SPEC Kit 305: Records Management (August 2008)
This SPEC Kit explores the state of records management in ARL member institutions.
The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2008. Sixty-two libraries completed the survey for a response rate of 50%. Of those 62, 41 (66%) have records management programs. Three have had programs, but no longer have them. One of these began at an unknown time and ended in 1993; one existed for only five years, between 1991 and 1996; a third ended in 2003 after thirty-eight years of operation.
At the majority of responding institutions (25 or 61%) records management duties are located in a library unit. They are the responsibility of special collections in twelve institutions (29%); archives units that are part of the library system but not part of the special collections library or department in five cases (12%); and another library unit or department in 10 cases (24%). Records management is the responsibility of an archives unit that is not part of the library system in five cases (12%) and of some other non-library unit or department in 11 cases (27%).
The survey results also show which staff manage records and how much time they spend on this activity; how staff are trained; who pays for records management; who makes policy decisions; what types of materials are included; where these materials are stored; procedures for adding and discarding materials; who may retrieve records from storage; and more.
This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of records management unit Web pages, policies, retention schedules, job descriptions, transfer, retrieval, and destruction forms, and management of electronic records.