Updated June 1998
Table of Contents
The goal of state government recordkeeping is to provide recorded information to those who need it, when they need it, and in the most cost-effective manner-whether those who need the information are administrators and staff or members of the public. This goal can only be accomplished by records management; that is, the application of proven management techniques to the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation, and disposal of records for the purposes of reducing costs and improving the efficiency of recordkeeping. An effective records management program should provide for the systematic control of records throughout their life cycle-from creation or receipt, through use and maintenance, to final disposition.
The central document in establishing and maintaining control over records is the records retention schedule. The schedule is prepared by or under the authority of the records management officer, lists all records created or received by an agency, and specifies how long they are to be retained. The retention schedule also identifies the following for each records series:
Whether the records are open or confidential.
Whether the records are archival state records or are records that must be reviewed for potential archival value before destruction.
The medium of the records and whether the records are converted from one medium to another during their life cycles.
Whether the records are vital.
The records retention schedule is developed from data collected during the records inventory, which is the first step in building an effective records management program. The records inventory identifies records, where they are located, and in what quantity. All records should be inventoried, regardless of the media in which they are maintained; but the inventory is not a document-by-document or folder-by-folder listing of the records in your file cabinets or on your shelves. Rather, an inventory describes the function, content, use, and format of each records series in your offices and storage areas.
A records series is a group of identical or related records that are normally used and/or filed together, and that permit evaluation as a group for retention scheduling purposes. A good place to begin understanding the records series concept is to review the Texas State Records Retention Schedule(13 TAC §6.10) published as an administrative rule of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
After the records inventory is completed, the records must be appraised. During appraisal, the value of each record the agency creates or receives is determined. Based on the decisions made during appraisal, a records retention schedule is completed that is then used regularly and systematically by your agency to manage its records.
State law defines a state government record as "any written, photographic, machine-readable, or other recorded information created or received by or on behalf of a state agency or an elected state official that documents activities in the conduct of state business or use of public resources." (Texas Government Code, §441.180). During a records inventory, you may find some types of material in your offices that are not records and do not need to be inventoried. For example, library and museum materials preserved solely for the purposes of reference or display, stocks of publications, blank forms, and administrative hearing files are excluded from the statutory definition of a state record.
Texas Government Code, §441.185(a), specifies that records management officers of state agencies must inventory the records of their agencies and develop a records retention schedule, as follows:
"Each records management officer, with the cooperation of any staff of a state agency that the officer considers necessary, shall survey the state records of the agency and prepare and submit a records retention schedule to the state records administrator."
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has adopted administrative rules (13 TAC §§6.1-6.10) establishing standards and procedures for state records retention schedules.
Providing a solid foundation for an agency's records management program is the foremost purpose of the records retention schedule. Only through use of a schedule can a state agency hope to realize these benefits of records management:
- Complying with legal requirements.
- Destroying records that no longer have value to the agency.
- Providing legal protection to the agency when destroying records.
- Retaining records of permanent value.
- Improving protection of vital records.
- Providing security for records with confidential or sensitive information.
- Using office space for access to active records.
- Moving inactive records into less expensive storage areas, if possible.
- Releasing equipment and reusable media for other productive uses.
- Maintaining records in the formats offering optimum cost-effectiveness.
The records inventory will provide an agency with significant facts about the records it creates and maintains. Ideally, the information gathered during the inventory will be comprehensive and will meet the needs of all aspects of your program. By defining the objectives of the inventory in advance, you determine what you want to accomplish with the inventory data before the process is begun.
Objectives clarify problems and specify desired results. The following should be your minimum objectives for accomplishing the immediate task of inventorying records in order the develop and implement the records retention schedule:
- Identify all agency records by records series.
- Determine the physical location and format of records, including the official record copy that will be retained for the full retention period and any convenience copies that should be retained for a shorter period of time.
- Identify records that contain confidential or sensitive information.
- Identify the inclusive dates and quantity of each records series.
- Gather sufficient information to determine an appropriate retention period for records.
Long-term objectives to support the general records management goals of the state agency, such as the following, are also made easier to achieve through the use of information collected during the inventory:
- A description of current filing and retrieval systems.
- An identification of the types and quantities of equipment and supplies used in the maintenance of records.
- A calculation of the amount of floor space dedicated to storage of active and inactive records.
- A determination of what equipment and reusable media can be released for other productive uses.
- An evaluation of the costs of recordkeeping in the agency, including consideration of alternative methods.
In addition to specifying the objectives of the inventory, you should also select the inventory method that is best-in your situation-for gathering the information needed to develop the records retention schedule. The records inventory may be conducted by means of a physical examination of the records or by use of a questionnaire.
PHYSICAL INVENTORY METHOD - For the physical inventory, an examination of the records is conducted throughout the organization by the records management officer or an individual or group of individuals directly under the records management officer's supervision. It might also be conducted by records coordinators or liaisons in each department of the agency, whose efforts are directed and coordinated by the records management officer. A physical inventory can also be undertaken by hiring a consultant or temporary workers or by using volunteers who give the inventory their exclusive attention.
The physical inventory is the most thorough and accurate method. Training a small number of personnel, who then conduct the physical examination of the records, speeds the completion of the inventory and ensures consistency in the collected data. For some agencies, however, the physical inventory is not a feasible choice because of insufficient staff or financial resources to complete the process.
QUESTIONNAIRE METHOD - Another approach to conducting the records inventory is to use a questionnaire and have each department complete its own inventory, with little or no direct examination of the records. This is the fastest method because the inventory form can be distributed to all departments simultaneously, completed by staff knowledgeable about the records, and returned by a specified date. It is also less time-consuming for staff because a thorough physical examination of the records is not undertaken.
However, problems may develop when the questionnaire method is used. The data collected may not be consistently accurate or complete. The wording on the questionnaire must be very specific so that the respondents know what is required of them. The questionnaire may be viewed as an added chore to an already full work schedule, and it may be hastily prepared or departmental staff may procrastinate in completing it. Because the records are not physically examined in detail, the questionnaire method rarely takes fully into account stored records, and a large volume of records may be overlooked. In addition, inclusive dates and the volume of records series are often simply guesses by persons completing the form.
Each inventory method has its advantages and limitations, but the planning steps required are similar for both methods. Consider the objectives you hope to accomplish before deciding which method to use.
We do recommend that, if at all possible, a physical inventory be conducted. Not only does the information gathered provide you with the data needed to create the records retention schedule, the quality of information obtained during a physical inventory provides the soundest basis for a quality records management program.
Planning for the inventory should include these preparatory steps, details of which will be discussed below:
- Determining the best strategy to accomplish records management objectives.
- Obtaining top management support.
- Communicating plans to management and staff.
- Selecting and training personnel for the inventory process.
- Establishing work schedules and completion dates.
- Mapping file locations.
DETERMINING THE BEST STRATEGY TO ACCOMPLISH RECORDS MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES - Explore the resources available to help with the inventory. Think about the organizational structure of your agency and how that may influence the way to accomplish the inventory tasks most easily. Ask yourself questions such as the following:
- How can the work be distributed most efficiently?
- Who knows the most about the records?
- Who has a particular aptitude for and enjoys working with records?
- How much time do staff have to devote to the inventory?
- How will staff be prepared for this task?
- What training is needed and how will it be provided?
- What other factors should be considered when deciding the timing of the inventory?
OBTAINING TOP MANAGEMENT SUPPORT - Management support is critical to the success of the inventory and to the entire records management program. Although state law requires that each agency establish a records management program, it is still important to obtain directives from top management to ensure that the requirements of the program are met and its purposes realized. Request a directive be sent to middle management or to the entire staff describing the objectives of the inventory and mandating the cooperation of everyone concerned. With this written directive, all departments will know that the records inventory is a sanctioned project with an important purpose.
COMMUNICATING PLANS TO MANAGEMENT AND STAFF - Before beginning the inventory, send a memo to all personnel who will be involved. Explain the project. Tell them when the inventory will begin and how it will affect other work in progress. You may want to hold a meeting for interested staff as an informal orientation. If your agency's records management plan provides for the appointment of records liaison officers, a meeting with these officers is a must. You will receive more support from those affected if they are included from the beginning in planning for the inventory.
SELECTING PERSONNEL FOR THE INVENTORY PROCESS - The records management officer must conduct or oversee the records inventory. If the government does not have specialized records management staff or records liaison officers available to assist with the inventory, other alternatives will have to be considered. In order to expedite the completion of the inventory, explore the possibility of recruiting volunteer assistance or hiring part-time or temporary staff. If the inventory takes too much time, the information collected might not be current when analyzed.
A successful inventory and records management program depends on informed personnel. Devote sufficient time for training personnel in these aspects of the inventory:
- Purpose of inventory.
- Records management concepts and terminology.
- Use of the inventory worksheet.
- Work schedule and procedures.
ESTABLISHING WORK SCHEDULES AND COMPLETION DATES - Estimating personnel and time requirements is difficult and depends more on the staff's familiarity with the records, the variety of records, and their relative accessibility than on the actual volume of records. The amount of data to be collected will affect the time needed, as will the complexity of the records series involved.
The records management officer should plan and carry out a quick "walk through" inventory; this will provide an idea of the volume and accessibility of records. The task of estimating time will be less difficult with an overall perspective of the records to be inventoried. For example, one person can physically inventory an average of 20 to 30 cubic feet of records per day. Experienced records personnel, however, may be able to inventory up to 150 cubic feet (approximately 20 file cabinets) daily. If electronic records, on personal computers, for example, will be inventoried at the same time as paper records, double the time allotted for the inventory.
Inventorying the records by department is a convenient approach because it is an incremental process and can be easier to keep track of than an agency-wide, simultaneous effort. The "department-by-department" approach breaks the total records of your agency into logical divisions.
Draw up a work plan and timetable for the inventory project. Consult with department heads to determine the most convenient time for inventorying records in their custody. Schedule the order in which offices and storage areas will be inventoried, which worker or workers will be responsible for each, and the approximate time needed to complete the inventory in each area. Periodically monitor the progress of the inventory to make certain workers are completing the forms correctly and adhering to the timetable.
Begin your inventory among active records in office areas. Staff are more familiar with these records than those in storage and will be available to answer questions by the inventory workers as they arise. By the time the inventory workers move to the storage areas, they will be acquainted with the substance of most of the records created or received in the office.
MAPPING FILE LOCATIONS - While we recommend that you begin the inventory with the files actively used in an office, it is also crucial to ensure a complete inventory of all active and inactive records. For example, records may have been placed in storage so long ago that no current staff member is aware of their existence. One of the goals of records management is ridding valuable office and storage space of obsolete and valueless records. It is important, in advance of the inventory, to know where all the records of each office are housed. We recommend you prepare a floor plan showing the location and types of records in all offices and storage locations. Be certain to include all records, in all formats. Draw representations of record locations. Number them clockwise from the main entrance. In the sample map below, the numbers represent these file locations:
Location 1 - Rack of magnetic computer tapes.
Location 2 - File cabinets (5 drawer, vertical).
Location 3 - Storage closet.
Location 4 - Stack of boxed files.
Location 5 - Metal storage cabinet.
Location 6 - File cabinets (5 drawer, vertical)
Location 7 - Computer work station with personal computer and diskettes.
Location 8 - Desk, with drawers.
Within each numbered section, records storage units are designated alphabetically left to right as the inventory worker faces them; drawers or shelves are numbered from top to bottom. For example, records stored in the third drawer of the file cabinet shaded in Figure 1 would be given the location number "2-C-3." If the records were stored on top of the cabinet, the location number would be "2-C-Top."
By identifying the location of all records, you ensure a complete examination of records holdings. You will be analyzing the data collected during the records inventory to make records appraisal and retention decisions. An accurate analysis depends on a thorough collection of information and knowing where to find the record if additional information is needed.
The State and Local State and Local Records Management Division of the Texas State Library has developed a sample "Records Inventory Worksheet" (RMD 103) which state agencies can use for inventorying and appraising their records. To obtain copies of the RMD 103, contact your agency records management officer or the State and Local Records Management Division.
The inventory worksheet is divided into two parts. The inventory section (Items 1 to 21), in which each records series is located, identified, and described, is completed by the inventory worker. Decisions documented in the appraisal section (Items 22 to 24)can be transferred directly to the records retention schedule. This section is completed by the records management officer during appraisal,
PREPARING A SEPARATE INVENTORY WORKSHEET FOR EACH RECORDS SERIES - A records series is a group of identical or related documents that are arranged under a single filing system or kept together as a unit because they relate to the same subject, result from the same activity, or document the same transaction, and which, because of any of these common characteristics, may be treated as a unit for retention and disposition purposes. A records series is determined by the function and the retention of the record, not defined by chronological, numerical, or alphabetical filing considerations or by format.
For example, a purchasing department may have eight file cabinets full of purchase order and requisition records that are filed by fiscal year. The chronological arrangement of the files is for the purpose of making access to the records easier. Each fiscal year is not a separate records series-the entire group of files is one records series because they all document the same activity and have the same retention period. Therefore, only one inventory form would be completed for all the records in these eight file cabinets.
Similarly, the case files of an agency's legal counsel constitute a records series. Although they are customarily filed alphabetically or by case number and are likely to consist of many different documents, the important points are that they are filed and used together and result from the same activity. Individual case files are simply constituent parts of the larger records series.
Retention periods for case files traditionally date from when final judgment was rendered in the case or proceedings were terminated. While the disposition of the records may involve pulling individual case files when their retention periods expire because the date of the final judgment varies from one case to another, the same retention period applies to all cases in the records series. One inventory worksheet would be completed for this records series regardless of the number of case files or the varying dates of the records.
Another example would be Administrative Files. Experience has shown that this is often a collection of many different records series with many different functions and retention periods. A separate RMD 103 form would need to be completed for each records series encountered.
COMPLETING THE INVENTORY SECTION OF THE RMD 103 - Each space for information on the worksheet is a field. The fields in the inventory section of the form are numbered as follows:
Field 1 - Agency name and division if applicable.
Fields 2 through 5 - The location of the records and the individual responsible for maintaining the records. For example: Room number and location on map.
Fields 6 through 7 - The working records series title if the records series has one, a general description of the contents, and any terms other than the records series title that are used to refer to that particular records series. For example: A records series may be entitled "Air Quality Inspection Reports." The form number is "A-609" and the working title is "AQI's." All of this information is recorded on the RMD 103 for this records series.
Field 8 - Status of the record as a record copy or a convenience copy. A significant consideration in the analysis of a records series is determining if the records are the official record copy, which must be retained for the full retention period. For example, analysis of a records series maintained in a particular department may show that it is the official record copy and must be kept for the full retention period. There may be convenience copies of the same records in other departments that are needed for only a brief period of time. One of the best ways a records management program can save money is to identify and destroy convenience copies when they are no longer needed, especially if they are normally maintained in expensive office space.
In another example, however, a records series may be located in more than one department but one set of the records should not be destroyed before the other. One department may have the record copy while a second department, in a separate location, has a disaster recovery backup copy that needs to be maintained for the full retention period. To be in legal compliance with the records retention schedule, convenience copies may not be retained any longer than the retention period approved for the record copy.
Fields 9 through 19 - Describe in what medium the records series is maintained, how a records series is arranged, the volume of records, record activity, storage method, and so on. These fields also detail the legal status of the records series and any restrictions that should be applied to the records.
For example, the inventory will reveal which records should be classified as vital to the operations of the government and must be protected to ensure their availability in the event of a disaster. Some records will also be classified as confidential, which will affect the level of security they require. The current retention period (both in the office and for inactive storage) should be noted as well as the inclusive dates of the records so that consideration may be given to disposing of obsolete records. When explaining where duplicate or summarized information is located (Fields 18 and 19), be sure to indicate in what format the duplicate exists. For example: "Duplicate of 'Air Quality Inspection Reports' is kept on magnetic tape in the agency vault."
NOTE: Some fields will not apply to all the records you are examining. You will be tailoring your inventory worksheet to meet your own needs. Do not feel compelled to address every field every time, just when the information applies.
Fields 20 and 21 - Verify the name of the individual performing the inventory and the date on which the inventory was taken. It is useful to have a record of who filled out each form in case questions arise or clarification is needed, especially if you are using a staff of several people.
The time you spend on your inventory is time well spent. You are investing in the success of your total records management program, and you will see the value of a well-planned inventory in the results.
Records appraisal builds on what has been accomplished during the inventory. The records inventory provides you with significant facts about the records of the agency. Ideally, the information collected will be comprehensive and will meet the needs of all aspects of your program.
However, the time and effort spent on the inventory will not accomplish the agency's records management goals unless the development of the records retention schedule is also well done. The following should be your objectives for the records appraisal process:
- Establish appropriate retention periods for all records.
- Determine which records are active and should be retained in office space.
- Determine which records are inactive and should be moved to storage, if possible.
- Determine which records can be destroyed because they have served their usefulness.
- Comply with legal requirements.
Keeping the objectives for records appraisal and scheduling in mind will support the implementation of an effective program of records retention.
COMPLETING THE APPRAISAL SECTION OF THE RMD 103 - The next step after analysis of the records series within the department is for the records management officer, in cooperation with department heads, to set a retention period, based on an examination of the data collected and an appraisal of the value of the records series to the agency. The information in Fields 22 through 24 can be transferred directly to the agency records retention schedule.
Fields 22 through 24 - Enter the official records series item number, if any, and the official records series title as they will appear on the schedule (Fields 22 and 23). Complete the official records retention period (Field 24) and note if there are any statutes or authorities that dictate a specific retention for the records series. You may need to consult your legal department or counsel, but remember that the legal aspects of the records should be thoroughly reviewed during the records appraisal process, so a great amount of legal detail should not be required at this point.
NOTE: Refer to the Texas State Records Retention Schedule RRS) for approved records series item numbers and mandatory minimum retention periods and information concerning legal citations that pertain to certain record series.
For those records series that are not listed in the Texas State Records Retention Schedule, a determination of a realistic retention period can be made by analyzing the value of the records. Each records series possesses one or more of four values:
ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE - Records have administrative value because they aid in the conduct of day-to-day business (sometimes called operational value), define policy and procedure, or ensure administrative consistency and continuity.
Records with administrative value include:
- Information on the creation, consolidation, or termination of an agency and its departments.
- Organizational charts.
- Definitions of responsibilities.
- Explanations of working relationships with other agencies.
Procedural records, such as the following, are also examples of records with administrative value:
- Rules and regulations.
FISCAL VALUE - Records having fiscal value are those relating to financial transactions and the movement and expenditure of funds. These include:
- Budget documents.
- Accounting records.
- Tax collection records.
LEGAL VALUE - Records that provide proof of government authority and contractual obligations have legal value to an agency. Legal value also refers to information that forms the basis for legal actions. If available, have your legal department or legal counsel review the retention periods of records to ensure that they are being maintained a sufficient length of time to satisfy any legal value.
Records with legal value include:
- Legal decisions and opinions.
- Financial agreements.
- Leases, titles, contracts.
- Regulations and agreements.
- Records providing additional explanation of a primary legal document.
Statutes, rules, and administrative policies all affect retention requirements. The records management officer should have general knowledge of the statutes, rules, and administrative policies affecting the records maintained in the agency. The records management officer does not need to become an expert on statutory interpretation but should have a listing of the pertinent legislation for reference. The Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS) issued by the Commission will give the legal citation, if any, for the retention periods of records series that are listed. If a legal citation is not given, the authority for the retention period is the schedule itself, which has the force of law.
It is imperative that you consider the legal requirements of your records. It will make retention scheduling more effective and will protect your office from litigation resulting from improperly discarded or retained records.
HISTORICAL VALUE - Documents may be considered to have historical value for one or both of the following reasons:
1) They provide important and primary evidence of government functions.
2) They contain information that is of enduring value to the public.
Records created specifically to serve as evidentiary documents of government functions are relatively easy to identify:
- Minutes of governing bodies.
- Legal opinions.
- Audit records.
Other records provide evidence but were not created for that purpose, and their historical value is less obvious. For example, supporting documentation for actions reflected in minutes, correspondence or internal memoranda, and photographs often (but not always) have historical value. All records series should be analyzed for historical value.
Decisions on retention of records are based on the types of records and their values as records. There are a variety of resources that can be used in the appraisal of records.
The Texas State Records Retention Schedule must be consulted first to determine any mandatory minimum retention periods. The retention periods are based on research in federal and state statutory law, rules of court, and administrative law. For records series that do not have any legal requirements, the retention periods on the schedule are developed in consultation with state agencies to establish reasonable retention periods. A copy of the RRS is distributed, at no cost, to each agency records management officer.
The Texas State Records Retention Schedule issued by the Commission also identifies records series that must be retained permanently or transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission when no longer needed by the agency. Staff of the Archives and Information Services Division are available to answer questions that may arise concerning the historical value of a records series not listed in the state retention schedule (call 512-463-5480).
Even though the records management officer is ultimately responsible for preparing the records retention schedule, it is often helpful to have a records management committee. Members of the committee should be familiar with the different types of records in use in the agency and should include the agency's chief fiscal officer to cover the fiscal and audit aspects of records retention, a legal representative, the records management officer, and other personnel with agency wide responsibilities or authority whose input has been determined to be necessary.
The records management committee can serve a number of purposes: making or approving retention recommendations, discovering and resolving any discrepancies, and recommending approval of the schedule.
As you are considering the retention period for a records series, you may find it helpful to use an appraisal guide, which lists pertinent questions to be asked about each records series. The questions are divided into the four value groups: administrative, fiscal, legal, and historical. Each agency's records holdings are different and no one list will apply to all, so feel free to use or adapt this sample guide. The appraisal guide is an especially helpful tool for examining all possible values of a records series before you prepare the records retention schedule. It appears at the end of this document.
Other resources that can be helpful for determining appropriate retention periods include:
- Assistance from the staff of the State and Local State and Local Records Management Division.
- Discussions with staff of other agencies similar to your own.
- Review of attorney general opinions and legal reference publications.
Specific information must be entered on the agency's records retention schedule form to document decisions made during the inventory and appraisal stages. Use of the "State of Texas Records Retention Schedule" (SLR 105), or a computer generated facsimile of the form, is required for all state agencies. An automated facsimile of the form may be used provided it contains the same information, is arranged in the same basic order, is labeled as an automated facsimile of the SLR 105, and has been approved by the State and Local Records Management Division prior to submission. The "State of Texas Records Retention Schedule Certification and Approval" page (SLR 105C), which documents approvals, must be submitted with the final SLR 105.
Forms SLR 105 and SLR 105C are described in detail on the following pages, and there are detailed instructions on the backs of both forms to aid in their completion. Blank forms SLR 105 and SLR 105C are available from your agency's records management officer or from the State and Local Records Management division.
The required form SLR 105 has 12 fields or areas of information to complete:
Field 1 - Identify the page and the number of pages in the entire document. For example, "page 1 of 35." Check the appropriate box for the use of the form.
Field 2 - The Comptroller of Public Accounts has assigned each Texas state agency an agency code number. Enter that code here. If you are unsure of your agency's code number, ask your accounting department.
Field 3 - Enter the complete name of your agency.
Field 4 - Enter the item number for the records series from the Texas State Records Retention Schedule (RRS). If the records series title is not included in the RRS, enter the numbers of the appropriate "Category" and "Section" from the RRS where it should be listed. If the records series cannot be matched to a category and section, leave Field 4 blank. (A copy of the RRS is distributed to each agency records management officer.)
Field 5 - Enter the unique number the agency uses for the corresponding records series. This unique agency item number may be either numerical or alpha-numerical, depending the agency's needs.
NOTE: You may, but are not required to, divide the retention schedule by agency department or division by placing the name of the department/division at the beginning of Field 6.
Field 6 - Enter the records series title. A records series is a group of identical or related records that are normally used and/or filed as a group. Each series has a title (for example, Bank Reconciliations, Equipment Contracts, Compliance Files).
NOTE: Records series titles must remain consistent. A records series title remains the same throughout the life cycle of that series. "Miscellaneous" is not a title. Every series must have a distinct name. Do not use a form number as a records series title.
Field 7 - Retention Period-Enter the period of time that the records series is to be kept in the agency, the period of time the series is to be kept in inactive storage at the State Records Center or other storage facility, and the total of the two amounts. Use the retention codes explained at the bottom of the form as necessary. The total retention must be the total of agency retention and storage. For example, a records series that is maintained in the agency for FE + 1 (fiscal year end plus 1 year) and stored two years has a total retention period of FE + 3 (fiscal year end plus 3 years).
Field 8 - Based on the provisions outlined in the Public Information Act, enter either "O" for Open Record or "C" for Confidential Record.
Field 9 - Using the archival codes at the bottom of the form, indicate the archival value of the records and their disposition. Contact the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library at 512-463-5480 if you have questions concerning a records series' historical value.
Field 10 - Enter the code for the physical storage medium of the records series. These codes and their explanations are located at the bottom of the form. If the medium changes during the life cycle of the record (for example, a paper record is converted to microfilm after 1 year), do one of the following:
- List the record series again, as a separate entry, using a records series item number which indicates the two series are related (for example, 99a and 99b). List the corresponding medium code for each records series.
- List the records series only once, use "O" for the records medium code, and explain the change of medium in the remarks section.
NOTE: There can only be one medium code in the medium field for each records series. If the record series resides in more than one format, place an "O," for "Other," in the medium field and list all formats in the remarks field.
Field 11 - Each agency, by law, must identify the vital records it maintains (Texas Government Code §441.051). In this field, enter "X" if the records series is considered vital.
Field 12 - Enter any statute references, other legal citations, or agency policy used as a basis for retention decisions. You are not required to cite a reason for each retention period, only to supply the source of any documented restrictions applying to retention. The RMD 106 Storage Approval Number is also placed in the field if the records series is stored at the State Records Center.
Form SLR 105C is used for approval of your retention schedule, as well as for periodic recertification. It must accompany the final version of the SLR 105 that is submitted to the State and Local State and Local Records Management Division, as well as subsequent submissions of changes or revisions.
The SLR 105C has four sections that cover the various uses of the form:
Section 1: Indicate in Section 1 the purpose for which you are submitting the form.
- Original Submission: The agency's retention schedule is being to the State and Local State and Local Records Management Division, in compliance with state law, for the first time.
- Recertification of Existing Schedule: The agency's schedule is being submitted in response to the requirement for recertification.
- Replacing Pages of Approved Schedule: Changes or revisions to the schedule are being submitted which will replace pages in the currently approved agency retention schedule. These changes or revisions will be listed in Section 4 of the SLR 105C.
- Adding Records Series to Approved Schedule: Addendum or additional pages are being added to the agency's approved retention schedule. These additions will be listed in Section 4 of the SLR 105C.
Section 2: Check the box indicating authority, either the head of the agency or the agency records management officer, then type the name and obtain the signature of the person authorizing submission of the SLR 105C, and date the form. SLR 105C forms without an authorized signature or date will be refused.
Section 3: Leave this section blank. Written confirmation of approval will be sent to the agency upon approval from the State Auditor and the Director and Librarian.
Section 4: Complete this area only if the SLR 105C is being used to replace pages of or add records series to the existing retention schedule. Do not use this space when submitting the original schedule or for recertification of the schedule.
After obtaining agency approval, submit the original "Certification and Approval Page"(SLR 105C), and three copies with the original and three copies of the "Records Retention Schedule" (SLR 105), replacement pages, or addendum pages to the State and Local State and Local Records Management Division.
In addition to being required for submissions of the SLR 105, the SLR 105C acts as a record for your agency in keeping track of the status of your retention schedule. After the retention schedule is initially certified and each time a change, an update or recertification is approved you will receive a copy of the SLR 105C signed by the State Auditor and the Director and Librarian.. This approval is proof that your agency is complying with the requirements set by the State and Local Records Management Division and proof that your records retention schedule is current.
An effective records management program is the foremost benefit of efficient retention scheduling. Other benefits include:
- Compliance with statutory requirements.
- Documented audit trail.
- Protection of vital records.
- Security for records with confidential or sensitive information.
- Cost-effective use of office space and equipment for active records.
- Transfer of inactive records into less expensive storage areas, if possible.
- Release of magnetic tapes and other electronic media for reuse.
- Destruction of records that are past their usefulness.
- Legal protection provided to the agency when destroying records.
- Retention of records of permanent value.
The following questions may be used by a state agency and the records management officer to assist in determining the value of a records series. Do not submit this guide with the agency's retention schedule.
- Are the records used in determining organizational policies?
- Does this records series explain operating procedures or departmental functions?
- Are there definitions of responsibility provided by this records series?
- Does this records series contain information on the creation, consolidation, or termination of agency activities or functions?
- Does the records series document working relationships with other state agencies, local governments, or the federal government?
- How long must this records series be maintained for day-to-day operations?
- Does this records series control or document the generation, expenditure, or movement of public funds?
- How long are these records needed to administer the funds?
- What are the audit requirements of the funding authority?
- Are there any regulations covering retention of audited records?
- How long must this records series be kept to meet all fiscal and audit requirements?
- Does this records series prove the state agency's claim to property?
- Is this records series necessary for the state to prosecute or defend against an action?
- Is this records series necessary to protect the rights of citizens?
- Are these records of state licenses or regulations? How long are these licenses or regulations valid?
- Are there federal or state regulations mandating a minimum retention period for this records series? The Texas State Records Retention Schedule issued by the Commission establishes legally binding minimum retention periods for the records series listed.
- How long must this series be kept to meet all legal retention requirements?
- Is the information in the records series unique? Can it be found elsewhere? If so, which set of records better captures the historical data?
- Has the information been published by the state agency or others? Has it been filed with another governmental entity?
- Does this records series document a particularly important citizen or event?
- How important is the information? Will researchers now or in the future need to consult the records?