Developing an Inactive Records Storage Facility
Archives Technical Information Series #48
A comprehensive records management program must not only ensure active records are accessible and retrievable; it must also make certain the same is true of records needed infrequently for a finite period of time - inactive records. A records management program allows for identification of inactive records via the records inventory and their proper disposal through use of relevant retention schedules.
Since both active and inactive records are referenced, one might argue for their remaining together in office file cabinets. Doing so places local governments at a disadvantage. Separating active from inactive files and transferring the inactive to storage creates several benefits:
- frees expensive file cabinets, allowing additional space for active files
- lessens crowding of active files, permitting easier retrieval
- reduces staff time necessary for access and retrieval
- decreases the chances of misfiling
- improves inactive records reference services
- increases efficiency of records disposition
- avoids the purchase of costly new equipment
- allows for the possible sale of surplus equipment
- cuts storage costs dramatically.
Once a local government identifies inactive records through the records inventory and determines their legal retention periods according to relevant schedules, it can formulate policies and procedures for their transfer to proper storage. Because inactive records describe a local government's past activities and functions, their efficient maintenance and accessibility are essential to the government's operation and are a significant component of a records management program. A publication in the Local Government Records Technical Information Series, Administration of Inactive Records, fully explores policies and procedures regarding inactive records transfer, storage, access and retrieval, and disposal and ways to develop and implement these directives.
This publication deals with the task of setting up inactive records storage facilities, which local governments must tackle along with identifying their inactive records and developing administrative policies and procedures.