Montana Secretary of State

Glossary of Records Management Terms

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Active record: A record used on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Administrative record: A record relating to budget, personnel/payroll, purchasing, legal, financial and similar operational functions common to agency offices.

Archives: Records, usually but not necessarily non-currant records, of enduring value selected for permanent preservation. Archives will normally be preserved in an archival repository, which is managed by archival institution such as the State Archives; Montana Historical Society.

Case file: a file containing standardized contents relating to a specific action, even, person or place, where the documents in case files typically capture the same category(s) of information about each investigation action, even, person or place. For the state of Montana, often referring to medical, legal, investigative, scientific or administrative action. See also Project file and Subject file.

Classification: The process of identifying and arranging records into categories according to logically structured conventions, methods and procedural rules.

Classification scheme: A full representation of the business of an organization, which systematically identifies and documents the organization’s activities and resulting records according to logically structured conventions, methods and procedural rules.

Content management: The process of establishing policies, systems and procedures in an organization in order to oversee the systematic creation, organization, access and use of large quantities of information, especially in different formats and applications. The process of content management may include, but is not limited to, records management, web management and the creation of collaborative workspaces. Electronic content management, sometimes also referred to as electronic information management, also refers more specifically to the software program and supporting hardware used to automate and integrate the information management process, which may include the management of electronic documents.

Creation of records: The first phase of a record’s life cycle in which a record is made or received and then captured in a record-keeping system for action or for its evidentiary value.

Digital preservation: a series of managed activities undertaken to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary, including in the event of technological change or the failure of digital storage media.

Digital record: A record maintained in a coded numeric format that can only be accessed using a computer system that converts the numbers into text or images that can be comprehended by the human eye. Digital records include records stored in electronic and non-electronic formats such as optical disk.

Discovery: In the legal environment, the process whereby parties to court proceedings identify and disclose to each other documents relevant to the issues in the proceedings.

Disposal: In a records and archives environment, the actions taken to fulfil the requirements outlined in appraisal reports and retention and disposal schedules to retain, destroy or transfer records. Note: that disposal is not synonymous with destruction, though destruction may be one disposal option.

Disposition: The disposal action taken regarding records no longer needed for current government business. Includes transfer to a storage facility, transfer to another department or agency, transfer to permanent archives, or destruction.

Duplicate record: a record that is provided as a courtesy copy; that holds no record value to the holder and can be disposed of without any loss to official or business transaction.

Electronic Record: Any information that is recorded in machine readable form. Electronic records include numeric, graphic audio, video, and textual information that is recorded or transmitted in analog or digital form such as electronic spreadsheets, word processing files, databases, electronic mail, instant messages, scanned images, digital photographs, and multimedia files. These files could be created or received on or through cell phones, smart phones, voice mail, computers, social networks, etc.

Essential record: Records fundamental to the functioning of an organization. Emergency and operating records immediately necessary to begin recovery of operations after a disaster, and rights and interests records necessary to protect the assets, obligations, and resources of the organization, as well as its employees and customers, or citizens. These records typically document delegation of authority and line of succession, and include legal documents and contracts, financial records, and other rights and interests records.

General disposal schedule (General Schedule): A retention and disposal schedule that applies to the management of all records throughout the state, rather than a specific operational record created by different agencies with the state.

Inactive file/record: A record used infrequently, generally less than every three months.

Legal Hold: A process used to preserve all forms of relevant information when litigation is reasonably anticipated; notification that, due to litigation or the expectation of litigation, certain records cannot be destroyed or otherwise disposed even though the retention period has concluded.

Local government: Any city, town, county, consolidated city-county, or school district, or any subdivision thereof.

Metadata: Data about the data; indexing fields, formats, date, etc.

Migration: The act of moving data or records in electronic form from one hardware or software system or configuration to another so that they may continue to be understandable and usable for as long as they are needed.

Non record: a record that is not included within the scope of official records and is not required to be retained and therefore not appearing on a records schedule.

Non-current record: a record no longer required for the day-to-day conduct of an active business.

Office of record: The office that maintains an “official record” copy of a document, in support of state business, as opposed to a duplicate.

Official Copy: A document possessing public records status, created or received by a state officer or state employee, while conducting state business and serving state government in an official capacity. This document type may be referred to as the primary copy or the matter of record copy and must follow the records management requirements as outlined in 2-6-1012, MCA and the Montana Operations Manual (MOM) Volume I-0800. Official records may be disposed of expunged only upon approval by the State Records Committee, after the agency has assured the State Records Committee that the official records have met state records retention requirements.

Preservation: Processes and operations involved in ensuring the technical and intellectual survival of authentic records through time. The act of maintaining correct, and independently understandable, information over a long term. To take action to prevent deterioration or loss .

Program record: A record relating to the mission or the unique, substantive functions of an office.

Project file: an assembly of records and other data, that pertains to a set of activities or pursuits designated as a project by the organization which has a specific beginning and end. For the state of Montana, often referring to engineering, construction or technology. See also Case file and Subject file.

Public record: Public record means public information that is fixed in any medium and is retrievable in usable form for future reference; and designated for retention by the state records committee, judicial branch, legislative branch, or local government records committee.

Reading file: Material such as correspondence and reference materials, filed in chronological order; generally used for reference and convenience.

Record value: the importance or significance that official and secondary records need to be compared to. A record’s 1) administrative, 2) legal, 3) fiscal, 4) historic or 5) essential (vital) business value to the record holder. These values demonstrate the necessary components for records retention and also help determine retention periods.

Records Classification: The grouping of records by their records series or business function (not by media; i.e., email is not a proper classification).

Records Lifecycle: Concept that all records pass through three distinct stages of; creation, use and maintenance, and disposition or disposal.

Records Schedule:Instructions for what to do with public records that are no longer needed for current government business. Also called a records retention and disposition schedule, it provides a minimum period of time that a specific type of record must be preserved.

Records series: a single record-type or group of related records that as a stand-alone or combined collection of documents represent a business function or process that documents that official business and its transactions.

Records Storage: An appropriately secured area or facility used to store inactive records for the remainder of their retention period.

Reference Copy: Any document or copy of a document made or kept solely for reference purposes.

Rolling Disposal Request (RM6): a disposal request form implemented with the intent to provide an agency with the State Records Committee’s annual revolving approval to dispose of specific records series(‘). Rolling disposal requests may only be used for duplicated (secondary or tertiary) records series, when within that requesting agency, the same records series exists in its primary of official format which services as the state’s official public record.

Secondary record: a record that supports a business function; that is a copy of the official record, however possessing a record value to the holder, based on the fact that it is provided for another business purpose.

State Archives: Montana Historical Society

State Records Center: The records storage facility (Secretary of State Records and Information Management) 1320 Bozeman Ave, Helena MT. 406-444-9009

Subject file: a file that consists of letters, memorandums, attachments, reports and other related documents. Relates to any topic such as, an action, event, person, place or other subject. Arranged by subject, gathered together to support current or potential business task, function or decision. They are distinguished from case files which relate to a situation affecting or relating to some particular investigation or administrative action, whereas the documents in case files typically capture the same category of information about each investigation or action, the content and format of documents in subject files often are varied. See also Case file and Project File.

Working Copy: a document possessing short-term or transitory value, utilized as related or reference-only information for a business process or function. This document type may be referred to as a reference-only copy and its use does not alter the fact that it is a working copy. Working copies are documents that have no administrative, operational, financial, legal or historic value in relation to public records management requirements. Working document have a slightly elevated records value than do non-records (see General Schedule 9) and a far less record value than official copy documentation. Each agency is responsible for the declaration of working copies, as non-official document, prior to their disposal.

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