Glossary of Records Management Terms

Active records

Needed to carry on the daily activities of an office. They are referred to at least once a year.

Container list

An ordered list of the files in each box.

Core records series

Records series that document the core or unique functions of a department or office.

Documentation plan

Based on institutional or departmental analysis, the documentation plan identifies specific records series for preservation.

Finding aid

A reference tool that describes the content of a collection and provides a means to help users locate needed records and information.

Inactive records

Although not referred to on a daily basis, are necessary to protect the integrity of an organization.

Records series

A records series is a body of file units or documents arranged in accordance with a unified filing system or maintained as a unit because of their creation, function, physical form or use throughout their life cycle. Typical records series include minutes, annual reports, correspondence, project files, and maps. The key idea is that they form a series because they have an internal consistency or coherency. The concept of records series is the basis for managing records.

Vital records

Records neccessary to continue the existance and basic functioning of the organization. Types of vital records include governing board minutes and student transcripts. Vital records are usually irreplaceable.