What is a Records Center?

What is a Records Center?

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Information contained in our organization's records is an asset that is important to our business objectives. How we manage our records is governed by our records and information management (RIM) policies, which are designed to protect the integrity of the information. One of our RIM policies is a retention schedule that defines what records must be kept, where, and for how long.

Records that are consulted routinely in the daily performance of work are called the "active" records and are kept near our work areas. Those records that are accessed only occasionally for reference or to meet audit or legal obligations are called "inactive" records and are housed in a arecords center that is location in less expensive space that is set up for maximum storage efficiency.

...records that are accessed only occasionally for reference or to meet audit or legal obligations are called "inactive" records and housed in a records center.

What are the benefits of using a records center?

The records center provides safe and environmentally controlled security for our inactive records for as long as their retention is required. Procedures are established to ensure that when a record is needed, it can be easily located, retrieved, used, and then safely returned to storage. When a record's retention is no longer required, the records center staff follows correct disposition procedures for that record. Using the records center:

  • Provides maximum efficiency and use of space- five times as many records can be stored per square foot in a records center as in equivalent office space
  • Provides orderly arrangement and control of records
  • Employs procedures that ensure prompt and efficient handling of records, including fast and easy box and folder retrieval
  • Provides physical security and protection against damage or destruction due to natural or other disasters
  • Protects confidential records from unauthorized access
  • Provides systematic legal disposition of records that have reached the end of their retention period
  • Ensures that records are destroyed only with appropriate authorization

How does the records center operate?

Established procedures are in place to maintain intellectual and physical control at all times. Forms and logs are used to keep track of:

  • The storage location assigned to each box
  • Authorized access to the records
  • Records retrieved for reference and returned for re-filing
  • Records that have reached the end of their retention period and are ready for destruction
  • Records that are destroyed and the date and the manner in which records have been destroyed

How can I send records to the records center?

First, you must consult your records retention schedule to determine if the documents you no longer need in your work area should be sent to the records center or to the archives, or if they may be destroyed. A records transfer form must be completed for those that are to be sent to the records center or the archives, and a records destruction authorization form must be completed for those to be destroyed. Contact records management staff if you need assistance in determining what to do with these documents, how to pack them, or how to fill out a records transfer or destruction authorization form.

How can I retrieve records from the records center?

You must complete a retrieval request form, which requires basic information such as the following:

  • Date and time of request
  • Date and time that items are needed
  • Box/file numbers
  • Your name, your department name, the name of the person to receive the record, and the location and method of the delivery.

You may be able to view the file at the records center, or the records center can deliver information in the following formats:

  • Entire boxes
  • Individual files
  • Individual documents
  • Verbal confirmation of information
  • Faxed file(s)/document(s)

How long can I keep the records I requested?

Generally, records are checked out of the records center for no more than a few weeks; the period of time will depend on the value of the record and will be communicated to you when the records are provided. If necessary, a reminder notice will be sent or a phone call made to prompt you to gather the boxes/files for return to the records center.

What else do I need to know?

Employees have a personal responsibility for the management and use of our organization's records. You will receive training about records center forms, policies, and procedures to ensure that you know how properly to use the records center and access its services.