Records management at NAU
Preserving the history of Northern Arizona University
Records Management is the design and implementation of an economic, efficient, life cycle for records. It provides for their creation or receipt, use, storage, retrieval, preservation, and disposition (either destruction or transfer to an archive).
The process ensures that unnecessary records are destroyed while valuable records are maintained. The NAU Cline Library and University Archives houses the 3–5% of NAU’s records which must be maintained in perpetuity for legal, administrative, or historical purposes.
A properly implemented records management program can assist a department or unit to function more smoothly and efficiently. With the program in place, most units find that approximately 40 percent of their files remain in the office; 30 percent can be destroyed immediately; 25 percent can go to inactive storage; and 3–5 percent will be transferred to the Cline Library University Archives.
Legal requirementsAccordion Closed
NAU is required by law to formally manage their records. It is a Class Four felony in Arizona for a public employee to destroy a public record without authorization. Sound records management saves time, money, and space. The Records Management Division of the Arizona Department of Library, Archives, and Public Records is responsible for administering the program for all state agencies.
Public & personal recordsAccordion Closed
A public record refers to any documentary material in any format, even if restricted or confidential, made or received by the University in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of public business. Electronic records are considered to be public records. Some examples include official correspondence, e-mail, budgets, policies, transcripts, and personnel files. For more information, visit Public Records Standards and Laws.
A personal or non-public record includes personal correspondence or material generated outside of the University (e.g., a catalog from another institution).
Basic retention informationAccordion Closed
A record must be maintained for a length of time depending on the record type. Some records, such as student transcripts, are designated for “permanent” retention. Other records, such as routine office correspondence, may be recycled after three months.
NAU submits records retention and disposition schedules to the Arizona Department of Library, Archives, and Public Records for approval. See below for current, approved NAU records retention and disposition schedules.
If your records are not covered in the available schedules, you can create a records retention and disposition schedule for your college, department, or unit by working with the personnel at the State Records Management Division. You will find examples and instructions in the records Retention and Disposition Manual for Arizona Agencies. Please use the records retention schedule template to submit a new or revised schedule. State records management forms are available on the website for the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.
Records disposalAccordion Closed
Proper disposal of your records should be handled as indicated, if they are listed on an NAU records retention and disposition schedule and are not designated as “permanent” records. You can recycle records (NAU participates in the City of Flagstaff Recycling program) and complete a Certificate of Records Destruction to be sent to the Records Management Division. Please be aware that most public records can be “bundled” as part of regular paper recycling; only confidential records (student files, personnel files, and medical files) need to be shredded. Records can be shredded using an office machine, or you can engage the services of an outside vendor.
University archivesAccordion Closed
If the records in question are identified as “permanent,” please contact the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives Department at 928-523-5551 to arrange for transfer to the University Archives. The Library will supply acid-free record cartons. The originating office is responsible for preparing an inventory of the box contents.
Due to space limitations, Cline Library accepts only records intended to become part of the University Archives. We are unable to arrange space for temporary storage of records scheduled for destruction. The State of Arizona operates a low-cost records center in Phoenix, which offers such services as pick up, computerized inventory control, retrieval, and destruction. For a price list and further information, consult the Record Services Price List.
List of schedulesAccordion Closed
Please be aware that as of February 14, 2012, all new general retention schedules for Arizona state agencies reflect the minimum amount of time that official records must be kept. A public body may choose to retain records past the designated minimum period. However, the public body will need to be prepared to provide those records maintained past the designated minimum period in response to a court order or a request made pursuant to state public records laws.
Most NAU records retention schedules approved prior to January 1, 2009 have been superseded by the current general retention schedules for Arizona state agencies. If your college, department, or unit relied on a special records retention schedule approved prior to January 1, 2009 and those records are not covered by a related general retention schedule for Arizona state agencies, please contact the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Records Management Division. The following is a listing for the various governmental entities current General Schedules.
Arizona State Library
Archives and Public Records, Records Management Division
1919 W. Jefferson
Phoenix, AZ 85009
Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 6022
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6022