Dartmouth College Records Management
Thanks for visiting the Records Management website, and welcome to your important role in managing the vital information of Dartmouth College.
This website is designed for Administrative Assistants and any others whose responsibilities include the management of information and records in an office environment. It is intended to help you work more effectively, both within your office and with the Records Management program.
Although this website will be of most use to your department's designated Records Custodian, it contains information of value to anyone who creates and maintains records. We urge you to share this information widely, with any individuals who may be involved in your record-keeping systems.
Who and what is Records Management?
The Dartmouth College Records Management program was founded in 1985, with the goal of bringing a consistent approach to Dartmouth record keeping practices, freeing up valuable office space from record storage, and ensuring the retention of vital documents. More recently, the program is focused on helping departments make the transition from a paper to a digital information environment. The program has evolved to provide a variety of services to College departments, including:
- Planning, support and conversion assistance for digital recordkeeping
- In-office consulting on record systems
- Inactive records storage and maintenance
- Record retrieval and research request services
- Retention and disposition scheduling
- Secure disposition of outdated material
- Institution-wide guidance on all aspects of record keeping practice
Records Management maintains a commitment to service. The program's charge is to help you and your department to manage your information in a way that best serves your own needs, while protecting you (and the institution) from legal and fiscal liability.
Why use Records Management ?
Records Management is here to serve you! By using Records Management services you can significantly increase the efficiency of your operation, while still maintaining control of and access to your material. Some reasons to use Records Management include:
- You retain ownership of your records - Records Management ensures that you always retain control over your stored records; both paper and digital. All material is managed under the direct guidance of your departmental Records Custodian, and can be accessed and retrieved at any time. When appropriate, access to your records can be limited to designated individuals, thus ensuring confidentiality .
- Space savings - Inactive and low-use paper record storage in active office space is a very inefficient proposition. As record inventories and staffing needs continue to grow, many offices are faced with both limited space and growing record maintenance needs. Moving your inactive and low-use records to the Records Management facility frees up valuable office space for other uses, and frees your staff to do other more pressing tasks. The savings and cost-avoidance can be significant.
- Protection of your records - As in-office storage space dwindles, it is not uncommon to find records being stored under conditions that are not conducive to their proper maintenance. Attics and basements are often hot, humid, dry, or subject to mildew. Locally stored digital records can become inaccessible as technology changes, or media ages. Out of mind stored records can be lost or become inaccessible as staff changes. By contrast, storing your inactive and low-use physical records off-site, in a properly and professionally maintained facility, ensures continuity in the event of a localized disaster. Storing your digital records in the RMS On-Line environment ensures they are protected, backed up, and safe. Proper storage and maintenance of both physical and digital records slows the deterioration of vital historically, legally and fiscally relevant documents, thus providing increased peace of mind.
- Personal and institutional protection - Through consulting with Records Management you ensure that your retention of records is neither too short, nor too long. Records maintained for an insufficient period can constitute a legal and fiscal liability for your department and the College. Records maintained too long can also provide this kind of liability, as well as incurring unnecessary maintenance costs. The Records Management retention scheduling process minimizes these problems.
- Improved access - Inactive records stored on-site are usually poorly organized and cataloged, and in inconvenient locations. In contrast, Records Management catalogs each incoming physical record to the file folder level using a sophisticated computer system. This high degree of automation ensures that Records Management can access and deliver records to you, usually in four to six working hours. This saves research time and the file is delivered directly to your office. Even more importantly, digital records stored on servers and locally have very few dimensions of access. By using metadata, file plans, and keywords with in our digital records environment, information becomes much more accessible, and productivity increases.
- Converting to digital records management - Over the next decade or two, most paper-based record keeping at Dartmouth will convert to digital processes. Along with huge gains is efficiency and productivity, digital record keeping requires planning and expertise that goes far beyond what most offices can be expected to shoulder. By implementing a robust digital records infrastructure, Records Management is committed to helping offices make this transition as seamlessly as possible.
Other than an initial charge to purchase the storage boxes for physical records, using Records Management is free. There are no costs to either pick up or deliver physical records, and no ongoing storage fees (for paper or digital records). Even the secure record disposition service is free.