What do you do when you have a large number of physical and digital records in your care? We have developed several options and procedures to help departments properly maintain and dispose of their records. The available methods depend upon the type of record (physical or digital) as well as the contents of the record. See below for information on how to properly store, preserve, and destroy your records.
Storage for Non-Permanent Physical Records
There are two storage options for non-permanent records that are not yet eligible for destruction.
- Storage within your department.
- Storage offsite at Iron Mountain.
Storing materials that are accessed frequently within your department is generally preferable, since you can access them at your convenience without having to wait for them to be delivered. It also gives you full control over your materials. For information about properly storing your records in your department, view our guidelines for maintaining records.
Storing records offsite at Iron Mountain can be beneficial if you have a large number of materials that cannot yet be destroyed according to the Records Retention and Disposition Schedules but are not accessed frequently. This reduces the amount of space dedicated to records in your office but still allows them to be accessible within a reasonable amount of time. View our instructions for sending records to Iron Mountain as well as our instructions for retrieving records from Iron Mountain for more information about offsite storage.
Storage & Preservation of Permanent Physical Records
Permanent records can be stored within your department when they are being used frequently by staff, faculty, and/or students. This allows you to access them quickly when you need them without having to wait for them to be delivered from the archives. For information about properly storing your records in your department, view our guidelines for maintaining records.
When permanent records have met their retention period for storage within your department, they can be sent to the archives. For more information on how to send your permanent records to the archives, view our archival records transfer guidelines. Once received by the archives staff, the records will be properly preserved using archival quality folders, boxes, and storage areas so that they will be accessible into the future.
Destruction of Paper Records
Non-permanent paper records that have been maintained for the total length of time mandated by the retention schedules can be destroyed. This usually means confidential destruction. Archives staff members can order Iron Mountain shredding bins to be delivered to departments, which can then be loaded with the records ready for shredding. Iron Mountain will shred the records in a secure manner so that no confidential information is exposed. View our instructions for shredding records through Iron Mountain if you would like to learn more about this service.
A select number of physical records containing no confidential information can be placed in recycling bins, but the preferred method of destruction is confidential shredding. If you have any questions regarding how to destroy your records please records_management [at] emerson.edu (contact the records management team)target="_blank" title="Email the Records Management Team".
Storage of Digital Records
Digital records should be stored within your department until they are eligible for archiving or destruction according to the Records Retention and Disposition Schedules.
Some general tips for storing digital records include:
- Records should be stored on encrypted and password protected Emerson devices. Never store College records on personal devices. If you access your email or College storage through a web interface on a personal device, do not download it to the local device.
- Records should be stored in accordance with the Data Governance Policy’s storage requirements.
- Store your files in a logical and consistent file structure. Be careful and deliberate with whom you share files and folders.
For more information about storing, protecting, and filing digital records, view our guidelines for maintaining records.
Destruction of Non-Permanent Digital Records
Non-permanent digital records that have been maintained for the total length of time mandated by the retention schedules must be destroyed. This includes records stored in third party systems employed by College departments and offices. For information on conducting records reviews to determine destruction eligibility, please see the Recordkeeping Requirements page.
Typically, employees destroying individual records should delete the item (or add it to the storage system’s trash bin), and then empty the trash to permanently delete the records. Below are disposal methods for specific storage systems:
- For disposing of records from Emerson Gmail, add the record(s) to the trash. Empty the trash or the records will stay there for 30 days before being permanently deleted from the system.
- For disposing of records in Emerson Google Drive, add the record(s) to the trash. Empty the trash to permanently delete the records.
Digital records stored in third party systems must be disposed of or erased in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93I.
The records management team can order media bins from Iron Mountain, which are used for the offsite destruction of CDs, DVDs, and other smaller media/drives (such as thumb drives). View our instructions for destroying media through Iron Mountain for more information.
You may also contact the IT department regarding Emerson College devices needing to be wiped of memory entirely and/or recycled.
Preservation of Permanent Digital Records
Permanent digital records should be stored within your department, including on your work computer or in Google Drive. This ensures quick and easy access to your materials. Once they have met their retention period for storage within your department, you can transfer them to the archives where they will be preserved according to current archival best practices. To transfer your permanent digital records to the Archives, please follow our digital records transfer instructions.