Understanding records management


Records are all forms of information that, regardless of their format or physical features, are created, received, recorded, or legally filed in the course of the University’s activities. Records serve as evidence of the University’s functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, organization, and other activities. Records also serve as historical resources.

Records may be either paper or digital, however most records are now being created electronically from email, word-processing files, web pages, and an assortment of other electronic formats.

Most records serve as evidence of what happened and who was involved in a decision making process. They also show what recommendations or instructions were given, or the order in which events and decisions were made.



The University has Records Schedules that detail proper retention and disposal of records. Records are not to be destroyed before they have met their retention requirements. Some records may be retained for short periods (routine administrative records for example) while others may be retained permanently (transcripts, executive committee minutes, as well as others). Please consult the University Records Schedules for appropriate retention periods before disposing of records. If you do not see your records, please consult the Records Management Office.

Not all records need to be destroyed as they may hold historical value and should be transferred to the University Archives for preservation of the University’s history.

For further information on how to transfer records to the Archives Unit, contact UBC Archives.

For general records retention, policy, procedures, and safe keeping, contact us.



Since all records in storage are assets of the University, they must be readily accessible for the entire period that these are retained.



All university records should be kept securely but particular care should be taken with records containing personal information.

In order to protect and properly secure your files from deletion, tampering, or loss units may wish to consult with the Records Management Office on how to best protect your records.

You should also make sure that only certain staff/faculty are able to delete, destroy, or modify documentation that is consider vital for the operational business of the University. It is recommended that records are only accessible by authorized staff/faculty that do legitimate business with each unit.


The University as a whole is responsible for the proper management of our records, however, managers and supervisors must promote secure records management practices within their unit/faculty. This can be done by

  • Clearly communicating the importance of record keeping practices to all
  • Encouraging staff to ask questions and participate in the records management decision-making process
  • Encouraging record keeping practices at all levels of the unit/faculty
  • Consulting with thw  Records Management Office for the latest record management processes and practices