Monday, July 13, 2015

Inactive records management

Purposes of records centres
  • As a general rule 40% of records are inactive
    • 30% inactive + 10% long-term
  • Where should they be housed so they can be retrieved when needed but where the cost is less expensive than office space?
  • How can we get the best use of space?
Uses of records centres
  • Records centres are facilities designed to house inactive records
    • Fill two major needs:
      • Serve as low-cost Storage Centres
      • Serve as Reference Centres
Storage centre
  • Must provide
    • physical protection of inactive records
    • protection of contents of records from theft, alteration, observation by unauthorized parties
  • Safety and security responsibilities’ of the record manager and records centre staff
  • Inactive records storage centre provides cost savings
    • more efficient storage
    • microfilming
Reference service centre
  • Place for people to refer to any inactive record
  • Many provide tables, chairs, terminals, microfilm readers
Objectives of records centres
  • Overall goal is to provide safe storage and access to records at a reduced cost
  • Specific objectives:
    • Reduce volume of records held thereby reducing cost of storage
    • Establish controls to ensure continuous flow of records from offices to low-cost storage
    • Free space and reduce need for storage equipment
    • Establish an efficient retrieval system
    • Develop microfilm program if appropriate
    • Maintain total security over records
Records centre facilities
  • Commercially provided
  • Company owned
Commercial: self-service
  • Outgrowth of household storage
  • Also known as a landlord/tenant agreement
    • Landlord provides space and shelving for records
    • Storage charges based on amount of space or number of cartons used by tenant
    • Tenant responsible for maintaining records, inventories and controlling retrievals
    • Storage and retrieval responsibilities reside with tenant
      • Tenant (depositor) may place any type of record in space; remove or add records as needed
    • Landlord (records centre) obligated to provide “reasonable” care in maintenance of storage areas
    • Landlord may provide additional services at additional costs, e.g. copying, packing records, transferring records, pick up/delivery, fax, mailing
Commercial: full service services
  • Can include
    • Original records transfer to facility including transfer boxes and transfer forms
    • Records inventory
    • Records security
      • Fireproof vaults
      • Sprinkler systems
      • Burglar and fire alarms
      • Authorized signature systems
      • Confidentiality
      • Backup water and power systems
      • Blanket insurance for liability and damage
      • Bonded employees
    • Temperature and humidity controls
    • Storage for a variety of media
    • Pickup and delivery
    • Computerized tracking systems from records receipt to destruction
    • Retrieval of box, folder, or document
    • Copying services
    • Fax services
    • Destruction services
    • Computerized client activity reports providing information re costs, retrievals, removals, charge-outs, returns, etc.
    • Micrographic services
    • Records construction capacity
    • Consulting services
    • Onsite reference and conference rooms
    • Communication systems
  • Costs for commercial centre computed using different methods based on cubic feet used
    • Costs of retrieval included in storage fee
    • Hourly fee for retrieval added to storage fee
    • Fixed fees for various types of services
    • Service contract
      • Appropriate when retrieval requirements can be accurately predicted, if not may be expensive
    • Combination plan
      • Minimum guarantee for fixed number of retrievals and flat rate for those in excess
Company-owned centres
  • Nonprime space within own location e.g. basement, attic, which must have:
    • Proper heating, lighting, humidity controls, floor load capacity
    • usable space, e.g. ceiling height, number of obstructions, odd shaped spaces
  • Must factor in space conversion costs, costs of storage equipment, personnel costs, energy costs, etc.
Onsite advantages
  • Availability of records
  • Delivery system from one location to another not needed
  • Organization has total control over records and information
Offsite advantages
  • May be commercial or company-owned
  • Offsite centre may be less costly
  • May be located near by or many kilometres away from organization
  • Above ground
    • Generally less expensive
  • Underground
    • Greater security
    • More limited geographic locations, e.g. salt mines, limestone mines, under mountains/hills
Onsite/offsite storage comparison

Onsite Provincial Government Records Centre 
Storage cost for 1 box $30 $6
Storage cost for 1,000 boxes $30,000 $6,000

Site selection criteria
  • Many factors must be considered when selecting an appropriate site
    • Cost
      • Commercial versus company-owned
      • Pickup delivery cost
      • Security/insurance costs (high if site in high-risk area)
    • Access to records
      • If offsite, access a greater problem
      • Commercial centres outside of immediate area
        • Fax, computer access, courier, Canada Post
        • 75% of all information requests can be answered verbally, so telephone service essential
    • Transportation
      • Company-owned offsite location should have accessible roads for easy commuting
      • Commercial centres should be in areas allowing prompt delivery by Canada Post, special messenger, express mail, etc.
    • Safe and security
      • Do not consider a site with high risk of unauthorized access, loss, destruction, theft
Space utilization
  • Volume and kinds of records are determined by records inventory report
  • Space required to house inactive records determined by storage method used
  • Most store records in cartons on steel shelves placed back to back
  • Maximum of 50 feet of unbroken shelf length recommended
  • Plans must be made to allow for different sizes and types of records (e.g. av, maps, publications, microform, engineering drawings, computer output, etc.)
  • Different media types have different storage requirements
  • Compact mobile shelving allows greater density
  • General rule: 3 to 4 cubic feet of records will take one square inch of space
  • Ceiling height affects storage cabinets
    • Use ladders up to 14 feet
    • Over 14 feet catwalks or automated storage and retrieval
  • When estimating square footage required to house records consider type of storage container, type of shelving, height of ceiling, and any obstruction that reduces available storage space
  • Ratio of cubic feet of records to square feet of required floor space
  • 8 ft stacks 10 ft stacks 12 ft stacks 14 ft stacks 22 ft stacks
    2.7 to 1 3.3 to 1 3.9 to 1 4.5 to 1 7.1 to 1
  • Floor load capacity
    • weight of records and equipment a floor can safely accommodate
    • a filled records carton weighs between 30-50 lbs
    • Plan centre so weight of equipment and records do not exceed floor load capacity and that future additions can be accommodated
Physical layout
  • Records centre must accommodate inactive records storage are and admin. receiving, preparation and distribution areas
  • Plans should include:
    • Records Storage Area
    • Administrative Area (reference and office areas)
    • Receiving Area
    • Preparation Area
    • Distribution/Disposal Area
Records transfer
  • Determine transfer period
    • Periodic versus Perpetual transfer
      • Periodic – on a regular schedule
      • Perpetual – continuous basis
  • Determine records to be transferred
  • Prepare records for transfer
    • Forms
    • Packaging
  • Arrange transfer
  • Receive records
Records charge-out and follow-up
  • Records request
    • By phone, computer, mail, person
    • Specific information needed for request
      • Box no. (assigned by records centre, noted on records transmittal form)
      • Folder title/description
      • Name, dept., location, telephone no. of requester
      • Length of time recorded needed
  • Charge-out and follow-up
    • Manually or electronically
Records destruction
  • Disposal of records no longer needed by organization
    • Internal
    • Commercial record centre
    • Contract to local company
  • Methods include:
    • Wastebasket
    • Shredding
    • Incineration
    • Chemical destruction (maceration)
    • Pulping
Method selection factors
  1. Volume of records to be destroyed?
  2. Same size and type of material? If not, which processes would destroy all types?
  3. What percentage confidential?
  4. What environmental standards affect destruction of the records in the community?
  5. Bonded contractors available to provide desired destruction method?
  6. Possible to sell to paper salvage company? Have to be shredded first?
  7. Costs of in-house vs contracted destruction?
Destruction documentation
  • Records destruction authorization and confirmation should be documented
Developing an Inactive Records Storage Facility Archives Technical Information Series #48
The Value of Offsite Storage
FACS Record Centre

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