Definitions adapted from ISO 15489-1, Records and Information Management;, Society of American Archivists’ A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology (2016), and the US National Archives Transmittal No. 28 (July 2017) General Records Schedule 5.2.


The right, opportunity, means of finding using, or retrieving information.


To transfer records from the individual or office of creation to a repository authorized to appraise, preserve, and provide access to those records, such as UO’s University Archives. Distinct from its use by IT to describe the process of storing data offline.


Collections of records with ongoing (permanent) evidential value to the organization and society. Also, an organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations


The organization of materials into categories according to a scheme that identifies, distinguishes, and relates the categories ("Functional Classification"); and/or the process of assigning restrictions to materials, limiting access to specific roles or individuals ("Security Classification").


The process of changing records from one medium to another (example: paper to digital) or from one format to another (example: a Microsoft Word .doc file to an Adobe .pdf).


The individual or organization having possession of and responsibility for the care and control of material. The function of custodianship may be assigned to individuals with other job titles. In some instances, a custodian may have legal custody without physical custody, as is the case with digital material.


The process of eliminating or deleting records, beyond any possible reconstruction.


Materials' final destruction or transfer to University Archives as determined by the UO Records Retention Schedule and UO’s University Archives selection criteria. 

file plan

A classification scheme describing different types of files, how they are identified, where they should be stored, and how they should be indexed for retrieval. Also known as a “filing system.” A file plan is not synonymous with a retention schedule.


The activities of an organization or individual performed to accomplish some mandate or mission. The primary organizing principle of UO’s Records Retention Schedule.


The process of establishing access points to facilitate retrieval of records and/or information.

intermediary records *

Information/data/documents/records created or used in the process of creating a subsequent record. To qualify as an intermediary record, the record must also not be required to meet legal or fiscal obligations, or to initiate, sustain, evaluate, or provide evidence of decision-making.  These records may be disposed of without a schedule once the subsequent record has been produced. See also Transitory Records.

Examples of this material include, but are not limited to:

  • non-substantive working files: collected and created materials not coordinated or disseminated outside the unit of origin that do not contain information documenting significant policy development, action, or decision making. These working papers do not result directly in a final product or an approved finished report. Included are such materials as rough notes and calculations and preliminary drafts produced solely for proof reading or internal discussion, reference, or consultation, and associated transmittals, notes, reference, and background materials; 
  • audio and video recordings of meetings that have been fully transcribed or that were created explicitly for the purpose of creating detailed meeting minutes (once the minutes are created); 
  • dictation recordings; 
  • input or source records, which units create in the routine process of creating, maintaining, updating, or using electronic information systems and which have no value beyond the input or output transaction - note: this does not include paper version of records that are scanned (see for requirements related to reformatting records for preservation and access); 
  • ad hoc reports, including queries on electronic systems, whether used for one-time reference or to create a subsequent report; 
  • data files output from electronic systems, created for the purpose of information sharing or reference.


Data describing context, content and structure of records and their management through time.


The act of moving records from one system to another, while maintaining the records' authenticity, integrity, reliability and usability.


Processes and operations involved in ensuring the technical and intellectual survival of authentic records through time.


To engage in the destruction of records


Information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. See also "intermediary records," "transitory records," and "substantive records."

recordkeeping system  

Coordinated policies and procedures that enable records to be captured, organized, and categorized to facilitate their management, including preservation, retrieval and use over time, and eventual disposition. These systems may be manual or automated. 

records retention schedule

A document that identifies and describes an organization's records, usually at the series level, provides instructions for the disposition of records. Also known as disposal schedule, records schedule, retention schedule, transfer schedule.

Any given scheduled retention period listed on a records retention schedule is read as both the minimum amount of time to keep a record, and the maximum amount of time to keep a record. 

records series

A set of similar records that are grouped together as the result of being created, received, or used in the same activity.

substantive records

Substantive records meet legal or fiscal obligations, or to initiate, sustain, evaluate, or provide evidence of decision-making, and are typically listed on the University Records Retention Schedule. 

transitory records *

Information/data/documents/records required only for a short time and that are not required to meet legal or fiscal obligations, or to initiate, sustain, evaluate, or provide evidence of decisionmaking. Also known as "temporary" records. These material are described in the University Records Management Policy under the heading "Records Not Subject to Retention." See also "intermediary records."

Examples of this material include, but are not limited to:

  • messages coordinating schedules, appointments, and events;
  • transmittal documents such as e-mail, letters, cover memos, and facsimile cover sheets that do not provide evidence of approval, concurrence, or decision-making, or include substantive comments;
  • received copies of circulated internal information such as agency instructions, notifications,
  • circulars, newsletters, and email blasts to employees;
  • messages received from agency distribution lists or listservs;
  • “to-do” or task lists and assignments