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Storage and Retention of Records

  • What Kind of Storage Is Appropriate?

    It is important to keep records in conditions that ensure they are protected, secure and accessible for as long as they are required to meet the business requirements and legal obligations of the University.

    These physical storage requirements will vary depending on:

    Physical characteristics
    Records will be in a variety of formats or media, which will require specific protective packaging and environmental conditions.

    Sensitivity and security
    All records need to be protected from unauthorised access and should not be left unattended or in vulnerable locations. Records which have additional sensitivity include, but are not limited to:

    • Personal information about staff or students.
    • Student or staff grievances.
    • Information that is either commercial in confidence or legal in confidence.

    Expected access rate
    Records that are consulted frequently should be kept within working office areas. After active use files are closed and sent to the University's secondary storage facility for temporary or permanent storage. For further advice contact the University Archivist on 8313 5184.

    Retention period
    Records disposal schedules should be used to help prioritise record storage. For example:

    • If records are only needed for a short time (less than 2 years) it may not be cost-effective to transfer them offsite.
    • Records identified for permanent retention will require the highest standards of care from the time they are created, to ensure their longevity. When permanent records are no longer used for administrative purposes, they should be transferred to the University Archives where they will be stored.
    • For assistance in evaluating your records storage options, you can speak with your School or Branch administrative personnel, as well as consulting with University Archives & Recordkeeping.
  • Storage Principles & Techniques

    Regardless of whether records are hardcopy or electronic, the following are recommended to ensure effective storage:

    • Store records in a way that will protect them from unauthorised access or disclosure, especially records that are sensitive.
    • Records that originate in a digital form should remain digital. For example MS Office documents should be saved into an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS). Content Manager is the University's EDRMS. Not printing digital records assists the University to meet its strategic goal to reduce paper use.
    • Hardcopy files that are registered in Content Manager can be returned to Records Services when they are no longer required by you.
    • Use common sense when working out what records to store in your working areas, versus more remote storage. If hardcopy records need to be consulted frequently, keep them within your office space. Files registered in Content Manager can be returned to Records Services when they are no longer required by you.
    • Use the records disposal schedules to help prioritise records for storage. For instance, if records are only required to be stored for a short period of time (such as less than 2 years) then it may be more efficient to keep them on site until they can be destroyed. By contrast, records identified for permanent retention will require the highest standards of care to ensure their longevity.
    • Vital records should be stored in Content Manager. Hard drives and personal email folders are not accessible to other staff and records can be lost when staff members leave the University.
    • Standard email programs and shared network drives do not provide recordkeeping functionality such as full record metadata, access and security. Therefore these are not suitable to meet the University's obligations under the State Records Act.
  • Long-term Storage

    Permanent records are managed by the University Archives.

    When permanent records are no longer required for active use, they should be transferred to the University Archives. Please contact the Collection Archivist for an assessment of your records.

  • Environmental Storage Guidelines

    The following table provides basic guidelines for the storage of records for up to thirty years. For more detailed advice about storage requirements for specific items, contact the University Archives.

    Recommended Conditions for Storage of Records
    Format Environmental Conditions Storage Conditions
    Paper
    Files
    Volumes
    Cards
    • Temperature not exceeding 27°C
    • Relative humidity not exceeding 60%
    • Well ventilated
    • Ambient light
    • Clean file covers, folders or envelopes
    • Robust, clean containers (e.g. “Type 1” archive boxes)
    • Coated metal shelving
    Paper
    Maps
    Plans
    Charts
    • Temperature not exceeding 27°C
    • Relative humidity not exceeding 60%
    • Well ventilated
    • Ambient light
    • Robust, clean containers
    • Coated metal shelving
    • Rolled or vertical storage is acceptable
    Photographs
    • Temperature 20°C +/- 2°
    • Relative humidity 50% +/- 5% Ÿ
    • Well ventilated
    • Ambient light
    • Clean folders or enclosures
    • Robust, clean containers
    • Coated metal shelving
    Magnetic Media
    Computer discs
    Video tapes
    Audio tapes
    • Temperature 20°C +/- 2°
    • Relative humidity 50% +/- 5%
    • Well ventilated
    • Ambient light
    • Non-magnetised sealed containers
    • Non-magnetised shelving
    Optical Media
    Compact discs
    Laser discs
    DVDs
    • Temperature 20°C +/- 2°
    • Relative humidity 50% +/- 5%
    • Well ventilated
    • Ambient light
    • Robust, clean containers
    • Coated metal shelving

    Ref: National Archives of Australia Storage Standard, 2002

 

Address

Level 4, Barr Smith Library North 
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005
AUSTRALIA

Contact

Telephone: +61 8 8313 5334
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 3417
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