Developing a Records Retention Schedule

Records Management at The Baltimore Museum of Art
 Linda Tompkins-Baldwin, Library Director
 Emily Rafferty, Associate Librarian & Archivist
 Anna Clarkson, Project Archivist
 Graham Andrews, Graduate Student
Presentation Key Points
• Timeline
• Benefits of Records Management
• Developing a Records Schedule
• Records Management System
• Records Center
• Archives
• Training & Outreach
• 1914 – Baltimore Museum of Art established
– individual departments responsible for maintaining records
• 1999 – new library staff added focus to archives
– space allocated for archives & manuscripts
– rehoused collections
• 2000 – basement emptied
– committee identified records with archival potential
– records moved to climate controlled, restricted area in
• 2000 – Library staff member designated as BMA
established policies & procedures
worked to educate staff about the importance of archives
• 2010 – Applied for NHPRC start-up grant which
included the development of a Records Retention
• 2011 – Awarded NHPRC Grant
• 2012 – Records Retention Schedule completed
Benefits of Records Management
 Control the creation and growth of records
 Reduce operating costs
 Improve efficiency and productivity
 Ensure regulatory compliance
 Minimize litigation risks
 Safeguard vital information
 Support better management decision making
 Preserve corporate memory
 Foster professionalism
 Assimilate new records management technologies
A good retention schedule tells…
 Who is responsible for the record
 Disposition – keep in office, destroy, transfer to
Records Center or Archives
 How long to keep
 How to properly dispose of records
Records Retention Schedule
Our retention schedule is based on….
 Legal guidelines
 Established museum practices
 Society of American Archivists Code of Ethics
 Society of American Archivists Standards for Access
to Research Materials in Archival and Manuscripts
 Needs of BMA staff & researchers
Records Interviews
• Develop a questionnaire form
Sample Forms for Archival & Records Management
Programs co-published by ARMA & SAA
 Schedule 2 hour blocks of time with staff
 Enter information into a database or spreadsheet
Records Interviews
 Interviews held with over 100 staff members to
inventory & discuss their records
 Nearly 600 unique records series identified
 Preliminary records retention schedule compiled
 Records retention schedule reviewed with key
stakeholders & adjusted as needed
Records Retention Schedule
 Decide on functional vs. departmental schedule
 Identify common types of records found throughout
multiple offices for General Records Schedule
 Identify duplicate records and assign an “office of
 Set retention periods based on legal, fiscal,
administrative, and historical criteria
 Review with staff and legal counsel if possible
Federal Government
 Statutes are enacted by United States Congress. Federal regulations are
issued by the various federal administrative agencies charged with
interpreting and implementing these statutes.
 Both federal statutes and regulations are enforceable
 Federal
 United States Code aka “USC” (Statutes)
 Code of Federal Regulations aka “CFR” (Regulations)
 GRMpedia, Legal Knowledge Base Subscription $$
State of Maryland
 The General Assembly writes laws (Annotated Code
of Maryland) and the State Executive Departments
and Administrative Agencies write regulations
(COMAR) to implement the authority of the laws.
 Both statutes and regulations are enforceable.
 State Regulations (Maryland)
Annotated Code of Maryland (Statutes)
Code of Maryland Regulations aka “COMAR” (Regulations)
Helpful Tips
• Ask your staff:
– What laws are they aware of that effect their records?
– What licenses are they charged with renewing?
– What kind of government inspections have been performed in the past?
• Keyword Searches for Gov. Law Sites
– “record keeping”
– “retain for”
– “years”
• Call government agencies directly
• Search all agencies’ statutes and regulations to determine if
they effect your institution
• Attend workshops and classes held by Government
• Amnesty programs
Benchmark against others
 Collect examples of similar institutions’ records
retention schedules
Look at structure and organization
Compare their records against yours
Take their retention periods “with a grain of salt”
 Collect examples of good fact-based schedules
 University of Florida Records Management Listserv,
 ARMA’s Policy Brief emails
 Consult with professionals in your field directly
Negotiate with Staff
 Provide legal statutes as back up
 Provide examples from other institutions as back up
 Offer to lend assistance
 Set up inter-departmental meetings for issues that
effect many
Let staff know that you are on “their” side and have
same goals
Explain Librarians’ and Archivists’ code of ethics
Cater to different types of personalities
Play “hardball” as a last resort
Some things to consider
 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
 Requirements of Insurance Companies
 Requirements of Granting Agencies
 Statute of Limitations in your state for contract
 Always check both Federal & State Laws
In some instances state laws are more stringent than federal
Wordpress in two'ish
Basic technical question
 How do we take the schedule, which is essentially a
series of alphanumeric entries separated by commas,
and make it not only presentable to end-users but
decently interactive with library staff?
...and how do we do this for free?
...and make it not a huge technical headache for
Wordpress CMS
 Primarily known as a blogging software, but it's:free
 open-source
 robustly maintained
 most importantly: has a large library of plugins and
extensions that can transform it into essentially
whatever website one envisions.
Screenshot from Admin Panel
Records Center
 Records Center: A
facility maintained and
operated for storage of
inactive temporal records
which need to be preserved
for varying periods of time
before their eventual
 BMA Records Center:
Located within Warehouse
Locked rooms with limited
Unique shelving locations for
each box
BMA Records
Transferred to
the Archives
Archives: A work in progress
Cooperation with Records Creators
 Records creators know …
 What to keep and for how long
 What to weed before sending materials to the Archives
 Records are being cared for
 Records can be easily located & retrieved
 Archives provides public access when appropriate
 Confidential records will be kept closed
Impact on Archives
 Confidence that important records are being
 Better understanding of BMA’s records & how they
relate to each other
 Determine if we have relevant materials & locate
them promptly
 Facilitates processing:
Identify and weed materials quickly
Cut down on transfer of duplicates
Disposition determined by Retention Schedule
Archives vs. Records Center Workflow
Records Center
 Create accession record
 Create accession record
in Archives section of
Archivists’ Toolkit
 Put the material in line
for processing
in Records Center of
Archivists’ Toolkit
 Assign the appropriate
destruction date and a
location in the RC
 Physically move the
box to the RC
Archives Accession Record
Records Center Accession Record
Sorting by Destruction Date
 Records Management Policy
 Records created by staff as a part of their job belong to the
 Staff must review and follow their Departmental Retention
Schedule and the General Schedule.
 In case of litigation or investigation, all relevant records will be
retained and any scheduled records destruction will be
 Access Policy
 Addresses what kind of records are open and to whom.
 In general, records are closed 10 years from date of creation.
Procedures and Forms
 Created procedures documents and forms to help
staff know how to transfer to Archives and Records
Separate transfer procedures for permanent paper records,
electronic records, and the Records Center
Simple instructions with screen shots
Used Adobe Acrobat to make professional interactive forms
How are we doing compared to other museums?
 Excellently
Approximately 50% of museums do not have a records retention program
Of those, approximately 75% of them are outdated
BMA fares extremely well when benchmarked against similar institutions
BMA currently advising
 Johns Hopkins University
 Hammer Art Museum
Records Management system receiving extremely favorable feedback and
may serve as a model for other institutions
Private Internet group created to foster
Ongoing dialog with other museum records managers
Training & Outreach
 Training & outreach to be held in accordance with
NHPRC requirements
 2013
Professional Presentations
Staff Training
Brown bag lunches
 Video Tutorials
Publicity – Prepare Materials for PR & Marketing
 Blogs
 Press releases
 Graham Andrews
 Suzy Hill
 Gabriel Barr
 Max Matsuda Hirata
 Anita Carrico
 Daegan Hosler
 Joy Davis
 Judy Katz
 Theresa DeMario
 Becca Pad
 Ginny Forni
 Caitlan Salin
 Kenna Forsyth
 Lindsay Wilson
Contact Information
 (password protected)
 [email protected]
 (443) 573-1778
 Linda Tompkins-Baldwin, Library Director
 Emily Rafferty, Associate Librarian & Archivist
 Anna Clarkson, Project Archivist

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