National Records and Information Management Month

Observed each year in April since 2002, National Records and Information Management Month celebrates good record keeping and information management; and is a time to emphasize the importance of having organized records. One reoccurring concern in DSHS is transitory records.

Transitory Records are records required for only a limited time for the completion of a routine action or preparation of an ongoing record. Like all records, content and context determine whether a record is transitory, rather than its format. Transitory records are of such short-term value that they are not required to satisfy statutory, legal, and financial obligations, or provide evidence of decisions and operational and administrative activities. These records should be destroyed as soon once they have outlived their reference purpose.

State Records Management provided a list of transitory records that can be destroyed when no longer needed for agency business. These include:

  • Basic informational messages (such as “please call,” “running 10 minutes late”)
  • Business cards and contact information
  • Drafting / editing notes such as handwritten annotations / notes, track changes, information / comments in Microsoft Word, etc.
  • Duplicate copies
  • Electronic records created solely for printing, such as signs, mailing labels, etc.
  • Email delivery / read receipts
  • Emails notifying staff of weather / traffic conditions or social gatherings (such as potlucks, etc.)
  • Extra copies of blank forms or publications
  • Information received from an external source, which requires no action (such as bulletins, notices, newsletters, etc.)
  • Internet browsing history, cache / temporary files, cookies, etc.
  • Mailing lists and email distribution lists
  • Meeting scheduling (provided the calendar is retained)
  • Notes taken in brainstorming sessions and meetings
  • Out-of-office email notices
  • References materials (such as news clippings, published articles, etc.)
  • Requests for basic agency information (such as business hours, driving directions, web addresses, etc.)
  • Rough / working notes that have been written up into a more formal record
  • Routing slips
  • To-do lists
  • Unsolicited information (such as junk mail, spam advertisements, etc.)
  • Workflow notifications

See State General Records Retention Schedules, Section 6. Records with Minimal Retention Value (Transitory Records) to identify further transitory records.

Always keep in mind how important it is to manage your records and information. An effective records management program allows DSHS to fulfill its mission of transforming lives by providing evidence to demonstrate we took the right action at the right time for the right reasons.

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