What is a Record?

A record is information created or received and maintained by the university, regardless of media, used to control, support, or document the activities and transactions of the university. The definition used by The Texas A&M System is “any written, photographic, machine-readable, or other recorded information created or received by or on behalf of the university that documents the activities of the organization. Records include books, letters, documents, printouts, photographs, film, tape, microfiche, microfilm, photostats, sound recordings, maps, drawings, and a voice, data, or video representation held in computer memory.” Records are retained for administrative, financial, historical, or legal reasons.

Records may include such items as:

  • General correspondence and administrative records
  • Financial transactions
  • Significant working papers, drafts, and versions
  • Databases and tables
  • Personnel and employment documentation
  • Student and class documentation
  • Web sites
  • Electronic media, tapes, disks, hard drives, and portable storage devices
  • Electronic messages, including email, IM, and voicemail
  • Metadata associated with records

Types of Records

Archival records - a record of enduring historical value that will be preserved by University Archives. The records retention schedule requires that some records be retained or reviewed by the archivist. Your department may have other historical records as well.

Vital records - any record necessary for the resumption or continuation of business operations following an emergency or disaster. Vital records should be kept in a location separate from the place of business and updated on a regular basis.

Litigation hold - a process to stop the normal disposition or processing of records as a result of current, pending, or anticipated legal action, audit, or investigation. Once a litigation hold is instituted, records cannot be destroyed or altered. Penalties can be severe for failure to comply. A litigation hold could affect one department or could possibly involve the entire campus. Contact University Records Management if your department becomes involved with such an action.

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