Imaging Resolution
  • Minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch (ppi)
Quality Assurance

Should be implemented to ensure that scanned materials are accurate and authentic. This is a 100% visual inspection authentication process to verify that each digitized document is a legible and reliable representation of the original record. Any image deemed of unacceptable quality should be rescanned and re-inspected.

Records Retention

Digital images and correlating indexing data must be effectively and efficiently managed over time. All records, regardless of physical format, must be retained until their retention requirements have been met. (New York State Archives, Digital Imaging Guidelines. PDF File. 2019)

Please consult the University Retention Schedule for more information about the University’s records and their approved retention periods.

When digitizing documents, it is important to know that some records can only be scanned for access, not for replacement of paper or film records. In this instance, the original hardcopy materials will remain the official record. Federal and state regulations may mandate that you retain original documents for a specific period of time. Both record copies (original and scanned) must be retained for the duration of their respective retention periods.

Please note that these guidelines provide the minimum standards for digitizing most non-permanent records. Contact University Records Management for guidance prior to scanning any vital records (e.g. contracts/agreements, insurance records, retirement files, permanent business records, etc.). University Records Management can also advise and assist on larger imaging projects.

Active Record A readily accessible record related to current, ongoing, or in-process activities and referred to on a regular basis to respond to day-to-day operational requirements.

Destruction Process of eliminating or deleting a record, beyond any possible reconstruction.

Disposition Range of processes associated with implementing records retention, destruction, or transfer decisions that are documented in disposition authorities or other instruments.

Inactive Record A record no longer needed to conduct current business but preserved until it meets the end of its retention period.

Inventory A container-level (box or folder) listing of materials.

Litigation Hold Temporary suspension of destruction for records that may be relevant for litigation or government investigations.

Nonrecords Information-bearing objects that are excluded from the scope and authority of an organization’s records management program.

Official Copy The copy of a record designated to satisfy an organization’s retention requirements for information that exists in multiple copies; also known as the record copy.

Record An information-bearing object, regardless of physical medium or format, that comes within the scope and authority of an organization’s records management program.

Records Center A specially designed, warehouse-type facility that provides safe, economical, high-density storage for records consulted infrequently but must be retained for legal or operational reasons.

Records Lifecycle The span of time of a record from its creation or receipt, through its useful life, to its final disposition, whether that disposition is destruction or retention as a historical record.

Records Management 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 Retention An aspect of records management work that determines how long records need to be kept.

Records Retention Schedule A list of records series maintained by all or part of an organization together with the period of time that each records series is to be kept.

Records Series A group of logically related records that support a specific business or administrative operation and that are filed, indexed, and/or used together.

Vital Record A record that is fundamental to the functioning of an organization and necessary to the continuance of operations