Records Management- FAQs

Questions Frequently Asked 

I have been named Records Management Coordinator for my agency. What are my responsibilities?

  • Create the records necessary to document the activities for which you are responsible;
  • File those records in a manner that allows for safe storage and efficient retrieval when necessary regardless of format; and
  • Store and properly dispose of records in accordance with your agency’s records retention schedule.

Contact Jan Davis to enroll in the next Records Management Workshop for Records Coordinators. The 2-hour program, held several times per year, presents an overview of records management and outlines your responsibilities as your agency’s Coordinator.

We have file cabinets and boxes full of records that the agency does not need. Am I free to recycle or destroy them?

No. All public records are public property. They cannot be recycled or destroyed without proper authorization. Use the agency’s records disposition schedule as a guide to eliminating unnecessary records. Prior to destruction, the agency’s Records Management Coordinator must prepare an Agency Notice of Intent to Destroy Records (ARC Form 4) for submission to Jan Davis, ODL Administrative Archivist.

How long do I keep records?

Each record has its own disposition/retention schedule, which indicates the minimum length of time the record should be kept. A record’s retention period is based on its administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value.

What is a public record?

Public records include documents, books, papers, photographs, computer tapes or disks, electronic mail, video or audio recordings. Public records may include:

  • A document received or created by an agency in connection with the transaction of public business;
  • Information that contains value as evidence of an agency’s functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, mission, programs, projects or activities;
  • Information fulfilling regulatory record keeping requirements; and
  • A document that contains a business action such as: what happened, what was decided, what advice was given, who was involved, when it happened, the order of events and decisions.

Public Records are defined by Oklahoma Statutes at 67 O.S. Sec. 203.  If you are not sure whether a record is actually a public record, treat it as if it were and ask for verification by contacting your agency’s Records Management Coordinator or Jan Davis at Records Management.

What is a Records Disposition Schedule? How do I obtain a current one?

The General Records Disposition Schedule specifies the minimum authorized retention periods for certain administrative, financial, and personnel records common to most state agencies, boards, commissions, and institutions. See the General Records Disposition Schedule for State Agencies.

The General Records Disposition Schedule for State Universities and Colleges specifies the minimum authorized retention periods for the records of state supported institutions of higher education in the State of Oklahoma. These authorized dispositions do not apply to records included in the General Records and Disposition Schedule. See the General Records Disposition Schedule for State Colleges and Universities.

Your agency may also have its own records disposition schedule that considers records unique to your agency. Contact Jan Davis to obtain a copy of your agency’s schedule.

How does an agency change its records disposition schedule?

To add records, complete and submit a Records Inventory Report (RMD Form 1) to Jan Davis, ODL Administrative Archivist. She will answer your questions, working with you to amend your agency’s schedule and obtain approval from the Archives and Records Commission. Jan will also work with you on recommendations for other revisions to your schedule.

Where can we store records outside of our agency?

The ODL State Records Center has space available to store records for agencies. The cost of this service is $.30 per month per cubic foot box. The agency can transfer the records to the Records Center and retrieve them as needed during normal office hours. For further information, contact Jan Davis or see Storing Records at the State Records Center.

What are the benefits of a records management program?

  • Maintain economy and efficiency, freeing up office space;
  • Document action and decisions;
  • Free up office space for other purposes;
  • Allow for quicker retrieval of documents;
  • Save money on time, space, equipment, staff time; and
  • Comply with state and federal laws and regulations.