Ensuring Records are Locatable

Being able to locate records is just as important as ensuring that documents are an accurate and reliable portrayal of the University's activities.

There are various reasons why you might need to locate records in the future: it may be requested under freedom of information or through a warrant or subpoena, it may be needed to meet reporting requirements internally or externally, or you or someone else may simply want to learn from a past situation or action.

Every local unit (and every individual) across the University has different needs and a different approach when it comes to file keeping. The most crucial feature of a good filing system is that it enables you (and others) to locate records with minimal effort. If you store your documents (or at least track the whereabouts of your files) in Content Manager, their locatability is guaranteed - in a matter of seconds you can search for the document, and either view an electronic copy if it is available in the system, or determine where the relevant file is physically located.

If you are not currently storing your records in Content Manager, then you should make sure you have a system in place for keeping track of your documents that is compliant, consistent and workable. This system must be known and accessible to staff in your area.

You can seek assistance from Records Services: they are experts in good recordkeeping!

Stay on top of your filing - make it part of your everyday routine so that it never becomes a burden.

Managing records in a mobile and portable work environment

Although the need for portability of records is a reality that is recognised by the University, it is crucial that you take extra steps to ensure the proper management of any records being used remotely.

For many of us, work is no longer just somewhere we go, but something we do wherever we are. Within the higher education sector, it is common to work flexibly, across multiple locations and at different times - and the ability to work in this way is increasingly important for both productivity and work-life balance. This means that University records often end up being used remotely - whether on a laptop or home computer, from a portable storage device, or in hard copy form transported from the University to another location (such as home, a conference or a second workplace).

The reality of a portable work environment heightens the need for a good awareness of records management, and requires extra attention to be paid to the capture, locatability and security of records. Some examples of specific steps that you should take when working remotely are as follows:

  • When you create either electronic or hardcopy records away from the office that are "University records", make sure you still capture them into your University filing system (for instance, next time you're back on site).
  • Take the necessary precautions to ensure security of the records, and be sure to report the loss or unauthorised access of a document - to your Head of School or Branch (who should be made aware if departmental records have been compromised), to the ITS Helpdesk for electronic information breaches (refer to IT Security Procedures), and to the Legal and Risk Branch (who must be informed for insurance purposes, and who may be able to provide assistance dealing with the situation).
  • Never remove the only copy of an important document from the University - for hard copy documents, it is better to leave the original on campus and take a copy to work from.
  • Keep regular backups of electronic documents on the University system, especially documents you are working on in multiple locations.
  • Use password protection or a locked briefcase to prevent unauthorised access to documents that are being used off-site.
  • To ensure that emails are preserved on the University system, either use webmail when working remotely or configure your remote email applications so that you never download your University email remotely without also leaving a copy on the University server.

All these concerns can be addressed more seamlessly if you are proactive and make recordkeeping a part of your day-to-day routine. Make other members of your work team (such as any administrative support staff) aware of your portable work practices.