Records Management RM 101 Files Management
Files management ensures the efficient retrieval of information, regardless of format. An effective file plan (a blueprint for how to organize your files) can save you time and frustration when trying to locate information. A filing system consists of policies and procedures directing how files should be stored and indexed in order to ensure their retrieval, use and disposition.
Developing a file plan
A file plan should be based on classifying the records that your unit creates and organizing them in a hierarchical manner. It should be simple, logical and easy to implement; otherwise, it will be ineffective. A great example of a file plan is the UO records retention schedule. It classifies records by functional units (e.g. payroll or facilities), then within those units record series are grouped by similar types of records (e.g. admission records are grouped together in that record series in the student records section).
Remember, this file plan can be used for all records, both in paper (e.g. filing cabinets and desk drawers) and in electronic form (e.g. departmental file servers and email applications). Here is an example of a file plan based on an academic department.
How to organize records in the file plan
Groups of records within each record series can be organized based on the most appropriate method of retrieval and use. There are several types of filing schemas:
How to get staff to adopt the new system
- Training will need to occur to educate unit employees on how to appropriately use the new filing system.
- Monitoring use and compliance will ensure adoption and proper use of the filing system.
- Pull files from the system once they are inactive to save space and increase efficient retrieval.
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