A pregnant pause

I will be on maternity leave beginning Monday, August 6. When you need assistance with your office records or have a question about the records management policy, please contact Nanci Young in the College Archives at x2970. She will be glad to help you!

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Summer reading

The summer 2007 issue of “The Records Manager,” the official publication of the Society of American Archivists records management roundtable, is now available for viewing and download at:

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Records Managment Policy update

The College’s records management policy was revised earlier this week. Specifically, there is now information under “Financial Records” concerning debt financing records retention. These documents have a 20 year retention period and the Controller is their official custodian.

As always, you can review the records management policy and the records retention schedules at the Records Services section of the College Archives website. Or follow the link in the Pages sidebar on the front page of this blog!

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Hipster records managers?

O.k., so that’s not exactly what the New York Times was writing about in the Style section last Sunday! But A Hipper Crowd of Shushers did highlight the work and play of librarians, our fellow information professionals. Love it or hate it? I think it’s great to see such a positive piece about library professionals out there.

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File plans

Is your filing system easy to understand and use? Do you have a file plan?

This week I’ve been working on documentation to help academic assistants at Smith manage their active records. Right now my top recommendation is to create a file plan. Here’s a great definition of a file plan from the Smithsonian Institution Archives records management team:

A file plan is a written procedure for organizing files based upon a specific system (e.g., alphabetic, numeric, subject, functional, etc.). It provides structure to unorganized or inadequately arranged records for better control, maintenance, and access. A plan provides a broad perspective of unit activities and reflects what and how a unit conducts its business.

So a file plan can be a very simple document that defines how your department keeps its records and what it keeps. Even a simple outline can be very helpful.

Think about the times when you are on vacation, or perhaps out sick or on leave, and someone else has tried to find files in your department’s cabinets. Rather than have them track you down in the tropics, or have them panic until you get back, your file plan could help them find what they need easily and quickly. Phew!

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Electronic Records workshop and ‘trash’ emails

So there was lots to learn at the SAA workshop earlier this week! One of the most interesting activities occurred on Day 2 when colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the Rockefeller Archive Center discussed their collaborative electronic records project. They’re doing wonderful work that will certainly be helpful to the rest of us in the archives and records management community.

I especially liked the documentation that the Smithsonian Institution Archives has created for Smithsonian staff members regarding responsible recordkeeping and electronic records. In fact, here at Smith we may consider adding similar documentation to our existing records management policies in the future.

Here’s the Smithsonian’s advice for handling “trash” emails that you may find helpful:

A good number of email users treat their “Trash” or “Deleted Items” folder as a “just in case I need it” folder rather than email that they intend to delete right away. Instead of using the Trash or Deleted Items folder to keep emails you think you might need later, create a separate folder such as “Hold For Trash” for the emails that you are unsure about.

This provides two benefits:

  1. The chance of accidentally deleting an item is greatly reduced.
  2. The “just in case” emails can be easily archived thus keeping the size of your main email account as low as possible.

When you want to search items that you are keeping “just in case” you can search on that specific folder. Having to select that folder for a search is no different than how you search your current Trash folder.

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Advanced Electronic Records Workshop, 6/25 and 6/26

I’ll be away from campus on Monday and Tuesday to attend the Society of American Archivists’ Advanced Electronic Records workshop. This workshop is being held down the road at our sister school Mount Holyoke College, and is co-sponsored by MHC and the Five College Archivists group. I’m looking forward to learning more about designing and implementing electronic records programs. Full report when I return!

If you need emergency records assistance on Monday or Tuesday, please contact Nanci Young or Debbie Richards in the College Archives. They’ll be glad to help you.

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