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The Art of Managing Your Files:
RMO Offers Records-Management Training Through the Year

Perhaps you've run out of file space. Maybe you can't find that report you know you wrote last year. Or you've completed a grant project and you're not sure which files to keep and which ones to toss. Each of these three problems—and many others—can be solved by records management. Now, the University's Records Management Office (RMO) is offering two new one-session training programs that will assist University personnel in managing Harvard's business records. Each program, offered at intervals throughout the year, is formatted as a brown-bag lunch—with beverages and desserts provided—held in the Harvard University Archives, located in Pusey Library in Harvard Yard.

The first program, intended for managers and department heads, defines records management and provides an overview of policies at Harvard that govern the management, retention, and destruction of University records. The program examines the role of records management in securing compliance, operational efficiency, cost reduction, and space retrieval. The program also includes information on off-site storage and on the University's General Records Schedule. Sessions are currently scheduled for 12 noon on Wednesday, November 20, and Thursday, January 30.

The second program is a "nuts and bolts" presentation for personnel who are tasked with an office clean-out or who are involved generally in sending records to either the records center or the Archives. This program presupposes a familiarity with the concept of records schedules. Accordingly, participants will concentrate on the mechanics of paperwork, packing, shipping, and retrieving records from the records center, and, ultimately, disposing of them. This program is offered at six-week intervals in the University Archives and is set for 12 noon with sessions on the following Thursdays: December 12, January 23, March 6, and April 17.

In addition, the RMO is happy to schedule additional sessions of either program on site, or tailor a program to fit the needs of individual University programs or departments with special records management needs.

The Records Management Office is a unit of the Harvard University Archives, which is charged by the University to ensure the prudent maintenance and efficient disposition of University records, consistent with sound archival standards, budgetary considerations, and legal obligations.

The Records Management Office provides general assistance to University offices in the management of their records and information holdings. RMO can offer advice and assistance in managing files and other information, on retaining and/or disposing of records, in identifying and protecting vital operating records, and in disaster planning and recovery. RMO personnel can assist offices in organizing files for more efficient information retrieval, and they can advise on the conversion of records to alternate formats. The office also arranges for the transfer of inactive records to off site storage or to the University Archives and for the destruction of obsolete records. Under the authority of the Corporation vote of March 13, 1995, the Harvard University Archives has produced the General Records Schedule (GRS), which governs the retention of records commonly held by most University offices. Supplement 1 to the General Records Schedule governs the retention of records commonly held by University libraries and archives. Harvard staff can consult the GRS online at RMO staff can also assist offices in creating special records schedules for situations not specifically governed by the GRS.

For more information, visit the RMO web site at or contact the RMO at 5-5961 or

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Last modified on Tuesday, November 19, 2002.