Records Management FAQ

What are University records?

University records are those that Tufts employees create or receive in any format in the course of university business. They are evidence of Tufts' functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, and activities. University records are the property of Tufts and are governed by University policies, including the University Records Policy and the Records Retention Schedule

How long should I keep my records?

When records are no longer used regularly by the offices that created them, the records are considered “inactive.” Many inactive records have long-term value to Tufts, and need to be retained for legal or historical purposes. The Records Retention Schedule lists records found throughout the University, tells us how long to keep them, and what to do with them when the retention period expires - either transfer records to the Archives or destroy them. Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

I can’t find what I’m looking for on the Records Retention Schedule. What should I do?

Contact us. What you’re looking for may be listed under a synonym. If we can’t find what you’re looking for, the Records Retention Schedule may need to be updated or revised, or we may point you to a supplemental records policy that covers those records. Supplemental records policies are created when an office, department, or program has a specific function and creates unique records not covered by the Schedule.

How should I organize the records that I need to keep?

Develop filing, classification, and/or indexing systems that all members of your office can understand and follow. These systems need not be complex–they only need to enable people to find the appropriate records quickly. Know the location of all records - paper and electronic. Document your records organization system, storage locations, and security procedures in your office's policies and procedures.

How can I store records offsite? Is there a special box I should use?

Secure offsite storage allows you to clear out office space with the ability to recall infrequently accessed records from our vendor, on demand, with next-day delivery. Tufts has a university-wide contract with Iron Mountain for this service. Departments are billed individually, but pay a discounted rate.

The shelves at Iron Mountain’s warehouses are configured for only one box size, commonly known as "banker's boxes," which measure 12 x 10 x 15 inches. These boxes are available for purchase from WB Mason (items #FEL00703, #FEL12775, and #FEL0063601 are all acceptable) and Iron Mountain.

To open an account for your department, contact Iron Mountain’s account representative for Tufts:

Kim Fondots
Customer Service Manager, Iron Mountain

How can I transfer records to the Archives?

Please see our step-by-step transfer instructions

How can I find and use records that my office has already transferred to the Archives?

In most cases, your office's records will be listed in a collection guide (finding aid) in the Tufts Digital Library. Search for your office by name, review the collection guide, then set up a TASCR account to request delivery of the records to our Reading Room or order scans. For more information, see Research

Should I scan my records?

Maybe. Scanning university records can be an effective solution when records need to be accessed frequently, or from remote locations, or simultaneously by multiple users. 

Scanning records to free up space in your office is not cost-effective. We suggest reviewing your records against the Records Retention Schedule to identify records that can be transferred to the Archives or destroyed. For records that are rarely needed, but must be retained for several years, off-site storage is usually the most cost-effective solution.

For advice about scanning, including a decision tree, please see Digitize University Records.

I'm retiring or leaving Tufts. What should I do with my records?

We're glad you asked! Please see our Employee Offboarding Checklist

What do I do with old records that were created by somebody who does not work here anymore?

The records remain the responsibility of the office that created them. Consult with your supervisor and members of your team to figure out if any of the records are “active” records that are used regularly. These may be moved to a shared space or passed on to the person's successor. Then review the "inactive" records against the Records Retention Schedule to determine what needs to be kept in your office to meet a retention requirement, what can be transferred to the Archives, and what can be destroyed.

What other recordkeeping policies should I know about?

Tufts has a number of policies and guidelines related to recordkeeping. These include:

Information Stewardship Policy
Outlines the actions all members of the Tufts community are expected to follow when working with institutional data and systems. This policy is supported by three additional policies that assist in providing a framework for required behaviors and roles and responsibilities. These three policies, the Use of Institutional Systems Policy, the Information Classification and Handling Policy, and the Information Roles and Responsibilities Policy, are listed below.

Use of Institutional Systems
Sets the manner in which Tufts’ institutional systems are to be used in general, and particularly when creating, using, disseminating, and disposing of institutional data. 

Information Classification and Handling
Establishes the requirement of maintaining the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of institutional data. It also provides a framework for classifying institutional data into three levels.

Information Roles and Responsibilities
Establishes the roles and responsibilities for the appropriate management, use, and stewardship of institutional data.

Security and Privacy Program
Sets administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect Restricted Institutional Data and supports compliance with privacy and security laws and regulations.

Policy on Subpoenas for University Records
Delineates procedures for responding to subpoenas that require the timely production of records or information pertaining to specific individuals or entities.

Business Conduct Policy
Serves as a guide to appropriate business behavior. This includes documenting all financial transactions and handling all business records confidentially.

Employee Policies & Procedures
Explains that Human Resources maintains a personnel file for each employee which it keeps confidential.

Email Policy
Describes responsible use of email.

Cloud Computing Services Policy
Outlines best practices and approval processes for using cloud computing services to support the processing, sharing, storage, and management of institutional data. 

Tufts Box Use Guideline
Describes the Tufts Box service and its appropriate use.

Tufts Off-Campus, Telecommuting, and Personal Devices Guidelines
Describes actions you can take to protect Tufts information and resources when working outside Tufts' on-campus computing and network infrastructure and when using personal devices.