Records Management and Archives Handbook: Vital Records


The Head of the Department is responsible for implementing an approved Vital Records Protection Plan to preserve all vital records in his or her custody.

Marywood University has three approved Vital Records Protection Plans:

  • Vital Record Protection Plan A

    • Store the records in fire- and water-resistant cabinets.

  • Vital Record Protection Plan B

    • Digitally image originals.
    • Back up the images in Administrative Computing for restricted on-campus access.
    • Burn the images onto a CD or DVD, and make a copy on a separate CD or DVD.

  • Vital Record Protection Plan C

    • Outsource Vital Record Protection Plan B.


Vital Records are records identified as essential for the continuation or survival of the organization if a disaster strikes. Such records are necessary to re-create the organization's legal and financial status and to determine the rights and obligations of students and employees (adapted from ARMA International, the Association of Information Management Professionals).


  1. During the Department Records Survey and Inventory, some of the department’s records may be classified as vital records. In order to classify a record or series as vital, the reason for this status, according to the definition of Vital Records, is stated on the Records Inventory form.
  2. The Head of the Department determines which approved Vital Records Protection Plan to implement for each vital records series.
  3. The department carries out the chosen plan. Marywood University’s Computer Training and User Support Department provides workshops in Scanning Basics and Backing Up Your Files, as well as documentation on backing up files.