Guidance and Best Practice

The University of Illinois receives and generates a large amount of information every year in various forms such as paper documents, electronic files, and photographs. Consequently, University offices seek to manage and store this material until its business use expires and can be disposed of or can be transferred to the University Archives.

Most records aren’t kept forever.  Typically, less than 5 percent of a unit’s records have enduring historical value. When a record is created, it goes through a life cycle of use, retention, appraisal, and disposition.  The Illinois State Records Act requires that State approval is received prior to disposing of University Records. Conversely, the University also receives and generates many Non-Record materials which do not require State approval prior to disposal.

The key to better information management is to make it part of an ongoing business process so that records are properly stored, transferred, and disposed of as a normal course of business, not when space runs out or when staff retires. Doing so will reduce the costs and burdens caused by systems or space limitations and by staff turn-over.