Records Production and Management

Shared Drive Organization

Directory Structure

  • Any 3 or more files need a system
  • Structure your directory in terms of records series
    • A series is composed of similar records arranged in a consistent pattern within which each of the records has its proper place.  The pattern may be a simple one – alphabetical, numerical, or chronological – or a complex one, as, for example, annual reports arranged first by years, then by States, and then by counties within States.
  • Create a hierarchy of folders and subsequent sub-folders for each records series

Example of Directory Structure


File Naming 

  • Be unique, specific, and consistent
  • Limit the character length -- no more than 25-35 characters
  • Use leading 0s to facilitate sorting in numerical order 
  • Use a period followed by the file extension 
  • Use lowercase letters. If a name has more than one word, start each word with an uppercase letter 
  • Use numbers and/or letters NO special characters (#$@*^&+)
  • Use underscores instead of spaces
  • Use international standard date notation
  • Avoid an overly complex or lengthy naming scheme 
  • Could a stranger look at your file names and make some sense of it? Will future you be able to do the same?
  • Proper File Naming Examples:
    • finance_FY21Budget_v03_20180701.xlsx
    • RM_AccessPolicy_v01_20181011.docx

Digital Records

To best manage digital records; keep in mind the following points:

  • Departmental file plans should serve as a basis for the classification of electronic records. 
  • All official digital records should move off of individual workstations, and onto a controlled document repository that is shared by the department.  
  • Ensure duplicates and drafts are disposed along with their master documents.
  • If a document on paper has been disposed according to an approved retention schedule, yet the original electronic version of that document remains on computer media, the College is in violation of approved policy, and may be in a position of legal liability. 
  • E-mail messages may be subject to discovery in any litigation. Most e-mail is very transient in nature, and should be disposed as soon as it no longer serves any clear purpose. E-mail with record value should be moved out of the e-mail repository and into a controlled repository.
  • Records in electronic formats may quickly become unusable due to changing hardware and software standards. If electronic documents require retention beyond three years, a strategy must be in place to migrate that data forward.
  • Policies should be established that determine when and how a document becomes a record, and preserves version snapshots when appropriate.
  • To ensure that your electronic documents are protected, backup is not optional. It is essential!  

All of these issues can feel daunting! But the good news is that tools are emerging to help users classify, manage, retain and dispose their digital records with the same care and attention we have provided for paper files. If you need assistance or have questions on how to best manage your digital records, contact Records Management.