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Records Management

What is Records Management?

All College records are the property of Bowdoin College and are subject to records retention schedules that dictate what records must be kept and for how long. Records management is the practice of managing records throughout their life cycle and according to records management schedules. For further information see the "Records Authority Statement," approved by the Executive Committee of the Governing Boards of Bowdoin College, June 10, 1994.

Why is records management important?

Effective records management ensures that college records of enduring legal, administrative and historical value will be preserved and made accessible to all who need them, and that unnecessary records will be systematically destroyed.

What is a College record?

All recorded information and data, regardless of physical format, that are created or received in the course of official College business. See our Records Management Glossary for more information and a records related glossary.

What are retention schedules?

Retention schedules are documents created by the Archives, in consultation with the appropriate College officer(s), that define particular groups of College records, indicate when those records become inactive, specify whether or not they should be transferred to the Archives for temporary or permanent storage and whether they are subject to confidential destruction, and stipulate what access restrictions apply to their use. Retention periods and ultimate disposition for these records are based on legal, administrative and institutional considerations.

Where can I find retention schedules that apply to my records?

All current retention schedules are listed here.  Please call the Archivist (207-725-3374) if you have questions about how the schedules apply to your records, or if you need a site visit to determine a new records schedule.

When can I dispose of confidential records that are no longer needed?

Confidential destruction may be scheduled if:

  • The records are no longer required for day-to-day or ongoing work (inactive).
  • The records do not have enduring legal, administrative or historical value and therefore do not need to be kept permanently (see schedules or call x3374 with questions).
  • The records have been kept for the requisite amount of time according to retention schedules.
How do I dispose of confidential records?

Please complete our confidential destruction request form. The College has a contract with a commercial service (currently Iron Mountain) to have sensitive records disposed of confidentially and the Archives coordinates and schedules this service. Contact the Archives (207-725-3288 or email us) with any questions.

Important things to know:

  • Boxes of records may be transferred to the Archives for secure storage prior to confidential destruction pick-up, or If there is a large volume of material, we can arrange for Iron Mountain to pick-up onsite. Either way, please plan ahead. It can take a few days to schedule Iron Mountain to do a pick up.
  • Secure on-site destruction bins/consoles are available from Iron Mountain on request; these are useful for offices that routinely handle sensitive records that require immediate confidential destruction.  Call 207-725-3374 or 207-725-3288 when the bin is full and needs replaced.
  • Records boxes are available in the archives to pack and store materials (call 207-725-3288 or 207-725-3374).
  • Completed transfer forms are required documentation for all records, whether they are picked up onsite or transferred to the Archives. Call the Archives to request blank forms.
  • Pack records into boxes and complete a records transfer form; only one form is necessary per transfer of materials with the same retention. Call with questions about form.
  • Packed boxes may be hand carried to the archives, or submit a work order to Facilities to transport the records.
  • All records sent for confidential destruction, or transferred to the Archives, are tracked in the Archives accessions database and stored in a secure area.
  • Records that will eventually be destroyed are not processed in any way and are open only to the records creator until they are shredded.
  • Inactive records that are not ready for immediate confidential destruction may be transferred to the Archives where they will be stored until their scheduled destruction date (delayed confidential destruction).
Who should I contact with records management questions?

Contact the Archives (207-725-3288, email us) with questions about College records, setting up an office visit for records review, or to arrange a confidential destruction pickup.