I just came across this and thought I’d share for two reasons: 1) This represents a smart policy, but bad tools for users to comply (print and know the retention periods), and 2) we are often asked “how does a user know if its a record” and this is defined herein.
Email to be maintained
The purpose of retaining records has to do with the value of a record. There are administrative, fiscal, legal, and historical reasons for maintaining records for periods of time.
First, ask if the information contained in the email only exists in email form. If a document is being transmitted by email, the creating party would be responsible for maintaining the record according to state approved retention schedules. Unless comments are added, the copy would be considered a reference copy with and the original considered the record.
Then, before deleting or destroying any document (email), ask these three questions:
- Could this document help make it clear how a business decision was made?
- Could this document help me support or justify my actions?
- Could this document form part of a financial, legal, or business audit trail, claim, or obligation?
This would include documents that issue policy, state decisions, outline procedures, show action, or give guidance.
A YES or MAYBE to any of the three questions above indicates that the document most likely is to be retained and disposed of according to either a departmental program schedule or the UNC Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (PDF: requires a reader such as Adobe Reader).
Email to be printed
- Any document with a retention schedule of three years or more
- Any document that is scheduled to go to the Archives