All things must come to an end. A record begins when it was being created. While it is alive, it will be search upon, referred to and even used. After “some time”, it will end with it being “disposed off”.
The “some time” is known as the retention period where the record must be kept alive. This can be specified in the Record Management System. The “disposed off” is the action to be taken to end the life of the record. The retention period and disposal action made up the Retention Schedule for the record. The retention schedule is usually developed together with the File Classification Plan.
Disposal of the record should be done in the normal course of business. However, records relating to a lawsuit or other legal process that has commenced or is like to commence must be preserved from destruction. These functions are also availabe in some Document Management System. Electronic Archiving includes the following stages:-
- Develop / Review Retention Schedule
- Retention Period and Disposition Action are being identified.
- Appraisal of Records
- Retention Schedule is being review by authority or senior management where approval is obtained.
- Disposition of Records
- Records after their retention schedule off are either destroyed, transferred or microfilmed for long term preservation.