Records Management

Arizona State University recognizes the need to effectively manage its complex enterprise while at the same time preserving its history. The university’s Records Management program establishes the processes to manage the retention and disposition of its records to comply with laws and regulation, document management decisions, provide historical references to events and transactions, and preserve the university’s institutional history. These are accomplished by optimizing the use of space and minimizing the overall cost of record retention.

It is the responsibility of every university department to maintain the university’s records with the relevant record retention schedules.

Occasionally, the Office of General Counsel may issue a Notice to Preserve Evidence to the academic unit, department or specific employees because of claims or threatened litigation. Such notices to preserve evidence takes precedence over any existing retention schedule. Contact the Office of General Counsel with questions.


Arizona State law requires the university to establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of the university’s public records. Records should not be destroyed, removed or disposed of, except as provided by law, rule or policy. Records should be archived or disposed of by following the university’s disposition requirements after the retention period, subject to the exceptions stated regarding retention for audit and litigation purposes. The accountable administrator for each college or unit is responsible for ensuring that employees identify and retain records with the established records retention criteria.

If you believe your department has records of permanent historical or research value, contact the university archivist for assistance.

Roles and responsibilities

Role Description
Accountable Administrator

The dean or vice president of each unit, or their designee, responsible for ensuring their unit complies with the Records Management program.

The accountable administrator, or their designee, is responsible for being aware and understanding the Records Management program. They identify the records to be retained and the period of retention based on the defined retention schedules, proper storage of the record. They also handle the disposition of the records following the defined disposition process and applicable retention schedule.

Record Officer

The university’s designated individual will manage the record management program and act as liaison to the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

They are responsible for assessing changes to the LAPR program and implementing relevant items to the ASU Records Management Program, including necessary communication and coordination efforts with accountable administrators. This individual acts as a resource to the colleges and units for record retention requirements. They also are responsible for facilitating annual certificate of destruction from accountable administrators, which are consolidated for required reporting to LAPR. The record officer is responsible for reviewing current general and custom schedules for applicability and coordinating any necessary updates at least every two years or as needed.

University Archivist

Document the history and evolution of Arizona State University from 1885 to the present day. University Archives works to acquire, preserve and make public the historical records of the university, including publications, administrative records, manuscripts, theses and dissertations, photographs and negatives, video and audio recordings, oral histories and news-clipping files.

University Employee

Every university employee is responsible for complying with his or her department’s records management plan.

Records and retention schedules

Records are defined as either official records or convenience records. The Record Management Program applies to official records.

Official records are:

  • Records that have the quality of establishing some fact, policy or institutional position or decision.
  • Subject to the records retention requirements included in the record retention schedules, general or custom.
  • The single official copy of a document maintained on file by an administrative unit of the university is usually — but not always — the original.

Convenience records are:

  • Duplicate copies of official records.
  • Extra copies of documents or records created or preserved for convenient access and reference, including computer backups and duplicate computer files.
  • Miscellaneous correspondence without official significance.
  • Records that do not carry a requirement for retention.
  • Versions of drafts or reports, memos, letters, messages or communications used to develop the final official document.

Destroy convenience records when they cease to be useful.

Both official and convenience records may contain confidential information. Confidential information is information of various sorts that the university receives and holds confidential by the lawful custodian of the records or by another person authorized to release such information. University employees should determine if records contain confidential information and maintain and dispose of them accordingly.

Retention schedules

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records has implemented 50 general retention schedules to guide retention efforts. In addition, ASU has implemented multiple custom schedules.

Retention schedules may apply to all general or administrative functions or may be directed towards a specific function. All ASU departments must meet audit requirements.

The Consolidated Record Retention schedule provides a consolidated listing of the retention schedules and related record series most likely relevant to Arizona State University.

Included in the schedule are:

  • Defined retention period and remarks.
  • Legal citations.
  • Record series number.
  • Record series title.
  • Record series description.
  • Schedule number.
  • Schedule name.
  • The function the record applies to.
  • The type of schedule — general or custom.

This schedule will be reviewed and updated annually by the records officer. However, final disposition actions must be confirmed against the official record retention schedules maintained by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

Record storage

Departments must protect and preserve official records in all formats, including paper, digital, microfiche and film. This involves carefully protecting and preserving the records from deterioration, mutilation, loss or destruction. This also includes ensuring the security and privacy of records to maintain the authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness of records. Specifically, records should be safely stored to prevent vandalism, theft and accidental or intentional disposal, deletion or destruction.

Records may be temporarily stored within the department, the ASU Surplus Property document storage warehouse or the LAPR storage facility; see Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records for requirements related to this.

Records stored at ASU Surplus Property must be kept in a standard size storage box. Departments can purchase the boxes at Staples via Workday, part number 33250. The following record information must be included: department, department contact, record series, description of records, dates of records and planned destruction date. ASU Surplus Property will enter the record into their record inventory system, including notifying the department when records are coming due for destruction.

Departments may implement a program storing official documents in media and imaging solutions as the official record. LAPR must approve this before undertaking the project through the Imaging Request process. The LAPR will assess the type of records being produced or reproduced, method of production, equipment and software involved and the destruction process. Contact the ASU records officer for additional details.

Record disposition

The accountable administrator is responsible for implementing processes to track record inventories and arrange for secure destruction of records when the authorized retention period has expired. Retention periods are defined in the general and customer retention schedules for the university.

When records are identified that are eligible for final disposition according to the general and custom retention schedules, the accountable administrator must submit a Certificate of Records Destruction Form to the records officer to review and approve before destruction. The records officer will consolidate the information for the university to submit to the LAPR annually.

Departments must utilize safe destruction methods.

Type Method

The most desirable method of destruction for non-confidential records is recycling. For confidential records destruction, use the following methods: shredding, pulping or macerating.

Confidential records destruction service should be performed through in-house shredding, the State Records Center or a vendor certified by the National Association for Information Destruction.


Microforms consist of microfilm or microfiche. Microforms may be shredded, but if silver masters or dupes exist, they may first go through the silver recovery process. For confidential records destruction, use shredding or silver recovery.


Electronic records are commonly found in hard drives, handheld and mobile computing devices, network devices, copy or fax machines, USB removable devices, CDs and optical discs. Before disposing of them, determine if data sanitizing is required, which may involve shredding, degaussing, overwriting or drilling.


PUR 205: Disposal and Sale of ASU Surplus Property provides additional guidance on the disposing of electronic records.