TO KEEP? WHAT TO TOSS?
Some of the records in your office have a lasting significance;
others may be useful for reference for a number of years;
still others may have only temporary value or importance.
The time to make decisions about what can be discarded after
a year or two is when you first read or file the records.
Mark such records at this time with a "D" in the upper right
hand corner so that when you are ready to transfer them
to the Records Center you can quickly pull these records
and discard them, avoiding the necessity of studying the
records again. Doing this will also make it easier for your
successor, if you should leave or be transferred. If you
are new to an office and inherit files that you are not
familiar with and that your predecessor has not marked,
do as much preliminary work on the files as you can, then
transfer the files as is to the Records Center with an explanatory
note on the Transfer Record.
If you are filing your records electronically mark your
temporary or "D" records with the extension .tmp
or put them in a temporary file or directory. Later your
temporary files will be easy to tag and delete. Do not cull
electronic records that have not been marked as temporary
or been put into a directory designated as temporary, any
savings is not worth the cost and time.
The following are some guidelines to help you in making
decisions on what files should be considered temporary.
do not apply to administrative offices in Presidential,
Secretariat, and Treasury or to department and service directors,
whose total files have lasting historical
and administrative value.
1. Correspondence dealing with development
or interpretation of policies; doctrinal or administrative
problems; evaluations of personnel, projects, or methods;
and development of programs.
2. Correspondence giving factual information,
data, summaries, statistics, and experiences.
3. Correspondence with leading administrators,
except categories noted later.
4. Correspondence relating to travel,
if it gives information about plans for a major meeting
or field program, and the final itinerary
schedule for all trips.
5. A set of all form letters sent by your
6. A sampling of certain types of general correspondence,
to illustrate concerns of your office. Contact Records Center
for more information.
7. All minutes produced or received by
8. All reference or case files created
for specific purposes and used regularly during the development
or solving of a problem or case.
9. Topical files containing collected
materials closely related to the work of your office.
10. A set of all published or duplicated materials
produced or promoted by your office.
11. Other SDA published or duplicated materials
of documentary or informational nature.
12. All audiovisual items produced or
promoted by your office.
13. Certain financial reports that provide
year-end or summary type of information.
1. Routine requests and acknowledgment
for catalogs, brochures, or other stocked items.
2. Routine requests for your office's
services, acknowledgments, and letters
of appreciation, except when letter also deals
with more significant matters.
3. Routine or circular memos from other
4. Routine correspondence dealing with
5. Non-SDA published or duplicated materials,
unless they have major impact on your work.
6. Many financial records, such as purchase
orders, receipts, check requests, canceled checks, monthly
financial statements, etc. Refer to your retention schedule.