What are Records and Records Management?

What are records?

Records are the means by which information is transmitted from one person to another. They include but are not limited to books, periodicals, correspondence, minutes, files, audiovisual items, maps, diagrams, and computerized data, whether published or unpublished. (Adapted from definitions appearing in Maedke, etc., Information and Records Management, 2d ed., p. 4.)

What is records management?

Records Management includes:

  1. Records Creation: Records are continually created in all General Conference offices. Our records management program can help in effectively managing those administrative and office functions that bring records into existence.
  2. Records Maintenance: Records maintenance means effectively controlling the collection, analysis, classification, arrangement and retrieval of active information and the protection of irreplaceable, mission critical (vital) records. It helps to avoid unnecessarily saving certain kinds of low-value or duplicate records; it encourages the optimum use of filing equipment.
  3. Records Disposition: Records disposition involves proper temporary storage of records that are not frequently needed for reference; the eventual destruction of records that have no lasting historical, administrative, legal, or fiscal value; and the permanent preservation of records that have fulfilled the purpose for which they were created but continue to have significant legal or historical importance.

Records of many kinds accumulate in your office in the course of your work and remain there for reference. But when they are no longer referred to very often, they constitute a storage problem. Space is needed for current records.

What do you do with these older records? Do you box them and stuff them into a closet or storage room to deal with when you have more time? Do you "go through" them trying to eliminate or cull what seems unimportant? Do you consign them all to the shredder? Or do you turn them all over to the Records Center? Records management provides the answers to all these questions. It helps you manage current files effectively and maintain an orderly flow of records from your office to the Records Center.