What is a Record?

As defined by ORS 192.005, a record means any information that:

  1. Is prepared, owned, used or retained by a state agency or political subdivision;

  1. Relates to an activity, transaction or function of a state agency or political subdivision and

  1. Is necessary to satisfy the fiscal, legal, administrative or historical policies, requirements or needs of the state agency or political subdivision.

In practice this looks like all the paper, e-mail, spreadsheets, digital images or video and other material that we make, receive, file or record at the university in connection with the transaction of any university business or activity or pursuant to law, whether confidential or restricted in use or access, are considered records.

A record created by an employee of the university is a public record. These records may be disclosed if requested under the Oregon Public Records Law or under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The university and its employees are responsible for the orderly retention and destruction of all records, and the preservation of records of value for administrative, legal, and research purposes. The University Records Management Policy and Records Retention Schedule define the retention period for records, including records that do not need to be retained as part of University Records Management.

University Records Management is dedicated to helping employees and university departments identify and manage records subject to retention and assist with records disposal once records are no longer useful and/or have reached the end of their retention period. For more information, see the Managing Records page.

Not all records have the same requirements

All records at the University of Oregon, regardless of format or media, fall into one of three categories based on both their content and function: Intermediary, Transitive, or Substantive. See the Transitory, Intermediary, and Substantive Records page for more information.

Transitory, Intermediary, and Substantive Records

An Important Note: Disclosure vs. Retention

There are two state law definitions of “record” at play that you should be aware of. One definition of record relates to retention, which is narrower than the other definition of record relating to disclosure. That's why the new Records Retention Schedule does not require the retention of duplicate records, superseded drafts, desk notes, voicemail messages, or text messages, among other things. Of all the records we create, only a small subset needs to be retained.

The second definition of “record” relates to disclosure. This definition is broader. For example, if you have kept records that you didn't need to retain, and there's a public records request for those records, you must produce them to the Public Records Office, regardless of what the retention policy or procedure says about those records.

The goal of University Records Management is to help employees understand what they need to keep, where they need to keep it, how long they need to keep it, and what they can and should destroy.