Take home message: All employees are responsible for organizing their work-related records so that they are accessible to others in the University with a legitimate need to access that information – and for doing their part to preserve any University records that have enduring historical value.
- University records are all records that are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by U-M administrators, U-M faculty acting in administrative capacities, and staff of U-M units in the performance of their official University function – regardless of their form (e.g. hard copy or digital records).
- Standard Practice Guide (SPG) 601.08: University Archives and Records, in conjunction with the Records Policy and Procedure Manual, provides the guiding principles for U-M’s handling of University Archives and Records. However, this SPG does not address U-M’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or student records legislation: see our pages on Access & FOIA and Student Records for information on those topics. Standard Practice Guide (SPG) 601.8-1 provides additional guidance related to the identification, maintenance and preservation of digital records; and
- The Institutional Data Resource Management Policy (SPG 601.12) provides guidance on the stewardship and protection of U-M’s institutional data resources.
- The Standard Practice Guide on Privacy and the Need to Monitor and Access Records (SPG 601.11) defines the rights, responsibilities and expectations of the University and its employees regarding the conditions under which they may access records and monitor record systems. For more information about privacy requirements for different types of University records, see the Privacy & Confidentiality compliance page.
- The University Archives & Records Program, housed at the Bentley Historical Library, maintains records of the University and related materials that are selected, preserved, and made accessible for their enduring historical and administrative value. Each department has a responsibility to identify, transfer, preserve and promote access to such important records.
- The Records Policy and Procedure Manual gives guidance for U-M units on how to maintain well-organized files, in anticipation of transferring appropriate inactive University records to the archives. This Manual includes guidance on all aspects of records management, including procedures for managing and preserving records in digital form.
- All U-M employees have a stewardship responsibility, which includes safeguarding the University’s information. These information stewardship responsibilities summarize the key obligations around the proper storage, use, protection and management of University data and records. In particular, all employees are responsible for organizing their work-related records so that they are accessible to others in the University with a legitimate business need to access that information. See also the Faculty Handbook, Part 12.F on Faculty Record Keeping.
- Research data that is created by U-M employees using resources controlled by the University is a university asset – and as such, holders of research data should ensure the data is accessible to the University and is managed appropriately (per SPG 601.11 and SPG 601.12). For more information, see the Office of the General Counsel’s Guidelines for Access to and Use of Research Data, the University Library’s collation of resources for Research Data Management and Publication Support, and the Data Sharing Resource Center maintained by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP).
- For more information about granting access to University records, including through subpoenas and Freedom of Information, see the Access & FOIA compliance page.
- The University creates a great deal of historical records which need to be retained for future reference and future generations and made accessible for their historical and administrative value. See the University Archives and Records Program website for more information and guidance.
- All employees are responsible for organizing their work-related records so that they are accessible to those others in the University with a legitimate business need to access that information. This is something you should establish with your manager and work team.
- As a general rule, you should only be accessing information or records when you have a legitimate need to know or access that information – for instance, only accessing student records when there is a legitimate educational purpose, and only accessing U-M business records when there is a legitimate business purpose.
For assistance with the management or archiving of University Records, including help identifying and transferring records for preservation within the University Archives, contact the University Archives and Records Program by emailing them or calling (734) 764-3482.
For information specifically about research data, and how to manage it, see the list of contacts maintained within the Office of the General Counsel’s Guidelines for Access to and Use of Research Data (contacts listed at bottom of page).
Established 3/4/11, last updated 3/1/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated