Records Management at Georgia State University is housed within the Office of the Registrar. Our purpose is to assist university departments with records management issues, including records retention, records holding and storage, confidential records access, and records disposition.
For transcript requests, go to PAWS. To review or change academic records go to Student Records.
Our goal is to provide quality Records Management services while complying with ethical and legal guidelines to the staff, faculty, students, former students and others in a spirit of accuracy and excellence. We meet this goal through dedication, responsibility, understanding and caring.
- Use the University System of Georgia’s Records Retention Guidelines to help identify your records.
- The Glossary of Records Management Terms will help you better understand Records Management guidelines.
- Conduct a records inventory of your office and organize your records.
- Identify records retention and disposition requirements.
- Classify your records: active, inactive or vital.
- Break files regularly (for example: each semester, quarterly, yearly, etc. as needed) and separate active from inactive and store inactive files.
- Confer with the University Archivist to determine if your files have long-term informational, evidential, historical, or administrative value. These records must be preserved. See the following online examples.
- Identify vital records and duplicate vital records off-site. Inactive vital records, and files with long-term value, may be housed in the University Archives. Contact the University Archivist, Laurel Bowen for more information at 404-413-2887 or email@example.com.
- The Departmental Records Disposition form may be used as a tool to assist departments in calculating the disposition dates of records, in locating records and as an approval form for disposition and destruction of departmental records. The form should be housed within the department.
Due to space and budget constraints, the University Records Management Office provides minimal holding space for inactive records, therefore university departments are responsible for the storage, transfer and/or destruction of their own inactive records in accordance with the law and the university’s policies, procedures and records management program.
Georgia State University Archives
As the official repository for records created by Georgia State University, the Georgia State University Archives provides secure storage for inactive records in any format that are of vital, historic, or long-term value to the university. For more information on what to transfer and how to do it, please view Transferring Records online or contact Laurel Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State of Georgia Archives
The State of Georgia Archives located South of Atlanta will store backup copies of inactive, (permanent) vital records in electronic or microform format, with prior approval (having met approved retention guidelines). Be sure that University Archives has received a copy of these records before sending backup copies off-site. Contact James Strickland for more information at 404-413-2236 or via email at email@example.com.
State of Georgia Records Center
For a minimal fee and with prior approval, the State Records Center may provide temporary secure storage and retrieval for inactive records (of non-permanent or non-historic value) having an approved retention period.
Records Disposition Procedures
- When your active records are no longer accessed on a regular basis, they become inactive. The head of the university office that created and maintains these records makes this determination. If necessary, for the sake of space, inactive records may be moved to a storage area within your department.
- Consult with the University Archivist (firstname.lastname@example.org), who determines if the inactive records have long-term information, research, historic, or administrative value. If they do, or if they are vital records, they should be sent to University Archives.
- Confer with the University Records Management Officer (email@example.com), who determines if inactive records have met their retention period (kept the minimum number of years required by the U.S.G guidelines.
- If your inactive records have not yet been kept for the required minimum years but have an approved retention period (and are NOT vital records or records of long-term value), they or may be sent to the State Records Center for a fee.
- Inactive records that have met their retention period and are NOT vital records or records of long-term value may be destroyed (shredded, for example) upon written approval from your department head, the University Records Management Officer, and the University Archivist. Download the Departmental Records Disposition form [PDF].
The University System of Georgia’s Records Retention Schedules are a set of instructions for the disposition of records that includes how long a record should be kept, based on federal and state laws and (often) other considerations. See Records Retention Guidelines below.
University System of Georgia Retention Series and Record Retention Guidelines
The University System of Georgia’s Records Retention Series and Record Retention Guidelines should be used to determine the MINIMUM period that your records must be retained and can be found online. The schedule is broken down by category (i.e. Human Resources) and then by series (class).
Georgia State University Retention Guidelines
If your department is unable to locate a record within the University System of Georgia Retention Series or you feel it necessary to keep your records longer than the approved guidelines, please contact James Strickland in the Records Management Office at 404-413-2236 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that official records of the same series type created and held across the university should meet the same retention guidelines. In addition, duplicate record copies should not be held longer than the official record.
Note: Before you attempt to access records, read and complete the Information Security Awareness Course for Georgia State Employees.
Personal Cubicles & Offices
- Keep confidential information off of your desk and work area, unless you’re working with them, especially in medium to high traffic areas.
- Private offices should be locked when unattended and/or all confidential information should be locked in file cabinets &/or in desk drawers.
- When meeting with students or guests, remove all confidential information from sight – preferably locked up, in case you need to step away for a moment.
- Use small (crosscut) shredders for shredding any notes, photocopies, printouts or other unneeded documents containing confidential information. NEVER THROW CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IN TRASH CANS.
- Use lockable file cabinets or shelving units.
- If possible, have a secured folder room with controlled access.
- Use an out card system to keep track of folders as they are removed from file cabinets. Include the file name, the date taken and the person taking the file.
- The processing section of the office (containing confidential information) should have secure keypad entry for staff & faculty use only. Visitors should only be allowed in the secured area with an escort.
- If keypad entry is the main entry into your office, keyed deadbolt locks should be used after hours or when the office is unattended.
- Keep an office shredder (crosscut only) by office copiers and/or shared printers for shredding misprinted copies with confidential information.
- For large quantities of confidential documents, microfiche, computer disks, etc., contact a shredding company that provides on-site confidential shredding. (Have a staff member or student assistant, watch the process, making sure all documents are shredded on site.) Locked containers can be left in your office, with prearranged pick-ups with a signed contract with the vendor.
Basic Tips for Electronic Records Security
- Do not place confidential information on the subject line of an e-mail.
- Place privacy screens on computer monitors to avoid easy viewing by others.
- Use password protection on all computers.
- Confidential information should be stored on university network servers, never on personal hard drives or computer desktops.
- All computer equipment should be locked down.
See the IS&T Security site for more detailed information on computer security awareness.
According to the Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-70), public records are “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer-based or generated information or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation or a public office or agency.”
The Georgia Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-90) defines “records” as “ all documents, papers, letters, maps, books (except books in formally organized libraries), microfilm, magnetic tape, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in performance of functions by any agency.” Notice that documents or files on a computer can also be records.
Records produced or received by any agency or employee of the University in the transaction of University business become University property. Records having permanent or long-term value must NOT be destroyed. Records of temporary value can only be destroyed in accordance with the records management program.
The Georgia Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-90) defines a vital record as “any record vital to the resumption or continuation of operations, or both; to the re-creation of the legal and financial status of government in the state; or to the protection and fulfillment of obligations to citizens of the state.”
Records management provides a step-by-step process for controlling records (regardless of storage media) from creation (or receipt) to end. It includes processing, distribution, use, retrieval, maintenance and disposition. The policies and procedures used in regulating these processes is a records management program.
It is important that we here at Georgia State strive continuously to meet the records retention requirements set forth by the University System of Georgia and the University. We need to meet these requirements in order to carry forth in complying with federal and state regulations and in meeting the requirements of our accrediting bodies.
Each department should have one person designated as the Records Management Coordinator to oversee the management of the department’s records. This individual should work closely with the department head, as well as the University Records Management Officer, the University Archivist, the University Legal Affairs Office and IS&T in carrying out Records Management policies and procedures.