Weeding the Backlog

Not everything that the University Archives accessions meets the criteria for permanent retention, especially when handling materials that are part of our backlog, which may have been accessioned years ago under different policy. The process of separating permanent from non-permanent records is known by the archival technical term “weeding.”

One category of non-permanent records are those documents and publications that are not created or distributed by the university. Now and again, rummaging through thirty boxes of unprocessed Legal Affairs records,  I would come across interesting items you wouldn’t expect to find among the administrative records of a university office.


Unfortunately, stuff like this most often doesn’t aid our mission of documenting the university–and these sorts of publications exist in many places around the world, unlike the institutional records of the university, which are one of a kind. As non-records, stuff like this gets recycled. (It’s a poor use of our resources to keep an entire run of Back to Godhead when you can download all the PDFs for free at www.back2godhead.com.) After looking through only four boxes, I ended up with a foot-and-a-half-high recycling pile.



It more than doubled the next day.

Records Management Tip #4: How to Use the Records Retention Schedule

All records created by university employees are public records, as defined by N.C. G.S. 132, the Public Records Law. One of the provisions of the Public Records Law gives authority to the Department of Cultural Resources to authorize the destruction of public records, and the DCR exercises that authority through the municipal, county, and state records-retention schedules it approves, including the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (see our post about it here).

Before you continue reading, go ahead and open up the General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (located here). The first thing you’ll notice is the Table of Contents. There you’ll see eighteen categories. These are the business processes in which the university is involved in fulfilling its mission of educating and accrediting students. The schedule mirrors this model and provides a section for each major functional area of the university.

Continue reading “Records Management Tip #4: How to Use the Records Retention Schedule”

Records Management Tip #3: Record Keeping with an Eye toward End of the Record’s Life Cycle

How can a campus unit manage its files so that it’s ready for whatever comes its way, whether a public records request, a subpoena, or a loss of records-storage space? We’ve got some tips on creating consistent record-keeping procedures with an eye toward the end of the record’s life cycle, whether it’s destined for the archives or the recycling bin.

Continue reading “Records Management Tip #3: Record Keeping with an Eye toward End of the Record’s Life Cycle”

Records Management Tip #2: Managing Your Email

Email has become an invaluable tool for conducting business at the university, but each university email is a public record, which means that it must be retained for a specific period of time and can’t always be deleted when you no longer need it. So while email has made university business easier and more efficient, the amount of email that must be organized, stored, deleted, and archived has grown to such astounding proportions that it has become an ever-larger part of every employees job. Continue reading “Records Management Tip #2: Managing Your Email”

Records Management Tip #1: Electronic File Naming

Electronic files need clear and consistent file names, especially since they move more quickly and easily from person to person and from folder to folder. As files circulate through email and across servers, descriptive and consistent naming conventions can increase efficiency and keep you from losing files.

Below you’ll find seven rules for coming up with good electronic file names.

Continue reading “Records Management Tip #1: Electronic File Naming”

UARMS Welcomes New Staff Member

University Archives and Records Management Services would like to announce that our newest staff member, Lawrence Giffin, started on October 31, 2011.  He assumed the position of Records Services Archivist and will serve as the primary contact between UARMS and Records Management Liaisons across campus, providing consultations, conducting trainings, and handling archival transfers.  His contact information is lgiffin@email.unc.edu; 919-962-6402.

Lawrence earned a Masters in Library Science from Queens College, where he specialized in archives, records management, and preservation. He has worked as a processing archivist both at NYU’s Fales Library and at Duke’s Rubenstein Library.

Welcome Lawrence!


Records Management Training

We’ve started our Human Resources Training and Development workshops this year. We hope to have training sessions through HR each semester. In September, we offered a training session on Email Management. Here are the slides from the session. This month we’re offering a session on Records Management 101 on Tuesday, October 18 from 9-10:30 a.m. at Human Resources, suite 1500-C. We’ll be covering the basics on how long you need to keep things, how to use the records retention schedule and policies you need to know for managing university records. Please register with Human Resources if you are interested in attending. We hope to see you there.

Open for Business

Student employees are already hard at work in our new office.

In early August, we let you know that University Archives was getting a new office suite. Well, we are all moved and settled into our new space on the third floor of Wilson Library. We are pleased as can be with our spacious and freshly painted digs.

We have also “moved” onto Facebook. Be sure to “like” us! Search “UNC University Archives” or follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/UNC.University.Archives.

Summertime is Records Management Time

The summer months are a quiet time here at Carolina as most of the students have gone home (or elsewhere) for the summer.  The few that remain are immersed in intensive summer school courses, or working on campus or in town.

Campus can seem almost deserted this time of year.  The sidewalks are empty, there’s virtually no one hanging around the Pit, and there are minimal lines and wait times at the few food-and-drink stops that remain open.

Deserted campus walk by Flickr user docta puella.

But don’t be fooled, there’s still a large group of people hard at work from Graduation day until the first day of classes.  In fact, for many University staff this time of year is no less busy than August through April, it’s a time when we can catch up of administrative tasks, such as records management!

Piles of files... by Flickr user jspad

So if you are a staff member finding yourself sorting through “piles of files” this summer and need help give us a call at 962-6402 or email us at recman (at) unc (dot) edu to schedule a consultation.  We are more than happy to help you start making sense of the mess!