Records Storage FAQ
Where can we store paper records which need to be kept but that we don’t need daily access to?
Storage is the responsibility of the department/office. All locations for storage must adhere to the UVa Records Management Policy and follow the University Institutional Physical Records Storage Standards. Best practices for storage includes:
- Store records that you need access to daily in the working office (in-office);
- Store records which have occasional use/reference (12 more times per year) in easily accessible storage (on-site);
- Store records with little or no access needs outside of your office or Grounds (off-site).
Contact the University Records Management Office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-243-9162) for a consultation on locating and evaluating storage options and solutions for paper records.
Can I store our unused records in such places as the basement, attic, outdoor shed, or other off-site location?
Public records are public property. As custodians of these records, each of us has the responsibility to assure the records under our custody remain readable and accessible during the course of their lifecycle. The University Institutional Physical Records Storage Standards define the environmental and security controls that storage locations must meet to be deemed an "approved" location. While we encourage offices to find places to store records that do not take up too much valuable office space, the selected space must meet the storage standard for the security level required by the records. The University Records Management Office provides consultation services on storage options and solutions.
Can I burn records to a CD or DVD for long-term storage?
CDs and DVD's are not recommended for long-term storage (5+ years) of electronic records. If this is the only storage option, follow these best practices for use of CDs or DVD's:
- Create three copies of all records to be stored on CDs or DVD's, one copy for access purposes on a regular CD or DVD, and two copies on Gold Standard media. Store one Gold Standard copy in the office and the other off site.
- Check 10% of the collection – all three copies – yearly to make sure the CDs and DVD's are readable.
- Every 5 years copy all files from the old media to new media and migrate to new software versions or new versions for continued readability.
How should we store electronic records for long term retention?
Best practice is to store records on a server which is backed-up on a regular basis with the back-ups being stored off-site. Long term retention of electronic records requires continual maintenance to make sure the media is usable, backed-up and readable when needed. Use standard file formats and upgrade to new software versions when new versions become available. For more information on electronic records management, visit the Electronic Records page or attend the training, Electronic Records Management.