Main Nav

End Of Feature Notice:
The Wiki page feature has been deprecated on the EDUCAUSE website. Wikis will be removed from this site within 30 days and re-established in Google Docs. A re-direct notice of the new location will be posted for 30 days. If you have any questions, please contact


To provide a practical set of resources that will assist members of the higher education community in addressing related issues of electronic records management, e-discovery, and data retention on their own campuses.  


We all create and use information every day. Taking care of that information (in all its many forms) is an effort requiring shared responsibility by each member of a specific community. Just figuring out where to start and what needs to be done can be a time-consuming task.

Some institutions have done a lot of work in this area, while others have just gotten started, and still others have done little or nothing. We all have an opportunity to learn from and share with each other. This set of resources is intended to be a collaborative and evolving effort. Please use this forum to share what you have done! It might be just what someone else is looking for. If you have questions or comments regarding this toolkit, or if you'd like to contribute your own material, please contact the Higher Education Information Security Council.

This toolkit will provide valuable information on the following areas:


Interest in records and information management (RIM) continues to increase among university & college leadership due to new compliance regulations and statutes. The growing number of corporate scandals and government incidents involving questionable or deficient records management practices have raised general awareness of and created a critical interest in records compliance, retention period requirements, litigation preparedness, data security & privacy, and many other records and information management issues.

Records management is often seen as an unnecessary or low priority administrative task that can be performed at the lowest levels within an organization. However, this perception is changing as these publicized events have demonstrated that records management is in fact the responsibility of all individuals within an organization.

Electronic Records Management

The general principles of records and information management apply to records in any media, form and format. However, the complex attributes of electronic records (also called digital records) present specific issues that records stored in paper and microfilm do not typically share. For example, it is more difficult to ensure that the content, context and structure of electronic records is preserved and protected.

Several concepts are critical when addressing Electronic Records Management. A simple way to think about it is to imagine all information existing within a lifecycle. From the moment of creation until the time it is no longer needed, information should be managed with care according to a variety of factors, including sensitivity, confidentiality, and desired longevity.  

Information Life Cycle Graphic


Within the information lifecycle, information may take different forms over time. Records are one type of information. Electronic records are those records that have been created or stored using electronic systems.

Records may be grouped into classes according to a variety of factors. Common factors include, but are not limited to, record type, sensitivity, confidentiality, and desired longevity.

Based on those classifications, records can then be scheduled according to their required or desired retention periods, and their recommended method of disposition. In addition, certain classes of records may only be appropriate for access by certain members of a community. Almost all records are subject to discovery. 

The entire process by which an organization creates, classifies, controls, and authorizes access to electronic records is known as Electronic Records Management.

Related Topics


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.


Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center

Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management



Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.


EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas



Join These Programs If Your Focus Is


Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.



2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations

Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.