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Records Management

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Mission

Records Management is responsible for advising and providing information and services to help university departments become and remain compliant with records retention regulations as established by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Scope Of Responsibility

Records Management Department helps to ensure that the generation, storage, and disposition of all official institutional records are performed by the appropriate university department and are in full accordance with the mandates handed down by the State of Texas.

This page has been designed to provide an overview of the many services we offer, as well as access to related online resources.

Services

Every component of the university -- each college, department, program, and grant -- is required by law to comply with the records management regulations set down by the Texas State Library. How do you know whether or not your area is in compliance? What exactly are these regulations? What are the standards for "due diligence?" And, most importantly, who should you ask if you don't know?

That is the role of the Records Management Department. We provide university departments with information and facilities that will promote full compliance with all related laws and regulations as established by the Texas State Government. We are here to guide your department through whatever steps may be required to ensure that your official records are being maintained according to State Law.

Here's what we can do for you:

Assessment and Departmental Training
Upon request, our professional and courteous records management specialists will pay a visit to your department to answer your questions, assess the condition of your records, and outline the many ways we can help you become/remain compliant. Upon request, we will be more than happy to provide training in proper records procedures to university faculty and staff.

Document Storage and Retrieval
We maintain an on-campus records warehouse that meets the Texas State Library's exacting standards for safety and security. University departments are encouraged to make use of this facility to store inactive records. We will work with your department to ensure records are packed properly and cataloged, and help arrange to have them transported to the warehouse site. Upon arrival, your documents will be shelved and indexed into our tracking system. In addition, Records Management offers a document retrieval service, allowing departments access to their stored records.

Records Retention Schedule
Even in a relatively small department, the amount of paperwork received and generated can really build up in a short time. Obviously you can't keep everything. This brings up two important questions. 1) What must you keep? 2) How long do you have to keep it? The answers to both may be found in the Records Retention Schedule. This is a report published every 5 years by the Texas State Library, listing record types and their respective retention periods. Our department can work with yours to compile a retention schedule for your records, helping to safeguard your documentary resources from improper or premature disposition.

Document Disposal
State law mandates that certain records be destroyed once their respective retention periods have expired. Since the information contained in these documents may be sensitive or confidential, nothing is left to chance. The regulations go into considerable detail as to exactly how the destruction process is to be carried out. As a result, all university departments are required to coordinate document destruction through Records Management. We will a) verify that the records in question have, in fact, met or exceeded their retention period; b) ensure that the necessary administrative procedures have been carried out; and c) coordinate the actual record destruction through state-approved providers.

Records Management Training

Please register here for Records Management Training

CLICK HERE FOR TRAINING REGISTRATION

Resources

Records Management Resources


FAQs

Q1. What is E-MAIL?

Answer:
E-MAIL is a method of delivering information. It is not a kind of record.

  • E-mail is a lot like regular mail. You get junk mail and advertisements. You may also receive correspondence from human resources, other departments, contracts and purchase vouchers, etc.
  • You manage your e-mail the same way you manage your paper records by subject and business function.
  • In order to run the university business and meet UTEP legal obligations, we have to maintain much of the information we receive by e-mail in the same way we manage paper records.
  • Keep e-mail to the “content” of the e-mail.

Setting up E-mail filing system:

  • Separate out junk mail and delete them.
  • Sort thru your business-related e-mails. Save e-mails that document business and its processes.
  • For example: save e-mails that include price quotes and changes to a work control issue.
  • Do not save e-mails which contain general discussions, private e-mails or other e-mail which do not include business matters.
  • Create a filing system for e-mails which you may need and be able to retrieve quickly.
  • For example: create an e-mail folder called “facilities work order/schedules”.

Q2. Who is responsible for performing Records Management tasks in my department?

Answer:
In short, you are. The Records Management Department does not act in an enforcement or policing capacity. We provide guidance and services designed to promote compliance with the Texas State Library's regulations, but the ultimate responsibility for the orderly maintenance and disposal of university records lies squarely in the hands of the departments/programs to which the records themselves belong.

The important thing to remember is that good Records Management is not a "project", undertaken periodically like spring cleaning. It is a business practice, and should be incorporated into the everyday routine of any university employee who handles official departmental records.

Q3. What is a record?

Answer:
As defined by the Government Code, §441.180(11), a state record is any written, photographic, machine-readable, or other recorded information created or received by or on behalf of a state agency or an elected state official that documents activities in the conduct of state business or use of public resources.

To put it another way, a record consists of any document created or received by your department in the course of official university business. It can be a sheet of paper, a computer file, an e-mail, a videotape, a sound recording, a photograph - the medium is pretty much irrelevant. Whether hand-written in calligraphy on parchment or whipped up in seconds on a PC, a record is the property of the state, and must be handled according to established regulations.

Q4. What is Records Management?

Answer:
Records Management (RM) is defined as the management of records (paper, magnetic media, photographic media, etc.) from their creation to their final disposition. Virtually every employee within an organization performs records management in one form or another. The hum-drum, everyday nature of document filing, however, leads many to underestimate the importance of the task. As a matter of fact, the management of records has been described as the most fundamental and necessary activity of any organization.

Q5. What is the Records Retention Schedule?

Answer:
Simplystated, the Records Retention Schedule is a listing of the types of documentseach university department receives or generates in the course of officialbusiness. Each classification is assigned a retention period, a duration oftime for which all documents of that type must be maintained. The RetentionSchedule also includes other kinds of information: whether documents of a giventype are open or confidential; vital or non-vital; typically stored in paper orelectronic form.

Q6. Why is Records Management so important?

Answer:
For a number of reasons. An organization's records serve as the principal artifacts of its own institutional history, preserving day-to-day business, internal and external communication, financial transactions and more. Without complete and accurate records, responsibly maintained, an organization is highly vulnerable to any number of consequences resulting from accidents, natural catastrophes, lawsuits, etc.

The scenarios listed below are fictional, but are fairly typical of the sort of consequences that can befall organizations that fail to take adequate measures to preserve its documentary resources.

Scenario One: Total Loss of Records
A fire breaks out in the main offices of Widgets, Inc., and the entire building burns to the ground. Even though (in this scenario, at least) nobody was injured and the building was insured from the ground up, Widgets, Inc. is in serious trouble -- because all of its records were destroyed. The building and equipment can all be replaced, but the information contained in several years' worth of files is gone. Hiring records. Paycheck stubs. Address lists. Sales vouchers. Receipts. Correspondence. Permits and licenses. Not just gone, but irretrievable. So when a client files a lawsuit six months later, demanding reimbursement for the 2000 widgets it paid for but never received, Widgets, Inc. has no way of proving that the order had been filled two days before the fire. Sounds bad? This could be just the beginning.

Scenario Two: Improper Disposal
Auditors at the Onceler Corporation, parent company of Widgets, Inc., notice a few irregularities in the budgetary documentation that Widgets, Inc. submitted some years back. It appears as though a couple of digits on one of the expense sheets were reversed. Was this simply a case of input error previously unnoticed, or a telltale sign of something illegal going on? The auditors contact Hugh DeMann, the director responsible for the account where the irregularity has appeared. They ask him for documentation that will account for the discrepancy. In his own mind, Hugh knows that the digit reversal must be a simple typo -- after all, this was his expense account, and he would probably remember having embezzled $9,500 of company funds. The problem is that he can't prove it, since just the previous week he had shredded the files that would have cleared everything up. "But they were three years old," he says. "I didn't think we needed them anymore."

It is important to realize, though, that proper Records Management means more than just locking documents away in a closet and forgetting about them. While most hazards associated with poorly maintained records are the consequence of premature destruction or loss, others are brought about by an organization's failure to destroy records in a timely manner.

Scenario Three: Coming Back To Haunt You
They say that the Onceler Corporation will never see another year like 1961. They were at the top of their game then, their products were in demand, and there was little to no competition. At the end of the year, their president decided to reward his employees with very generous holiday bonuses. The checks were written, signed, and stuffed into envelopes. Almost overnight, though, the bottom fell out of the market. Unable to afford handing out the bonuses, the president held onto the envelopes. Since this had all been done as a surprise, no one knew to expect the bonuses, and nobody complained when they didn't arrive. The whole thing was forgotten. Last year, though, Noah Vale, a new employee at Onceler, found a stack of old payroll envelopes in a storeroom. On one of the envelopes he spotted the name of Ira Caull, an old family friend who had worked for the company for many years. Not knowing what it was, Noah snuck the envelope out of the office and showed it to Ira. Seeing as how the check was accompanied by a handwritten letter from the long-retired president, it was hard to misinterpret the envelopes' content. Now Ira, along with dozens of other retired Onceler employees and their families, is demanding that these bonuses be paid (adjusted for inflation and lost interest, of course).

Q7. What if my department doesn't appear at all in the Retention Schedule?

Answer:
Let's say you've read through the reply to the previous question, followed the instructions, and still cannot find your department listed in the Retention Schedule. There are a couple of possible reasons. First, it may be too new to have been included in the current version. It's also possible that it was simply overlooked during the last revision. A third possibility is that all of the document types used by your department were included in the "ALL" Section. In any case, if you can't locate your department in the Retention Schedule, contact Carmen (x8726) at Records Management.

Q8. What is the “ALL” Section?

Answer:
Previous versions of the UTEP Records Retention Schedule listed every document belonging to every department. This caused a lot of confusion and took up a great deal of space with sheer repetition. In the current version, document types used by two or more departments (but that are otherwise identical) have simply been combined and listed in the “ALL” Section. The only document types that should appear in your department’s section are those unique to your area. Another result of this reorganization is that some departments -- those that had no unique document types -- effectively disappeared from the Retention Schedule.

Q9. Do the details of our department's document types have to match what is listed in the Guidelines?

Answer:
No. The guidelines are a starting point, and a certain degree of customization is allowed, so long as it can be justified. For example, if there is a document type that your department now stores in electronic format instead of hard copy, you can have the medium column changed to reflect this. You can also, if you choose, specify a longer retention period for a document type than is listed in the 4th Edition Texas State Records Retention Schedule, but not a shorter one. If you make revisions to a document type in the "ALL" Section, it will then become unique to your area and should appear in your department's section of the new Retention Schedule.

Q10. Where does this information come from?

Answer:
The determination as to what kinds of documents are used and by whom comes straight from the departments themselves. Each identified classification must then be matched against the information listed in a publication called Texas State Records Retention Schedule 4th Edition (Effective September 1, 2007). (A copy of which may be found in the References Documents in the right column of this page) breaks down documents into logical categories, establishes the minimum retention period for each, and, in many cases, provides references to applicable sections of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).

Q11. Where can I find the PowerPoint presentation?

Staff

Carmen Gonzalez

Records Analyst
915-747-8726
ccgonzalez@utep.edu

Contact

Operating Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location
Carl Hertzog Building
Office Located Inside Print Shop

Phone: (915) 747-8726

Fax: (915) 747-8443

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  • The University of Texas at El Paso.
  • 500 West University Avenue,
  • El Paso, Texas 79968
  • (915) 747-5000