Security Awareness

Records FAQ

Records

 

Records

What is M.G.L. c. 66A?

M.G.L. c. 66A refers to the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 66A which pertains to Fair Information Practices for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For Full text of this Law go to http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/gl-66A-toc.htm.

Date Revised : 2003-06-05

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What employee information can be released by the University?

The Commonwealth's Fair Information Practices Act (Massachusetts General Laws c.66A, effective. 7/1/76), and subsequent "University Fair Information Practices Regulations" adopted by the Board of Trustees (2/2/77) govern what information can and cannot be released concerning employee information. Certain information about employees is defined by these regulations as "public information." Public information can be released without restriction. Public information includes: name, position (job) title, job description, salary, office location and telephone number, and dates of employment at the University. For more information regarding how your employee information is used, contact your campus Human Resources department.

Policy Referenced : Data and Computing Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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Who can disseminate public records?

It depends on the type of information/data being disseminated. The University has assigned records dissemination responsibilities to various departments depending on the data to be disseminated. For example, the Registrar's Office is the official point of dissemination for student grade data; the Controller's Office is the official point of dissemination for financial data; and the Human Resources department is the official point of dissemination for personnel/payroll data.

Policy Referenced : Data and Computing Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is M.G.L. c. 66?

M.G.L. c.66 refers to the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 66 which pertains to the definition of and requirements for Public Records in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

For the full text of this law go to http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/gl-66-toc.htm

For a Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law to the go to http://www.state.ma.us/sec/pre/preidx.htm

Policy Referenced : Data and Computing Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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Is the disposal of state related records and non-state related records handled differently?

Records pertaining to state funds must be sent to the State Archives for storage according to the Disposal Schedule established by the State Comptroller. Records pertaining to non-state or trust funds will be handled by the campus records administrator and records archivist.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is a convenience record?

Convenience Records are copies of Official Records maintained by departments other than the official records custodian. This includes records of all mediums and types.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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How can I find out more information regarding how to handle records pertaining to state funds?

Your campus records administrator should have a copy of State Agency Records Management manual which details records requirements for records pertaining to state funds.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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I am creating some new data records. How should I classify this data?

When a record is created, the creator must assign two classifications to the record: a data security classification based on the University levels of data classification (details can be found in the Data and Computing Standards), and a retention designation based on legal, administrative, research and historical requirements (details can be found in the Records Management, Retention and Disposition Guidelines).
If the record is an official record, you should request the designation of an Official Records Custodian for that record from the appropriate records administrator.

Policy Referenced : Data and Computing Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What are vital records?

Vital Records are University records which are essential to the protection of the rights of individuals or the University's rights and assets, and/or the execution of the University's public or contractual obligations.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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How long do I have to keep convenience copies of records?

University Records Retention & Disposition Schedules refer to retention periods for Official and retained Convenience Records.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What types of records does the University generate?

University Records are any records created, executed or received by an University employee (i.e., full or part time, temporary, professional, classified or faculty) in connection with the transaction of University business.

The main categories of records generated at the University include:

  • Financial Records are records related to billing, financial aid disbursements, insurance, purchasing, accounting, and other operationally oriented business functions.
  • Human Resources Records are non-payroll records related to University employees such as performance reviews, disciplinary actions, contracts, etc.
  • Student Records are records related to courses, grades, housing, admissions, student disciplinary actions, non-disbursement financial aid or other academic records.

Records can also fall in the following sub-categories:

  • Institutional Records are records that contain Institutional Data.
  • Internal Records are records created by a department for use by that department's staff only, or records created by staff to carry out their University job function(s).
  • Legal Records are records that provide legal proof of agency authority and business transactions and the information that forms the basis for legal actions.
  • Medical Records are records related to the physical or mental health of an individual, regardless of category (i.e., staff, student, etc.).

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is a University record?

University Records are any records created, executed or received by an University employee (i.e., full or part time, temporary, professional, classified or faculty) in connection with the transaction of University business. University records can be on any type of media (e.g., paper, punch card, audio, video, electronic, tape, disk, fiche, film, CD-ROM, etc.) containing data. These include books, papers, images, maps, photographs, financial statements, statistical tabulations, etc.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What records do the University Records Management, Retention and Disposition Guidelines cover?

The University Records Management, Retention and Disposition Guidelines apply to all records commonly and individually created and maintained by the University and its Campuses (i.e. student, research, financial, medical, payroll/personnel, general etc.).

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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Are the University records retention periods a minimum for the amount of time a record has to be retained?

The retention periods prescribed in the University Records Retention & Disposition Schedules are based on fiscal years (July 1st to June 30th) unless otherwise noted and are exact retention periods, which means that the department must keep a record at least as long as the schedule retention period (minimum), but no longer (maximum).

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2007-11-05

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Are the University records retention periods based on fiscal or calendar year?

The retention periods prescribed in the University Records Retention & Disposition Schedules are based on fiscal years (July 1st to June 30th) unless otherwise noted.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is the Records Conservation Board (RCB)?

The Records Conservation Board (RCB) is a state board that is responsible for authorizing the transfer, destruction or sale of records of the Commonwealth (i.e., records pertaining to state funds). For more information go to their website at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcrcb/rcbidx.htm.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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Who coordinates the archiving of historical records?

The records administrator and archivist will coordinate the transfer of records designated for archival retention from the Official Record Custodian to the appropriate archive. Many campuses assign the record archivist function to the Library staff. Contact your campus records administrator to determine who is responsible for records archiving.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is a records administrator?

A records administrator is the individual(s) assigned the responsibility of implementing and monitoring the records administration and management portion of the University/Campus Records Management & Retention Program. The records administrator(s) is a job function which may be part or all of an individual's area of responsibility. Additionally, the record administrator may be the same individual(s) or a different individual(s) than the records archivist.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is the difference between a temporary record and a permanent record?

Temporary records are records that do not fall into the other retention designations (i.e., Permanent, Until Superseded or Specific). These records should be disposed of after 6 months from the last date of entry on the record. Permanent records are records assigned the University data classification Permanent. Permanent Records are those records that will be kept indefinitely or at least 100 years. This designation is given to all records that the Central Administrative Services or Campus records administrator and archivist have determined as having continued historical or administrative value. Most records with a permanent retention period are transferred to the University or Campus archives when they become inactive. In a few instances, however, records with a permanent retention period are maintained in the offices of the Official Records Custodian, not the University or Campus archives.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is institutional data?

Institutional Data is common summary and detail data that is essential to all campuses and the President's Office and is used to reflect a single organizational picture. Much of this type of data must be combined for organizational reporting to the Commonwealth or other agency.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is a records archivist?

A records archivist is the individual(s) assigned the responsibility of implementing and monitoring the records archiving and storage portion of the University/Campus Records Management & Retention Program. The records archivist(s) is a job function which may be part or all of an individual's area of responsibility. Additionally, the record archivist may be the same individual(s) or a different individual(s) than the records administrator.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is a record retention period?

A record's retention period is the length of time a record must be kept. Retention period is based on the purposes for which the record was created, legal or contractual requirements/agreements, fiscal or administrative requirements of the University and/or interested external agencies, and the criticality of the data on the record.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is an official record custodian (ORC)?

An official record custodian (i.e., ORC) is the department responsible for maintaining the official record of a specific document. For example, the Human Resources area is the official record custodian for staff contracts or the Procurement Department might be the ORC for purchase orders and requisitions.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What is an official record?

An official record is the primary or original version of a record maintained by the University. For example, the official record of a purchase is the purchase order filed in the campus Procurement Department. Other copies of the same purchase order are considered Convenience Records.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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I want to dispose of some University records. What do I do?

The first step in determining when and how records can be disposed of is to determine whether the record is a convenience copy or an official record. If the record is a convenience copy you can dispose of it following the disposal process (e.g., recycle, shred) appropriate for the data's classification. If the record is an official record, the Official Records Custodian (ORC) must obtain approval for the transfer/destruction of records for which they are responsible from the appropriate records administrator and archivist. Additionally, if the record is an official record the ORC must determine if the record pertains to state funds or non-state/trust funds. Records pertaining to state funds must be sent to the State Archives for storage according to the Disposal Schedule established by the State Comptroller.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What is Mass General Law Chapter 4, section 7?

Chapter 4: Section 7. Is the Definitions of statutory terms; statutory construction and includes the definition of a public record. For the full text of this section go to http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/4-7.htm.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Do the University Records Management, Retention and Disposition Guidelines only address paper records?

No. The University Records Management, Retention and Disposition Guidelines Include all University records regardless of the medium on which they reside (e.g., paper; fiche; in electronic form on tape, cartridge, disk, CD-ROM, or hard drive; etc.) and regardless of form (e.g., text, graphics, video, voice, drawings, etc.).

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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What do I do if a record has met its maximum retention period but the data in the record is being used in a legal procedure?

Notwithstanding a maximum retention period, records related to or involved in litigation, criminal or civil investigation, audit, or needed for ongoing administrative purposes shall be retained as required (i.e., you may keep these records longer than their maximum retention period). There is NO exception to the requirements for the minimum retention of a record.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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How do I know how a record should be secured?

Records are made up of data. Records security, which includes access, use, storage and disposition, is based on the classification of the data in the record. For example, data classified as Confidential needs to be locked up when not in use.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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I have records that have different retention periods, what do I do?

Records containing mixed retention periods should be retained for the longest retention period.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Does records disposition refer to the throwing away of records?

Records disposition refers to how records are handled once the retention period has been meet. Disposition includes archiving, transfer to another agency, or destruction.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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We have some old records archived but the technology to read these records is becoming obsolete. What do we do?

Records in archive must be accessible regardless of medium (e.g., paper, electronic, microfilm, fiche, etc.) or type (e.g., audio, video, text, graphic, etc.). This means that not only do the records have to be available but the means to read the records (i.e., the program to access an electronic record must be able to run on current technology) must be available. If the means to read the records will no longer be usable, the content of the records should be copied to a readable medium. Additionally, records in archive should be copied periodically to ensure that their quality and readability are maintained. This is especially critical when the record is on magnetic media, film, or fiche.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-28

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Are there any requirements regarding how I should organize University records?

Records organization is one of the most important components of records management having a major effect on information accessibility and staff productivity. Records management involves the arrangement of information/records, the process that leads to filing information/records and the equipment/facilities in which the records are stored. Contact your campus records administrator and archivist to determine your campuses' specific records organization procedures.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2006-03-22

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What are archival records?

Archival Records are records which have continuing administrative, research or historical value, or which document the University's organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, or operations. Examples include organization charts, memorandum, minutes, architectural drawings, graduate theses and senior honors theses, personal papers, etc.

Policy Referenced : Records Management, Retention and Disposition Standards (PDF)

Date Revised : 2003-06-05

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