Retention and Disposition of Records: How Long to Keep Records and How to Destroy Them
by Geof Huth
Archives Technical Information Series #41
You must regularly destroy unnecessary records if you want to do your work as efficiently as possible. Many people dont learn this lesson until theyve spent a month clearing obsolete records out of a storage room. Its a lesson that others have learned when they found themselves unable to respond to legal subpoenas or discovery actions. But you can avoid learning this lesson the hard way by finding out how to use records retention schedules to simplify the disposition of your records.
The fundamental element of any records management program is managing the disposition of records, thus improving access and efficiency. You should see these improvements when dealing with paper records, as well as with electronic records and records on microfilm. The State Archives develops general retention schedules for state agencies and local governments. This publication will help you understand how to use these retention schedules, how to develop specialized office retention schedules for your own use, and how to destroy obsolete records.