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The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) surveys records produced on college campuses throughout the Commonwealth, identifies the different types or series of records and gives these series a number. These records series numbers, along with a description of the series, the length of time that each series must be retained and the final disposition of the records, are listed in retention schedules.  

Some records are listed as permanent records. These series must be maintained by the University in perpetuity. Many other series and duplicate copies may be destroyed after a specified time has passed. Usually this is a fixed time period such as three years or five years after creation. Occasionally a retention period begins after a specific event such as audits, graduation or the termination of employment with the university.  The retention period for these records is measured from the time of the event, not the time the record was created.

The retention schedule that the University must use is the State University Model Records Retention Schedule (hereafter called the retention schedule).  It covers records commonly created by the University. This schedule may be revised and updated quarterly as needed.

The retention schedule lists many records as permanent and requires some of them to be sent to the University Archives. The Permanent Records Transfer Request must be completed and approved prior to the physical transfer of the records. Transfer approval from the Archives and Records Manager must be received prior to physical transfer. 

Electronic Records

When deciding what is and is not an electronic record, KDLA looks at whether or not the record can easily exist outside of the electronic environment and, at present very few records fall into this category. The basic question to ask is: Does this record have a print equivalent? Email is not considered an electronic record, it has a print equivalent as do most of the reports prepared on campus. A webpage on the other hand is "born digital", and has no such equivalent. A printed copy would not contain all the information in the electronic original. The retention period of webpages and other "born digital" documents is also covered by the State University Model Records Retention Schedule.

Unlisted Records

Records which are not expressly listed on the retention schedule cannot be destroyed without consent. A department wishing to destroy such records must receive permission from KDLA to do so. The department must complete a Record Description and Analysis form which describes the nature of the records. This form is sent to KDLA, who determines the appropriate retention time for the records. The form and instructions are available from Records and Information Management.

Litigation Holds

A litigation hold is a temporary order to halt the destruction of specific records, regardless of their retention period, preserving them for pending litigation. Legal Affairs notifies the affected department heads of any litigation holds. 

Once a litigation hold has been issued, the affected records cannot be destroyed for any reason until the hold is removed by Legal Affairs. When these records are no longer needed for litigation, Legal Affairs will remove the hold and notify the affected department heads.

Contact Legal Affairs if you have any questions concerning litigation holds.

Contact Vicki Cooper or Lois Hamill if you have any records and information management questions.