FAQs

Listed below are FAQs that may answer your question. If you don't find the information you are looking for, please email URM staff

I am unfamiliar with records management. Where do I begin?

Our website lists not only the purpose and mission of University Records Management, but also has a list of services and training resources for Mason faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with their records responsibilities. In addition to links to relevant policies and regulations, you will also be able to find downloadable guides to assist you with your day-to-day records processes.

What purpose does records management serve?

Records and information management (RIM) is defined as "the professional practice of managing the records of an organization through their life cycle, from the time they are created to their eventual disposal. This includes identifying, classifying, storing, securing, retrieving, tracking, and destroying or permanently preserving records." ARMA International

Our public records serve as evidence of business conducted and as a means of transparency and accountability to our community and the citizens of Virginia. Proper records management policies and procedures protects Mason against litigation, security breaches, and loss of vital information.

Is records management mandatory?

Yes. As outlined in University Policy 1102: University Records Management, The Code of Virginia, §42.1-85, requires that Mason establish and maintain an active, continuing program for the economical and efficient management of records. George Mason University is required to adhere to all schedules published by the Library of Virginia.

All employees of Mason are responsible for ensuring that University Records are preserved, maintained, and accessible throughout their lifecycle.

What records does University Records Management monitor?

URM oversees the management of Mason’s public records.

"Public record" or "record" means recorded information that documents a transaction or activity by or with any public officer, agency or employee of an agency. Code of Virginia §42.1-77

Mason’s public records are not limited to any specific format and may be assigned either a temporary or permanent disposition. 

What is the role of a Records Coordinator?

The purpose of the role of the Records Coordinator, as required by University Policy 1102: Records Management, is to ensure there is a liaison within each department with knowledge of the University's records management responsibilities, policies, and available services. An assigned Records Coordinator is not in charge of records management for their department, but is aware of the offices and/or individuals who can advise or provides services to assist with the department's implementation of best records management practices.

Do retention and disposition requirements apply only to paper records?

No. All temporary university records, including email, other types of electronic records, and audio-visual materials, are subject to Library of Virginia retention and disposition schedules.

If I digitize my paper records, does it reset the retention and disposition time period?

No. When paper records are digitized, the electronic version becomes the official record to which the same retention and disposition schedules are applied.

Example: A paper record with a three-year retention schedule is eligible for destruction on July 1, 2024, but the department decides to digitize it on December 5, 2023 to save space. The electronic version is still eligible for destruction on July 1, 2024.

How long do I need to retain my records?

Retention lengths will vary depending on the classification of your records. The Library of Virginia site hosts lists of general state retention schedules available for quick reference. However, we encourage you to contact our office for further assistance.

According to the Library of Virginia retention and disposition schedules, my records must be kept permanently. Does University Records Management accept these records for storage?

URM does not store records with permanent retention. Depending on the record type, the records must be maintained in the department/unit or a consultation with the University Archivist must be scheduled to determine if they are archival. Please reach out to URM to discuss your situation.

Are there fees for University Records Management services?

Paper storage and destruction services are currently free. Media destruction must be scheduled and covered by the department as we are unable to provide this service at this time.

Does University Records Management offer storage or records destruction services?  

[Please be advised that storage services are suspended indefinitely and shredding intake is limited at this time.]

Yes. Secure storage at the University Records Center and confidential shredding of paper records are offered free of charge. We require all offices and schools to follow the same procedure regardless if records are for storage or immediate destruction. Please see our services page for further information.