A quick review of university records management websites

Here’s a PDF listing 22 university records management websites that people might find useful. Titles and section headings are listed to provide an indication of how the universities organise records management issues. Relevant staff titles are shown, where these are available, and an indication or best guess of where this work fits in the organisation structure is also shown in the table.

I’d been asked by the university I currently work for asked me to draft a records management framework for them. (They are at an early stage in the formal development of their records management practices: they lack of a formalised record keeping culture, have no professional support function for records management, and have a number of different file stores in place, leading to confusion about how to store and publish information.)

As well as looking for the standards and legislation in this area, I felt a good place to start would be to look for some best practice across the HE sector. Whilst this quick search of university websites is obviously not authoritative or exhaustive research, several points emerge.

  1. The majority of departments grouped the same three elements together; freedom of information, data protection, and records management.
  2. The majority had made public their records management policy, and most published their records retention schedule.
  3. There was little variation in the format and content of the records management policies, with the same structures and phrases reoccurring. Most of the content seems to come directly from the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice for Records Management and the International Records Management Trust.
  4. There was a similar standard approach to records retention schedules, with the majority being based on the JISC model. This generic model provides statutory and recommended retention periods for records produced by HEI activities.
  5. Excellent examples of training materials were found, including fact sheets and practical advice.
  6. As is typical for the university sector, departments consisting of similar functions are called a variety of different names, from ‘Records Management’ and ‘Information Compliance’ to ‘Information Management & Policy Services’ and ‘Corporate Records Unit and Archives’, depending on the breadth and mix of work undertaken.
  7. The same variety was seen with titles of staff roles within the universities, for example Records Manager, Information Rights Officer, Information Compliance Officer, Information and Data Protection Manager, Archivist & Corporate Records Manager.
  8. The records management departments typically fell into central organisational units such as Central Secretariat, Registry, VC’s Office etc. Of the 22 listed below, two seemed to be within Library/Learning Resources areas, and one within an IT setting.

It will be interesting to see how this function develops here.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.