Subject: Record Management Practices

Effective: 6/26/00

Last Revised: 6/1/2023

Purpose Statement/Background

The purpose of this APL is to establish the requirements by which University Records (as defined below) will be managed by the University of Maine System. Without a formal record management office in the University of Maine System, each functional unit is responsible for upholding the requirements stated in this APL.

A systematic record retention and destruction program will reduce litigation costs and reduce exposure to legal, financial, and other liability.

All records in the possession of an institution are subject to scrutiny upon threat or start of a lawsuit (otherwise known as litigation). An institution that has not routinely destroyed obsolete and/or unneeded records may be required to produce them, which may significantly increase legal costs. Depending on the context, the contents of old documents may be damaging and expose an institution to needless reputational or other liability. Institutions are presumed to be acting in good faith when destroying records in accordance with an established and regular retention and destruction schedule, provided destruction does not occur while a lawsuit or other legal proceeding is anticipated, pending, or in process.

Indefinite or sporadic destruction of records may contribute to administration burdens, including increased physical and electronic storage costs, increased security exposure and costs, and other negative impacts including poor productivity resulting from over-retention.

For some record categories, the minimum length of time information is to be retained is defined by federal and state law. Frequently, the same data is required for more than one purpose, each with different retention periods. In these cases, the records should be retained for the longest period to ensure compliance with all laws.


This policy applies to all public and protected records generated in the course of the Universities’ operations, including both original documents and reproductions, regardless of format.

Included are any written, printed, graphic, mechanical, or electronic records that have been received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of University business.

This APL applies to all University functional units and workforce members.


University Record

University records are data or information that are created or received by the institution and are material, essential, or necessary for the transaction of its official business. Records can be in many different formats (e.g., written documents, electronic data); this APL applies to all records regardless of physical form or format.

Records do not include information that is related to personal matters that may have been kept in an office or electronically for convenience. Records do not include reference material or  working copies and drafts of completed records. Duplicate records, extra copies of records, or derivatives of records with no additional information are not considered records. Though some transmittal letters and other transaction documents communicated in email are considered records, for most individuals email is not considered a record subject to retention or other requirements of this APL.

Systems of Record

Systems of Record are any official physical or electronic locations or methods of storage designated by a functional unit to house records within its control. A functional unit may maintain records on more than one system of record, but each record will have one system of record.

Examples of Systems of Record

  • Student registration and enrollment records are created and officially stored in the University’s Student Information System as the system of record, although other systems may be used for activities such as admissions and advising.
  • Employee administrative payroll records are created and officially stored in the University’s Human Capital Management system.
  • A repository of scanned personnel and student records is maintained in the University’s imaging system.
  • Conduct reports and investigations are created and officially stored in the UMS Conduct Case Management System.
  • Some health records are officially stored in an approved cloud-based system of record, the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.
  • For non-electronic records, a file system within a functional unit may be the system of record.

This list of examples only highlights a few systems to illustrate the variety.  Many other systems of record exist.


University employees are responsible for following this APL and working within their functional units to determine which documents are considered records. The following processes describe responsible actions needed per the attached schedule.

Record Keeping

Because the universities consist of many diverse but complementary functions, record requirements vary greatly.  Therefore, functional units are responsible for determining the System of Record where the records are to be maintained.  Functional units are to work with other functional units to determine who is the record keeper when key information is shared among groups.

Retention of Records

Records shall be maintained according to the attached record schedule. The schedule is representative, but not exhaustive, of the record types to be maintained.

Additional copies of records are not considered university records. Retention is only required for the record that is kept in the system of record. To the extent possible, copies of records should be limited, and should never be kept longer than the system of record.

University Records must be maintained in official University repositories (i.e., Systems of Record) that are located on or contracted for by the University. University Records are not to be stored on employees’ personally-owned devices.

Destruction of Records

Functional units are to destroy all University Records within 1 year after the relevant record retention expiration date as stated in the attached schedule, unless subject to an Exception as provided below or if targeted disposal is not reasonably feasible due to the manner in which the information is maintained. Destruction of records on enterprise systems may involve coordination among functional units and Information Technology support functions to implement automated tools and rules for destruction.

The appropriate method of destruction depends on the record’s physical form or medium and subject matter or content. Functional units shall be responsible for establishment of Record review and destruction procedures appropriate for that unit, in accordance with this APL, the Data Classification APL (VI-I), and the Employee Protection of Data APL (VI-C), and with consultation as needed by the Information Security Office.

Copies of records and documents derived from records are not to be retained in the place of destroyed records. Copies of records should be destroyed in line with the destruction requirements for the original.


Legal Holds. In the event of pending or reasonably anticipated litigation, the University will impose a “litigation hold,” which will be communicated to all persons who the University has reason to believe may be in possession of doc​​uments that are either relevant or may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence pertaining to the case. The imposition of a “litigation hold” means that all retention periods are suspended for applicable documents and no such documents shall be destroyed or altered until notification that the litigation matter has been concluded.

Current Audit or Investigation. Records that are being examined by an internal or external auditor or investigator shall not be destroyed until the audit or investigation is complete.

Contractual Retention Periods. If a contractual agreement provides that certain records will be kept for a period that is longer than the established retention period, the period specified in the agreement shall apply.

Historical Retention Purpose. If records are determined to be of historic value to the University, the administrative manager should consult with their campus University Archivist to designate those records that are archival and discuss the potential of their transfer to the University Archive for permanent preservation.

Business Purpose. Records reasonably necessary for ongoing ordinary business or departmental use.  For more information about archiving, see the “archiving” section below.

Responsibility for establishing exceptions other than Legal Holds and Audits/Investigations shall be with the functional unit upon proper consultation with other offices as needed to ensure general consistency of University records management practices and compliance with applicable law and/or regulation. Exceptions that result in retention of records for a period shorter than what is prescribed by applicable law or regulation shall not be established or applied. Functional units must maintain a record of any exception applied during the course of the unit’s records management practices.


University archivists are responsible for preserving records for historical purposes.  Examples of archival records may include:

  • Accreditation records documenting the accreditation review by external governing boards, associations, and agencies. Including: program narratives and statistics, evaluations, final accreditation reports, and recommendations.
  • Annual budget and financial reports for the university.
  • Annual university catalogs.
  • Biographical information on administrators, faculty, and staff maintained by departments. Including: Curricula Vitae, clippings, press releases, and photographs.
  • Building construction and major maintenance records. Including: maps and architectural drawings.
  • Committee and meeting records for university-wide boards/committees/governance groups. Including: charges, agendas, meeting minutes, list of members, reports, and supporting material.
  • Communications received and generated by senior administrators pertaining to the administrative and fiscal operations of the university.
  • Final versions of unit publications. Including: annual reports, brochures, audit reports, newsletters, and self-studies.
  • Marketing and event records, such as anniversaries, commencement, building dedications, and presidential inaugurations. Including: programs and photographs.
  • Records documenting executive actions, decisions, and interactions with key officials of the university.
  • Records documenting the development of programs, curricula, student organizations, or special projects.
  • University-wide articles of incorporation and bylaws.
  • University-wide policies and procedures.

This is a list of examples: other similar records may be considered archival, and some records in these categories will not be of historical value. For questions about archival records related to the University of Maine, the University of Maine at Machias, and the University of Maine System contact the University Archivist ( For the University of Southern Maine contact Special Collections ( For the University of Maine at Augusta contact Library Services ( For the University of Maine at Farmington contact Library Services ( For the University of Maine at Fort Kent contact Library Services (

Record Retention Schedule

The retention schedule is included with this APL as a separate document with links to each section. Schedule sections are organized by topic and not an indication of the responsible functional unit. The schedule establishes the minimum retention periods for the representative record types included within it, which periods are based on business use as well as applicable law and regulation. In some instances, record types may have been assigned a default retention period that may not apply in all circumstances.

Functional units are strongly encouraged to routinely provide feedback to the administrators of this APL as the procedures are implemented and reviewed. This feedback will then be used to align all record types appearing in the schedule with appropriate retention standards. Per the above outlined procedure, individual exceptions for functional units may be applied so as to modify the retention period shown in the schedule. Occasionally a record type may have numerous exceptions being applied that show cause for adjustment of the retention period provided in the schedule.

As stated above, the schedule is representative, but not exhaustive, of the record types to be maintained. Units may establish, as accompanied by appropriate documentary record, retention periods for record types not appearing in the schedule or may request that additional record types be included. Record categories and types may be added, removed, or changed within the schedule from time to time without revision to this APL.


The Office of General Counsel and the Information Security Office are jointly responsible for the contents of this APL. Questions about this APL or suggestions for improvement should be directed to one of these offices. These offices periodically revisit the record retention practices and make modifications to this APL with appropriate input from the Universities. 

Approved: Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration

Links to Schedule:

Human Resources Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Student Records Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Finance Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Procurement, Accounts Payable, and Sponsored Programs Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Health, Safety, and Environmental Records Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Institutional Records Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Law School Recommended Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

Master List Schedule (Excel Spreadsheet)

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