All About a Record
What is a Record?
A record is recorded information, in any form, including data in computer systems, created or received and maintained by an organization or person [at or near the time of] the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs and kept as evidence of such activity. A record can exist in a number of formats, including various sizes of paper (original or photocopy), microfilm or any microform, electronic media, optical disk media, CD, mylar, sepia, blueline, photograph, audio and video tape, punched cards, books, and maps.
What is a Public Record?
A "Public record" includes, but is not limited to, any writing containing information relating to the conduct and administration of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. (Idaho Code, 9-337.12)
Writing, as a public record.
"Writing" includes, but is not limited to: handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing and every means of recording, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums or other documents. (Idaho Code, 9-337.14)
Education records are defined by FERPA as any record (written, printed, taped, filmed, etc.) maintained by the institution that is directly related to a student except for (1) personal notes kept in the maker's sole possession, (2) certain campus law enforcement records, (3) alumni records, and (4) certain medical records used only for treatment purposes. Thus, with few exceptions, almost any record that is made on this campus about a student must be handled in compliance with FERPA.
Are the files on my computer records?
This is a broad, but common question. Computer-based records, or electronic records, are the fastest growing type of record today. To answer this question reliably requires knowledge of the content and purpose of a given file. Knowing what the file contains, or what it is about, determines its classification as a record, not whether or not it is on a hard drive, a server, a CD-ROM, or other storage device.
What is the difference between a historic record, an archival record, and a permanent record?
These are closely related concepts. Historic records are those that institutions have determined have significance due to their ability to document the history of the organization. An archival record is material determined to have permanent value, due to standards of practice (transcripts), significance (building floorplans), or legal requirements (lawsuits). A permanent record is one with a life span in excess of 50 or more years, due to the preservation and management requirements associated with maintaining them. In some states, records with a retention over 25 years are considered permanent, although they have an eventual destruction.
Records essential to:
- The resumption and/or continuation of operations in the event of a disaster;
- The recreation of the legal and financial status of ISU;
- The fulfillment of the obligations to local, state, and federal governments and outside interests (ex: students, lenders, SBoE).
Duplicate copies of final reports, printouts or copies of permanent files made for reference, distribution copies of a publication, or routing copies of a memo or letter are all considered "non-records". Material acquired solely for the purpose of reference, that is, copies of other institutions' course catalog, programs from meetings, etc., are also non-records. It should be noted that often, due to carelessness, a distribution copy (non-record) in a secondary office is the only lasting version of an essential document. Because this happens, it tends to encourage 'hoarding' by others than the office of record.
Reference materials, stocks of publications and brochures, quasi-official notices, unsolicited announcements, invitations, or other materials not filed as evidence of office or University operations.
Preliminary drafts, worksheets, informal notes that do not represent significant steps in the preparation of record documents.
Routing slips that contain no information or approvals, used to direct the distribution of papers.
Extra ("convenience") copies of records in addition to the "official" copies maintained elsewhere, as long as they do not contain additional information.
Blank Forms, templates (supplies on hand).
A group of records, performing a specific function and organized in a succession of like, correlated, or corresponding items, occurrences, or events; also a sequence of things having a progressive order or arrangement. A records series has a common sequence that relates to a particular subject or function, results from the same activity, or documents a specific kind of transaction.
A listing of records series that indicate the full record series title, function/purpose, location of official record copy, time to retain it in originating office and/or records center, as well as the disposal instructions, i.e., whether the record series should be microfilmed, destroyed, and/or transferred to the State Archives for retention.
Idaho Public Records Law: The primary legislation, or rule of law, applicable to state agency records in Idaho is the Public Records Law, or Title 9, Evidence, Chapter 3, Public Writing, commonly noted as 9-337 through 9-347. These codes include language detailing public records definitions, rights of the public to examine public records, some exemptions (which do not relate to typical higher education conditions), and the directive requiring agencies to have guidelines on how to manage their records.
Other Laws: While the Public Records Law is quite broad, some records-related areas have been further specified in additional Idaho Code.
- Records Management Manual. State Government and State Affairs/Department of Administration 67-5752.
- Requirement to Adopt Records Retention Schedules
-Idaho Code 67-5751 and 67-5752
- Photographic or Digital Retention of Records. Evidence, Public Writing, 9-328.
- Preservation of Records - Written Contracts -Void Contracts. State Government and State Affairs/Department of Administration 67-5725.
- Retention of Electronic Records - Originals. Commercial Transactions/Uniform Electronics Transactions Act 28-50-112.
- IC 9-347 - states that every state agency shall adopt guidelines to maintain, and document public records and their location.
- U.S. Department of Education. FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Sometimes called the Buckley Amendment. This suite of regulations details aspects of proper dealings of state and federal agencies with respect to students, their educational information, and the rights and restrictions placed on agency staff, family members and the public where access to information is concerned.
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For some institutions, the addition of nuclear medicine or physics programs including the use of radiological materials as part of laboratory programs can bring them under the rules of this commission.
- U.S. Wage and Hour/Internal Revenue Service/Americans with Disabilities Act. A wide variety of federal agencies and programs have regulations that apply to higher education.
- USA Patriot Act -This Act, passed October 2001, updates 15 different laws, including FERPA. The primary effect on related regulation is to require the source agency or institution to release information on an individual without notifying the subject of the search. There is a specific type of court order for these releases, an "ex-par te" order.
- AACRAO - American Association of College Registrar and Admissions Officers. The organization is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to communicate the standards and requirements for student registration and admissions records, with attention to FERPA. Compliance with AACRAO guidance is also directly tied to institutional federal financial aid eligibility.
- NCAA - National College Athletics Association. Less formal than AACRAO, this organization is tied to the U.S. Department of Education financial aid eligibility system, as well as Title IX and ADA.
- NACUBO - National Association College & University Business Officers.
- OSFAP, Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs. This arm of the U.S. Department of Education has been formed to assist federal aid-granting agencies and higher education institutions with the changes and complexities of student financial aid requirements.