In January of 2020, before the year that would become remarkable, we published an article intending to kick off a new series of blog posts about different types of records found on state and local retention schedules that we find particularly interesting or curious. In his discussion about the succinctness of the retention period for software programs, we described the mid-90s debut of the Office Suite, a “new paradigm in office computing.” So it’s kind of funny that in the ensuing months after we published that article, there was a new global paradigm shift and Zoom would become used by office workers all over the world more often than Word or Excel.
In the spirit of that post, we are introducing “Remarkable Records: A New Blog Series,” which will be articles by TSLAC analysts highlighting and extolling the virtues of their favorite—or maybe even least favorite—record types found in the retention schedules.
In the course of our work, we’ve become intimately familiar with the retention schedules for state agencies, public universities, and local governments. Our team keeps detailed lists of record series that need improvement and there are rarely times when we don’t have one of the schedules on the revisions chopping block. Some of us have adopted favorite records series, such as well-written descriptions or retention periods that support efficient workflows, but there are also some that are stinkers.
So, we want to share some of the records series we like (or dislike) and why. We’ll bring you down the rabbit hole of research, or simply explain why we’re averse to certain records series. To provide a quick example of what to expect in our Remarkable Records blog series, I saw this record type at the end of the JC/Junior College Local Retention Schedule. It is the record description—which, of course, was written by former TSLAC records staff—that gave me a light-hearted chuckle.
|*JC3950-02c||FIRE LOG||A written, easily understood fire log that records the nature, date, time and general location of fires occurring in on-campus student housing facilities.||7 years.|
I was amused by this record series because I’m not sure why ‘easily understood’ was included in this description (as well as JC3950-01b). I absolutely agree that the log should be easily understood, but in our opinion no government records should be difficult to understand! We recommend clarity at the point of creation, as well as preserving long-term records in such a way that ensures the availability, readability, or integrity of all government records. It should go without saying for all records.
Stay tuned for upcoming articles about the weird, wacky, or wonderful record series that we’ve come across.