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University Information / Records

Everyday at KU, faculty, staff and students create, manage and use information in their work, their learning, and their personal lives. Information fuels the University and all of us play an important role in its management to ensure it is kept safe, available for its intended use, and preserved for the future. Here are some of the key concepts and programs that help us manage University information today.

University information is data collected or managed by the University to support University activities. University information includes official KU records as well as other data and documents. Information fuels the University and all of us play an important role to ensure it is kept safe, available for its intended use, and preserved when necessary for the future.

  • Records Management
    What are Records?

    Generally, records are information that either results from the conduct of an official activity, or that is employed in the course of planning and/or decision making prior to such activity. As an agency of the State of Kansas, KU creates and utilizes state government records. Consequently, the University is required to develop and to maintain a records management program that ensures the preservation of state government records.

    A more formal definition of a record in this context is found in the Government Records Preservation Act (K.S.A. 45, Sec.402-d):

    "Government records" means all volumes, documents, reports, maps, drawings, charts, indexes, plans, memoranda, sound recordings, microforms, photographic records and other data, information or documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, storage media or condition of use, made or received by an agency in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of official business of bearing upon the official activities and function of any governmental agency.

    Examples of records are found throughout the University. The following are non-exhaustive examples of the functions to create or utilize the information reflected in records at KU and other universities:

    • Student administration (grades, financial aid information, health information, … )
    • Research administration (grant application process information, award management data, findings, … )
    • Academic administration (course catalogs and lists, library patron information, … )
    • General administration (human resources information, financial/budget information, affiliates, … )

    It is important to remember that records include relevant information in all formats.

    What is Records Management?

    A significant component of information management involves the management of records. Records Management is a program of activities and resources that enables us to address all aspects of the life cycle of records: creation, identification, archiving, preserving and destruction.

    The International Standards Organization (ISO) defines records management as “… the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence and information about the business activities and transactions in the form of records.” [ISO 15489]

    Records Management at KU – Then and Now?

    KU has a long history of managing its records. The University Archives has gathered, organized, and preserved KU’s official record since its inception in 1969. Prior to that time, departments around KU attempted to manage records locally as best as possible. Unfortunately, many early records were lost in the absence of coordination. However, some early KU documents were identified and kept by various offices and eventually brought to the Archives for proper preservation and storage.

    The proliferation of electronic information and ‘born digital’ records now presents another challenge – integrating electronic records into the processes that protect and preserve them as evidence of the University’s activities.

    What are the benefits of Records Management?

    A program to manage KU’s large and complex body of records is an institution-wide undertaking that will involve considerable time and effort. There are a number of important benefits to KU in this challenging endeavor:

    • Complies with required state mandates to establish and maintain systematic records management;
    • Promotes appropriate access to information supporting university functions and decision making;
    • Reduces risk to the university by promoting secure handling and management of protected and mission-critical information assets;
    • Reduces risk to persons and entities associated with the university by reducing unauthorized access to private information;
    • Promotes staff confidence in their handling and custodianship of records by establishing effective practices and policies;
    • Provides documentation and location of university information in the event of legal or other official inquiry or action;
    • Provides critical information support for operational continuity in the event of disaster or crisis;
    • Protects and preserves information for historical and institutional research;
    • Allows for better space and technology resource management by defining the appropriate removal and disposition of records no longer required for current operations;
    • Promotes general operational efficiency by minimizing departmental guesswork and duplication of effort in records description, control, and storage.

    What is involved in Records Management?

    Several activities or tasks are characteristic of a sustained records management program. These include:

    • Records Inventory/Survey – Identification of the University’s records, their location, use, format, access restrictions/requirements, and other pertinent characteristics.
    • Retention and Disposition Schedule – Articulates the length of retention in active or inactive storage prior to destruction or permanent retention. These periods vary depending on the nature of the records, their active useful life, and legal/statutory limitations that may apply to retention.
    • Training – Ensuring that staff has sufficient knowledge of records handling and retention requirements.
    • Policy – Development and implementation of effective policies to ensure compliance with retention and destruction requirements, as well as for storing records for long-term preservation.

    What are the roles associated with Records Management (and how does it affect me)?

    There are several roles played in records management across the university. Records management is everyone’s business, as most of the university’s faculty and staff (as well as many student workers) routinely interact with records. There are specific roles played that illustrate the breadth of records management at KU.

    • Information Custodians. Everyone who encounters records in the performance of their work at KU is a custodian of the records they use, create, interpret, transmit, or dispose of.
    • Information Stewards. Typically senior administrators and academic leaders (Dean level) who have responsibility for major functional areas relying on and utilizing information to perform the university’s work. They have high-level responsibility for promoting awareness and compliance with relevant practices and policies related to records management.
    • Information Management Policy Group.

      High-level administrative and academic representatives providing institution-wide perspective and advice in policy development and program outcomes evaluation of the Information Management Program (including Records Management).

      IM Policy Group Membership

    • Records Officer. Required by state statute, the Records Officer provides leadership and oversight of records management activities involving state government records (inventory, retention schedule, training, and policy) in association with others described above.

      Information Services Policies & Policy Development

    • Privacy Officer. Required by some federal and state statutes, the Privacy Officer oversees compliance with Federal, state and local law and regulations, including training and education, on the privacy of records. Additionally this person handles the issues surrounding breach, theft or loss of records that are created, used, or managed by the university and its constituents.

      KU Privacy Office


    Who is Responsible for Records Management?
    Primary responsibility for records management program and the activities associated with it lies with Information Services and the Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer (who serves as KU’s Records Officer). Because of the broad nature of this work, collaboration across KU is an essential requirement of a successful and sustained records management effort.

    For more information about Records Management at KU, please contact informationmanagement@ku.edu.

    KU Record Retention Schedule:
    General Records Retention Schedule

  • University Archives
    The University Archives is the repository for records of enduring value officially made or received by the University of Kansas and for other materials of historical value related to the functions of the University. University Archives

    This rich repository documents not only the official aspects of life at the University of Kansas but also student activities, athletics, music, theater and dance, and what life "on the hill" means and has meant to the University community for nearly 150 years. Included are the papers from the Office of the Chancellor, student records, and all other University departments, publications such as newspapers, journals, yearbooks, and newsletters, photographic material including prints, slides and negatives, motion picture film, video and audio tape, phonograph records, architectural drawings and plans, scrapbooks and memorabilia.

  • Scholarly Communication
    The creation, dissemination, and application of new knowledge are fundamental to the development of an informed citizenry and a healthy global economy. Institutions of higher education exist to fulfill these functions.
    Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing

    Scholarly communication through publication, dissemination and preservation of discovered knowledge ensures that important research is widely available to a global audience. Creating services for scholarly communication that meet the needs of current and future researchers, teachers, and students requires the active cooperation of faculty, librarians, and publishers.

  • Intellectual Property

    The Information Management Program is a KU endeavor to identify university information assets, classify those information assets, provide resources and tools for the handling and maintenance of the information assets, and educate the KU community in dealing with the information assets in a global program.

    The information assets owned by the University must be kept safe, available and preserved. The Kansas Board of Regents has set forth the policy on intellectual property (IP) ownership. The KU IP policy defines the ownership of the intellectual property produced in the performance of the teaching, research and service missions of the University.


    The IM Program is designed to deal with information assets both owned by the University and under the University’s veil when furthering its mission to provide teaching research and service to Kansas. The IM Program is not meant to dictate the ownership of data or information, but rather to direct the handling and maintenance of that information to carry on the enterprise’s business.

    For questions concerning the ownership of resources, please check with the Office of the General Counsel.

    Office of the General Counsel

  • Information Life Cycle Management
    Information Management and the Life Cycle of University Information

    The life cycle of information is dynamic. In a world that is increasingly “born digital” the three primary and overlapping activities that contribute to this information lifecycle are: create, manage and use.

    Creation entails human activities such as writing, performing, presenting, designing, publishing, or reporting. Computer systems also create information as new data services are created, as data-entry occurs in departments across campus, or as transactions between people and the university take place. As new information is created, we must also think about how it will be made accessible, to whom, for how long, and whether it is information that is confidential or carries other restrictions as a result of licensing or copyright provisions.

    As information creation happens, it will lead to many questions about information management. Will the information need to be saved as an electronic file or record? Is the material of a confidential nature that can only be shared among a limited audience? Does it have legal or historical significance that requires that it be kept and accessed for an unlimited time into the future? What is the appropriate format? Where should it be stored? The choices made in creation affect how information can be used and managed over time.

    Managing information includes identifying our assets, organizing and describing the information, classifying it according to its confidential nature or its value to the business of the university, and applying the appropriate best practices for its care over time. As part of managing information, an ultimate disposition is decided upon — will it be destroyed or archived? If the information is archived it may serve another purpose in research or teaching to enter again into the creation stage.

    Both people and computers use information. Information created by University scholars may be acquired by university libraries, disseminated through KU Scholarworks, or kept by the university archives to further the aims of university research. Master sources of computer data may be shared with other computing systems. For example student and employee systems contribute non-confidential directory information so that people at KU can be discovered and can login to vital campus services such as the myKU portal, Blackboard, and email.

    As information is created, used and managed at KU everyone who comes in contact with it will need to be aware of its potential as a tool for learning, discovery, research, administrative information gathering or policy dissemination. KU's Information Management Program is a resource for faculty, staff and students to enable them to create, use and manage KU's information assets wisely and well.


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