FAQ: Should we notify the State Library about damaged or lost records?

By Bret Adams, Government Information Analyst

SLR 501 – Request for Authority to Destroy Unscheduled Records

Local governments who lose records that have not yet met their retention periods (due to computer system crash, fire, flood, mold, or any other unexpected incident) should notify the State Library of the loss.

This notification is made with Form SLR 501 – Request for Authority to Destroy Unscheduled Records (Download MS Word | PDF). The form isn’t strictly intended for records lost or damaged (it is meant primarily as a request to destroy records that do not appear on a retention schedule, or to destroy paper originals of records that have been microfilmed), but submission of the form verifies that records were destroyed by accidental means, and that collaboration was requested and received by the State Library.

Tips for completing the SLR 501

  • First, confirm that the records have not met their retention periods.  If the records have met their retention periods, there is no need to submit the SLR 501.
  • Please note that all entries on the form must be typed or computer generated.
  • Under “CERTIFICATIONS,” if neither option applies, do not check either box. Include a clear and complete explanation of what happened in your attachment (see below).
  • Include the record series number and record series title from your approved records control schedule or from the applicable local government retention schedule(s) that you’ve adopted.   Note the inclusive (from-to) dates and quantity in cubic feet (typically, a standard storage box is equivalent to one cubic foot).  If the records were in electronic medium, note the amount of computer data storage (MB, GB, TB, etc).
  • What if you’re unable to read or identify the records?  In those cases, estimate the type and volume/quantity and note that on the form.
  • Please attach any pertinent information regarding the nature or cause of the loss, including what measures you have put in place to mitigate and/or prevent such an incident from occurring again.
  • Complete and submit two copies of the SLR 501; at least one must have an original signature and the form must be signed by your current RMO.
  • Be sure to document the final disposal of the records on your disposition log (download MS Word), just as you would for normal disposition of any of your records.

Any questions?  Contact Bret Adams at 512-936-0270 or badams@tsl.texas.gov or any other analyst at 512-463-7610 / slrminfo@tsl.texas.gov.