TO SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTION: How can I decide what should be saved for
the Archives and what should be thrown away?
ANSWER: Guidelines in "What To Keep? What To Toss?" have
been prepared to assist both administrators and secretaries
in knowing what records are of permanent historical value.
In general, documents or correspondence that (1) deal with
or explain policy, (2) give special counsel, (3) deal with
administrative or personnel problems, or (4) illustrate the
how or why of your office's functions are
of permanent value.
QUESTION: We have some very old records and I feel
I should go through them to condense and "weed" them before
sending them to the Records Center, but I don't have time
and I don't know what to take out and what to leave in.
ANSWER: A Records Center staff member can assist you in carrying
out proper sorting procedures; however, it is better to transfer
files the way they are than to "weed" without the proper background,
possibly destroying potentially valuable records. Please call
the Records Center, 5031 or 5024, if you have any questions
or need help.
QUESTION: Shouldn't the head of the department go
through the files before they are transferred to the Records
ANSWER: Usually not. Those who have been working with the
records may not have the objectivity to evaluate their future
archival value. Professional archivists state that the selection
of records for historical preservation must be handled by
the archivist. The Archives, Statistics, and Research Committee also
has guidelines for preservation of records.
QUESTION: Shouldn't we save out sensitive records?
The only criterion for "saving out" records is the frequency
of need to refer to them. If you refer to them once a month
or more do not transfer them to the Records Center. Sensitive
records should be discussed with the Archivist and clearly
marked or listed, but they must
be removed from their place in the file prior to transfer.
The Records Center staff will remove them later. No
other office has access to your records without your permission
for at least ten years. Remember, all
material produced in the line of work at the General Conference
belongs to the organization. You do not have the freedom to
hold back or destroy anything
of this kind without prior authorization from the Archives, Statistics, and Research Committee.
QUESTION: What assurance do we have that private
and/or sensitive materials will not fall into the wrong hands?
ANSWER: Until material is at least ten years old, it is kept
in the Records Center. ONLY the office that
placed it there will have access to it. Your records will
receive the same care as those from Presidential or Secretariat.