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Records Management


Q. What law defines a Record?

A.  NDCC 54-46-02 defines a record as "A document, book, paper, photograph, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law in connection with the transaction of official business."

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Q. What is a Record?

A.  A record is anything that:

  • Your office created;
  • Your office acted on;
  • Your office receives it for action;
  • Your office is designated as the custodian of (i.e. record-holder);
  • Your office needs to document its decisions.

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Q. What is not considered a record?

A. What is not a record?

  • Student items including but not necessarily limited to homework, tests, quizzes, term papers and minor projects that are graded and RETURNED to the student.
  • Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes.
  • Extra copies of documents retained only for convenience of reference.
  • Stocks of publications and of processed documents received from external sources unless they were used to make a decision.
  • Magazines or publications you subscribe to as a member of an organization.
  • Email to co-workers about things such as lunch plans if no business is conducted at lunch.
  • Drafts used to produce a final product (i.e. proposals, reports, etc)
  • Flyers that are not related to conduct of business (i.e. United Way, Food Drive, Blood Drive notices.)

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Q. Are emails considered records?

A.  Think of email only as a method of communication.  A true record is based on the content of that email and should be categorized as such (i.e. if the email relates to budgets, then it should be filed and retained for the same legnth of time as budgets.  If the email does not related to business, then it can be disposed of). 

Think of an email no differently than you would a paper record.  In that context, if the information you receive in an email would be something you would retain if you had received it in paper copy, then treat it the same way you would treat a paper copy. 


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Q. How do I know if I am the Office of Record or the Copy Holder?

A.  Office of Record - The office or department that holds the official version of the record(s).  This is usually, but not necessairly the creating unit or person.  The offical record is maintained for administrative, legal, fiscal or requlatory reasons, or to document business transactions.  

If as a recipient, you need to keep a record for documentation purposes (i.e. project files may contain budget information, drawings, forms generated by another department), yours may be a "record" copy, but it would inherit the retention of the record series (project files), not the individual document.

Copy Holder(s) - The office or department that hold "unoffical" copies of records.  This is usually the recipient of the record.  (i.e. if you know where to find the original, yours is most likely only reference and can be disposed of upon receipt).

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Q. Do I have to keep a copy of every paper I grade?

A.  No, Student items including but not necessarily limited to homework, tests, quizzes, term papers and minor projects that are graded and RETURNED to the student do not have to be copied.  If it is not retained by the instructor and is returned to the student it is not considered a record.  However, if an instructor keeps anything, then it needs to be treated as a record and is subject to the record retention period for record series titled, "Exams/Homework/Papers/Projects". 

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Q. Why do we need to schedule records?

A.  NDSU as a state institution needs to comply with state law in regards to records that are produced and used at all NDSU facilities.  This includes a systematic process for creation, retention and the proper disposal of records.

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Q. Who is responsible for managing records and information?

A.  Everyone is.  Each employee at NDSU has a role in protecting the integrity and the future of NDSU by creating, using, retrieving, and disposing of records in accordance with NDSU Policy 713 as well as federal, state and institutional laws.

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Q. How often do I have to go through our records?

A.  Annually at a minimum the following should be done:

  • Review your records inventory
  • If any new record series have been created, they need to be added to the records schedule.
  • Review current retention schedule(s) and properly dispose of records that have expired according to the disposal guidelines in the record retention schedule (i.e. shred, recycle, retain, archive).

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Q. How do I get records to the University Archives? How can I get them back if I need them?

A.  You can contact University Archives at 1-8914. 

The records transferred to the University Archives may be accessed by the depositing department.  Turn around time for record retrieval from Archives varies from 24-72 hours.

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Q. How do I dispose of records that no longer need to be retained?

A.  While preparing the records inventory, each record will be assigned a disposal method (i.e - recycle, shred or archive).  If a record no longer needs to be retained and is not being sent to the archives, it can be disposed of by the method defined on the records retention schedule.  Currently, the university contracts with a licensed and bonded document destruction service. Departments can receive the service and have secured collection bins placed in offices. For more information, contact the purchasing department. Other proper methods of destruction include crosscut shredding and incineration. 

However before any disposal is done, individual departments must contact the NDSU Records Management Coordinator to receive information on the proper disposal procedures. 

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Q. Can I keep records longer than the published retention period?

A.  No, the purpose of records management is to minimize the quantity of records in any office.  Once a record series has met its retention period all copies should be disposed of according to the record retention guidelines.    If the Archives has the records, they can be easily retained from Archives.

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Q. What about publications produced in our department?

A.  Publications are considered records. They fall within the category assigned to them during the preparation of the records inventory.

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Q. What resources are available to answer questions?

A.  If you have other questions please try one of the following:

  • Ask your unit's records coordinator or
  • Contact the NDSU Records Management Coordinator as listed below.

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NDSU Records Management Coordinator

The Division of Information Technology is responsible for oversight of NDSU's Record Management Program with Theresa Semmens as Director. Theresa assumed the role from Eric J. Miller, NDUS Internal Auditor. CeCe Rohwedder, Assistant to VP of IT, will serve as Records Management Coordinator. Michael J. Robinson, Associate Library Director, serves as the co-chair of the Records Management Task Force.

At the moment the best way to reach Records Management is through e-mail to, or Theresa can be contacted directly by emailing, and CeCe can be reached by emailing

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Site Manager: NDSU Records Management Coordinator
Published by NDSU Records Management

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 10:55:51 AM