Records Management and Archives Handbook: Records Retention


Each record has a life cycle that includes four distinct stages: creation, maintenance and use, retention, and disposition. This policy addresses retention.

Marywood University’s Records Management and Archives policy obligates departments to retain their record copies and non-record copies of University records for specific time periods as designated in official records retention schedules.

Electronic records require taking additional action to ensure their protection. For long-term retention, magnetic media such as floppy disks are unacceptable because their instability makes them unreliable. Instead, electronic records should be burned onto optical disks—CDs or DVDs—and also copied to the University’s administrative server. In addition, for electronic records that require retention of three years or longer, each department documents a plan to migrate the data to upgraded versions of the appropriate software programs.


Electronic Records are records stored on electronic storage media that can be readily accessed or changed. Some examples of electronic records are e-mail messages; all types of files and folders stored on a computer’s hard drive, floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, and microfilm; and files and folders that have been copied to the University’s administrative server.


  1. Once a records retention schedule has been authorized, Department Records Coordinators throughout the University look up the retention schedule in the Records Retention Schedules database on the Marywood University Records Management and Archives Website.
  2. Department Records Coordinators review their departments’ records retention schedules at least annually.
    • If a records retention schedule lists the Records Coordinator’s department as the Record Copy Holder, then the Records Coordinator checks the Record Copy Retention field.
    • If the retention schedule lists another department as the Record Copy Holder, then the Records Coordinator checks the Other Copy (non-record copy) Retention field.
  3. The Department Records Coordinator retains the records for the designated retention period and then disposes of records with the approval of the Head of the Department. See Records Disposition.