Recommended Filing System

  1. File distinct series or types of records separately. For example: file correspondence in one drawer, directory, or alphabetized section; minutes in another; financial records in a third; and reference or subject files in a fourth. Each of these series will have a different "life cycle" or retention period in your office. Having distinct series will make it easier to pull out those series ready to be sent to the Records Center or destroyed.
  2. At the beginning of each year, start new files for correspondence, minutes, and other annual records, transferring the past year's files to another drawer and removing the oldest year's files to be transferred to the Records Center.

    For electronic records, copy your yearly correspondence to floppy disks, zip disks, or a CD and send the disks to the Records Center. Please send your records to the Records Center in ONLY one form. Do not send both paper and electronic records. We will keep only one set of records.
  3. File organizational correspondence by organization, not by the correspondent's name. File personal letters by the correspondent's name.
  4. Different types of correspondence--institutional, departmental, non-workers--can be filed in one large alphabet. Each type can be easily differentiated by using different color tabs and tab positions. For example, correspondence with overseas divisions could be filed using pink tabs in the center of the drawer. Next to these could be General Conference departments using blue tabs. On the left could be miscellaneous correspondence using alphabet tabs, and so forth. A similar effect can be achieved by using directories and subdirectories in your word processing program.
  5. If an item is temporary, mark it for later destruction upon receipt or filing. This can be done by using some type of stamping device or other type of flag. Do not put yourself in the position of having to separate "permanent" records from "ephemeral" or temporary records at some future time, when you or someone else will have to restudy the whole file. Separate or mark each record at the time it is produced or filed, while it is still fresh in your mind.

    It is easier and less time consuming to file "temporary" electronic records in a separate directory. If you have not already done this and the temporary files are small, it is more efficient to send all your electronic files to the Records Center.
  6. Certain records, such as correspondence or minutes, can be transferred to the records center after only a couple of years. Subject or reference files should not be transferred until the topic is no longer current and the folder is not needed for reference. File record series with annual cut-off dates separately from those with indefinite cut-offs. This will minimize or eliminate sorting and revamping files at the time some records are transferred to the Records Center.

    Since electronic records such as correspondence are copied to a disk and the original file remains on your hard drive, you can send the disk(s) containing the "archived" copy of your correspondence to the Records Center after the first of the year. When it is no longer necessary to frequently refer to the older correspondence it may be deleted from your hard drive.

    DO NOT delete older correspondence without first establishing that a backup or "archived" copy exists.

    The Records Center must have certain information in order to be able to retrieve your electronic files. We must know the office of origin, the format of the file (i.e. WordPerfect, Word, etc.; we recommend saving files in their original or "native" format), and the date the file(s) was created.
  7. Hanging folders are an efficient and appropriate way to file records in your office. However, when sending files to the Records Center their contents MUST BE TRANSFERRED TO MANILA FOLDERS (accordion folders or "file pockets" are acceptable for large files) that are to be clearly labeled with a ballpoint pen or pencil (other markers may run or bleed). Computer generated labels containing bar codes are also acceptable. Files received in hanging folders WILL be returned.