The goals of PSU’s Architecture, Engineering, Construction Archives are as follows:
- Ensure the preservation and accessibility of meaningful records for as long as they are needed;
- Ensure the authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability of records;
- Ensure that record-keeping practices are effective and in compliance with legal requirements, university policy, administrative needs, and community expectations.
Records Management is mandated by ORS 192.005-192.150 (Archiving of Public Records). The procedures for carrying out this law are detailed in OAR 166-0030 (Records Management Procedures). The basic tenants of the laws and regulations affecting PSU employees relate to “public records.”
What is a public record?
A public record as it pertains to recordkeeping is defined by Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 192.005(5):
- (5) "Public record"
- (a) Means any information that:
- (A) Is prepared, owned, used or retained by a state agency or political subdivision;
- (B) Relates to an activity, transaction or function of a state agency or political subdivision;
- (C) Is necessary to satisfy the fiscal, legal, administrative or historical policies, requirements or needs of the state agency or political subdivision.
ORS 192.005(5) also specifies the following exemptions to the definition of a public record. Public records are not:
- Library and museum materials;
- Extra copies of a document, preserved only for convenience or reference;
- A stock of publications; or
- Messages on voicemail or other telephone message storage and retrieval systems.
Just because something was created, received, or kept at work does not automatically make it a public record. Records must satisfy all three of the 192.005(5) requirements to be considered a public record. This disqualifies items such as catalogs, personal or non-work related e-mail, and generally anything not related to pursuing the business or interests of PSU.
Finally, some records contain confidential information and are therefore restricted from public access. A description of confidential records can be found in the Oregon Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual.
Though retention schedules are bureaucratic in nature they grant PSU employees the power to dispose of commonly occurring public records. The regular purging of old records helps to create an efficient work environment by reducing file bulk and making active records more accessible. Additional benefits of timely records destruction include decreasing operational risks and holding our department accountable to our stakeholders including students, Portland residents, and the public at large.
The OAR 166-475 retention schedule grants PSU the lawful authority to destroy or otherwise dispose of commonly occurring public records. No public record may be destroyed unless authorized by an approved retention schedule.
OAR 166-475 sets prescribed minimum and maximum retention periods for records. This means that departments must keep a record series at least as long as the scheduled retention period (minimum), but no longer (maximum). Under no circumstances should a record be kept for less time than the retention period. Records which are older than their retention period length should be disposed of promptly. Exceptions to this practice are: records involved in litigation, criminal or civil investigation, audits, or continuing administrative value.