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How to Manage Permanent Records

Permanent Records ordinarily make up about 5-15 percent of the records created and maintained by a typical office. At ISU, some departments create a much larger number of permanent records in the regular course of business, such as the Registrar's Office. Certain types or materials tend to fall into the permanent classification.

Records of permanent value can be maintained within the Office of Origin in most instances, until such time that space becomes an issue. When permanent records cannot be securely stored by the originator, then they should be prepared for transfer to University Archives. (See Transferring Permanent Records to University Archives).

NOTE: Offices may retain copies of publications and research proposals/reports to use as reference.

It is advisable to separate the permanent record copy of a given document from other records, or copies of that same record, so that the final available copy is not distributed or used by mistake. In line with this reasoning, printing orders should always include sufficient numbers so that there will be a copy/copies available for University Archives.

If you are uncertain whether an item is a permanent record, please contact the ISU Records Manager for clarification.


Type of Permanent Record | Number of Copies to Retain

Publications: | minimum of 2

•  Annual Reports for academic or institutional programs (ex: The President's Report)

•  Annual Institutional Budget or Financial reports

•  Course catalogs

•  Student guidance publications such as the Student Handbook

•  College-specific or degree-specific guides

•  Personnel guidance on policies and procedures (ex: Faculty/Staff Handbook, ISU Safety Manual, Hazardous Waste Policies and Procedures Manual)

•  Department or Programmatic Procedures

Photography and Illustrations

Regardless of the equipment used to create the image, photography is a permanent record for the University. Departments taking photos of staff and students for use in publications, presentations, and on web sites should be aware that in addition to the publication, the photo itself is a record. It should be noted that some faculty make their photography available for use by ISU. Their permission for use should be documented and remain on file permanently, as well.

Photos taken of non-ISU personnel, other than at publicly announced events (sporting events, job fairs, graduation), should permanently include Photographic Release forms, especially if the subject is a minor.

Due to the changing technology associated with digital photography, ISU offices are strongly encouraged to develop documentation on what equipment and software was used to create and store the images they decide to keep. The standard for permanent retention is based on the assumption that the photographer will purge unwanted images within a relatively short period following the date of creation. So offices are advised to establish a practice of purging so that memory and related storage is not consumed by unwanted images.

Forms | 1 each

If a form is developed by ISU, then a copy should be preserved for each generation, or revision, of that form.

This is especially important within degree programs, where questions about requirements during a given period can be points of dispute years after the form has been updated.

Most departments use forms available from administrative offices, such as personnel requisition forms from Human Resources or add/drop cards from the Registrar. These only need to be maintained by those offices as permanent records.

In the case of forms, a blank version should be used as the record copy.

Personnel | 1 each

Vitas - final vita on file for departing/retiring faculty constitute part of the history of the academic programs of the University. These are archival.

Contracts - For permanent positions. These, and related records are the responsibility of Human Resources.

Human Subjects and Research | 1 each

Protocols - These are a record for the Human Subjects Committee office, however, faculty are encouraged to confirm that a copy of their protocol(s) is on file prior to destroying their copy.

Grant Proposals, Interim and Final Reports - Proposals, whether approved or disapproved should be retained permanently. These document the history of research thought and practice at ISU. Interim and Final Reports are also permanent and should be furnished to Office of Research, whether or not specific funding is used for the project.

Data - some data, especially from drug and medical trials can be permanent. Consult Office of Research on this point.

Records needing special consideration:

Electronic Records

ISU is in the midst of a digital revolution like most of higher education. Faculty and staff need to be aware that some records that are created only in an electronic form, and may be permanent.

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