The recertification process can be long and detailed—for the agency and for the analyst completing the review. One of the questions that we get during the process is, “How long does it take, and how does it work on TSLAC’s end?” This article explores how one Government Information Analyst approaches a schedule review. If you would like to know more about me, please see our “About Our Team” page.
In the Beginning…
Six months before your schedule is due, the recertification process begins with a recertification reminder notice. On my calendar, I previously set an alarm to tell me a state agency or university certification is due! When the alarm rings I run up and down the building getting envelopes, checking the previous agency retention schedule, and running a storage report as I prepare to send off the recertification notice letter. The storage report is provided to the agency if they have storage at the State Records Center. This allows the agency to be mindful of any changes they make to their retention schedule that could potentially affect their storage within Texlinx and the State Records Center. I then send an email to the RMO notifying them that their recertification is due within the six-month period.
At the end of the six-month period, once I receive your recertification draft as well as the agency’s 105c, the review process can begin! The main way I review material is through a color-coordinating process.
|When I highlight a series in red, it means that 3 or more items in the series are incorrect, and it is best to edit the entire series, typically with help from the RRS.|
|This means up to two items in the series are incorrect. The entire series will not be highlighted, just the cells that need to be changed.|
|Green means that an entire series in the schedule is good to go!|
Things I check for include:
- Duplicate agency identification numbers (AINs);
- Whether or not each series is on a separate row;
- Whether or not the agency retention period meets the mandatory minimums;
- Removing blank lines within the excel document; and
- Ensuring any previous amendments are incorporated.
Once I check for any discrepancies in the schedule, I begin drafting a review memo. To create the review memo, I add corrections that need to be made to be made to the agency’s schedule based on the discrepancies identified. The review memo looks like:
|AIN||RSIN||Record Series Title||Comment||Type||RMO Notes|
|Agency Item Number – |
The unique number the agency assigned to the series.
|Record Series Item Number –|
A number assigned by The Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
|The title of the record series.||The correction that is needed for the series.||Analysts, including myself, type “R” or “S” into this field.|
“R”- This means that the correction is required before the RMA unit can approve your schedule.
“S”- This means that the correction is suggested. We believe these updates will make your agency’s schedule more user friendly.
|This space is for the RMO to let us know specifics about the series. This includes not making the corrections and the reason why, letting us know the corrections are made, or some RMO elect to not use the space at all.|
Time It Takes to Complete an Individual Review
The time involved in the process of reviewing your schedule typically depends on the length of the schedule. Sometimes the review process can take about a week, other times it can take a month or more, it just depends on the size of the agency’s schedule. After completing my initial review of the agency’s schedule, I send the review memo to a colleague for review. It’s always great to have more than one pair of eyes taking a look at a schedule. The typical timeline for our peer review is about a week, but that also depends on the size of the schedule.
And Now, Back to the Agency!
Once our review process has been completed, I send the completed review memo and schedule back to the agency with any corrections that need to be made. Personally, if the mistake is small and minor, like fixing a spelling or grammar error, I ask the agency if I can take care of it on their behalf. However, if the revisions or questions are extensive, then I will leave it to the agency to correct their schedule. After all corrections have been made and questions have been answered, the agency sends it back to me. I give it one more quick review and it’s off to Archives!
Once Archives reviews and approves your schedule, and the Executive Director signs off on the schedule, final processing procedures can begin! I save the final copies of the schedule electronically in several places and formats, upload the schedule to Texlinx and the website.
Final Process and Approval
Finally, I send a physical approval letter to the agency RMO and agency head via mail and I send an email to the RMO notifying them that their schedule has been approved. The obsolete series report is attached to this email for agency review. An obsolete series report is given to the agency when series that existed on a previous recertification do not exist on the new recertification. Unless otherwise noted, the series within the report will be marked as obsolete.
And that’s it! You have a new schedule to view and use on our website! The next recertification will be in a year if it is your original, or first recertification, and five years if it is your second recertification or more. Agencies can file an amendment to their schedule at any time.
Reach out to your analyst to initiate this process, or to ask any questions about this process.