Records Management Glossary
This glossary provides definitions for records management terms used in the B.C. government and is part of the Recorded Information Management (RIM) manual.
See also Usability
Accession: A body of records registered as a unit for the purposes of physical and administrative control (i.e., physical identification and control of transfer, storage, retrieval, and disposition). Accessions typically cover records maintained in a records storage facility contracted by government. Upon expiry of the active and semi-active retention periods, records in the accession are either destroyed, or if scheduled for selective or full retention, transferred to the custody of the government archives.
Accession number: A six-digit number identifying a group of records storage boxes (or other records storage containers) to be transferred to records storage facilities contracted by government. Government Records Service (GRS) issues and tracks the numbers, which are used to label, transfer, store, retrieve, and dispose of records.
Box Number: 91-0123-01
91-0123 = the accession number issued by Records Centre Services, GRS
-01 = the first consecutive box number in accession 91-0123
See also Records
Administrative records: Records that are common to all offices and that are distinct from operational records. Administrative records support functions such as the management of facilities, property, materiel, finance, personnel, and information systems. Administrative records also relate to common management functions such as committee activities, agreement development, contract management, information services and obtaining legal opinions. Although considered to be administrative, these records often are associated with operational functions (for example, a committee may serve an operational function). In the B.C. government, administrative records are classified and scheduled according to ARCS.
Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS): The government-wide standard for classifying, filing, retrieving and disposition scheduling of administrative records. ARCS also includes freedom of information and protection of privacy designations. ARCS is a block numeric system, reflecting function and subject.
Alienation of records: The permanent transfer of records and all present and future rights to the records from the Crown provincial to another entity. Records may only be alienated from the Crown with the approval of the Legislative Assembly, which may be obtained in one of two ways:
- Legislative approval of records retention and disposition schedules in accordance with the Document Disposal Act; or
- New or amended legislation that approves the transfer of government assets, including records, from the Crown provincial to another entity.
Archival appraisal: The process of determining the final disposition of records. Records having enduring value to government and society are appraised by a government archivist, and preserved and made accessible at the government archives. Archival appraisal in the B.C. government is part of the process of developing a records schedule. Archival appraisal focuses on the information content of the records and the context of their creation. It takes into consideration their value for current administrative, operational, legal and fiscal use, as well as long-term evidential and informational values. Further explanation and a list of standard appraisal questions is provided in chapter one of the Standard ORCS Kit.
Archival records: See Records
Archival value: See Enduring value
- An organization or program area responsible for managing archives
- Documents and other information objects created or received and accumulated by a person or organization in the course of the conduct of affairs, and preserved because of their continuing value
- The building or part of a building where physical archival materials are located
Audit value: The value records may have in documenting the generation, expenditure, or transfer of monies, or other types of business functions, which are required for audit purposes. Audit values may be affected by federal or provincial statutes and regulations that govern records retention and disposition. Audit value is determined by statutory or regulatory audit periods.
Authenticity: The quality of being genuine, not a counterfeit, and free from tampering or corruption. Authenticity alone does not automatically imply that the content of a record is reliable or accurate; it merely establishes that a record is what it purports to be and has verifiably been created by the person who claims to be the creator.
Block numeric system: A records classification system based on the assignment of blocks or groups of numbers to represent primary and secondary headings. The block numeric administrative and operational records classification systems (Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS)) are the standards for describing the recorded information resources of the B.C. government. They are based upon the federal government model and utilize three and four-digit numbers for ARCS and five-digit numbers for ORCS.
Cabinet committees: Cabinet committee records relate to the establishment, organization, and functions of Cabinet committees and related deputy ministers’ committees. These include ministry and agency submissions prepared for Cabinet or its committees. Records types include correspondence, submissions, significant draft submissions, working materials and supporting documentation, notices, agendas, minutes, records of decision, reports, and presentation handouts.
See also ARCS 201; Correspondence; Executive Records; Government Records; Legislative records; Member of the Legislative Assembly records; Office of the Premier ORCS: Section 1 Cabinet Office (PDF); Working materials
Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) usually classify case file series under secondary numbers and titles at secondary number –20 and higher, followed by alphabetical or numerical codes.
Classification: The process of identifying records or information in accordance with a predetermined filing or security system. This includes determination of the function and/or subject of a record and selection of the appropriate classification for filing; in the B.C. government, this involves selecting the appropriate secondary number and title.
Classification system: A system for organizing records based upon function and subject, for the purpose of facilitating retrieval and filing. In the B.C. government, records classification is combined with scheduling in one integrated system known as Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS), using a block numeric system to provide a unique code for each classification (or “primary”).
Common Records: Records found throughout government (i.e., similar types of records created by multiple offices in relation to operational functions), which may be covered by any type of records schedule, as appropriate.
Completeness: The presence within a record of all the physical and intellectual elements (e.g., a signature, official letterhead, file code, and/or date, etc.) required by the creator and its governing body for it to be capable of serving its intended purpose.
See also Microform
See also Security classification
See also Preservation
Conversion: The act of transferring recorded information from one physical medium or format to another, especially data from an obsolete format to a current format; migration. Conversion is more than copying files. It involves a change in media, such as from diskette to tape, from paper to microform, optical disk or electronic format (or the reverse), from one version of an application to a later version, or from one application to another.
Corporate Records Officer (CRO): See Records Officer
See also Email
Data: Individual facts or values not significant to a business until analysed and/or preserved as a record of the business’ transactions and operations. Data is the raw material stored in a structured manner that, given context, becomes information.
Data administration: Developing and administering the policies, procedures, practices and plans for defining, organizing, protecting and efficiently utilizing data. Promotes consistency in scope, meaning, and handling of data throughout an organization.
Database: A common type of electronic system, consisting of a number of structured “fields” where pieces of information are stored, and can be sorted, manipulated, and retrieved in different ways for a variety of purposes. Complex databases re-use information and then display and print it in any number of combinations with other information, thereby creating electronic records.
Deaccessioning: See Permanent Removal
Destruction of records: The various methods of destroying inactive records scheduled for destruction when authorized under the Document Disposal Act (e.g., by shredding, incineration, pulping or recycling). Methods for secure destruction of electronic records are also covered by this term.
See also Records schedule
- An organization or program area that serves as a trusted digital repository, with the responsibility and capacity for permanently preserving digital archival records and making them publicly accessible
- The digital records of an organization identified for permanent preservation by an archives
Digital information: See Digital records
- records that are born digital
- digitized records (i.e., records that have been converted from a non-digital format)
- unstructured data (e.g., documents and electronic messages)
- structured data maintained within electronic systems
For purposes of RIM policy this term is used synonymously with “electronic records”.
Digitize: To convert an image or signal into a form easily understood by digital computers. For example, visual images are digitized by scanning, a process which assigns a ‘binary’ code for each visual element sampled. Sounds are digitized by periodically measuring or sampling the sound wave, and assigning representative binary codes.
Dispose: "To transfer by any method and includes assign, give, sell, grant, charge, convey, bequeath, devise, lease, divest, release and agree to do any of those things" as defined in the Interpretation Act (RSBC 1996, c. 238, s. 29).
See also Final disposition
Disposition: See Final disposition
Document Disposal Act (RSBC 1996, c. 99): The provincial legislation that grants power to dispose of records upon the written recommendation of the Public Documents Committee and the approval of the Executive Council or Legislative Assembly.
The Act governs the final disposition of the records of all offices in or under the ministries, branches and institutions of the Executive Government of the Province. It provides for the establishment and approval of records schedules that describe classes and series of records and their retention and final disposition requirements.
Documentation: In archival usage, the creation or acquisition of documents to provide evidence of the creator, an event, or an activity; and to describe the arrangement of records and the rationale for their acquisition.
In computer hardware and software product development, the information that describes the product to its users. It consists of technical manuals and online information, including online versions of technical manuals and help facility descriptions. The term also covers source information about a product contained in design documents, detailed code comments, white papers, and blackboard session notes.
Email (Electronic mail): Correspondence in electronic form, exchanged using a public or private computer network. An email record consists of a message, contextual information provided in a standard format (e.g., sender and receiver addresses, date), and may be accompanied by an attached electronic document in text or non-text form (e.g., graphic images and sound files).
Electronic records: See Digital records
Encryption: The process of transforming information or data using an algorithm to make it unreadable, as a means of protecting data in transit. The result of the process is encrypted information, which can only be unscrambled (decrypted) by authorized users possessing the necessary “key” or algorithm to decode it. It is used by the B.C. government for the secure transportation and transmission of data outside of the workplace, in accordance with the Information Security Policy (c. 5.2.5).
See also Data
Enduring value: Records of enduring value provide the best evidence of the activities and responsibilities of the B.C. government (its accountability and the evolution of its powers, organizational structure, programs, policies, procedures, decisions and functions), and/or have significant historical, cultural, intrinsic or informational value. The government archives retains records appraised by a government archivist as having enduring value.
Enterprise Document and Records Management System (EDRMS): An integrated software system capable of managing both electronic and physical records. In June 2003 the Government of British Columbia selected HP TRIM TM (Total Records and Information Management) as the standard EDRMS software for office recordkeeping systems across government. It is used to manage government records throughout their life cycle in accordance with ARCS, ORCS, and other approved records schedules.
Essential records: See Vital records
Evidential value: The usefulness or significance of records for providing evidence about the origins, functions, and activities of their creator, and their value in providing authentic and reliable evidence of the creator’s decisions, actions, transactions, and communications. Evidential value is provided by both the records content and their context with respect to other records and the functions to which the records relate. Archival appraisal work in the B.C. government is focussed on identifying and preserving records with high evidential value.
Executive records include the records of cabinet ministers that are created and/or accumulated and used by a minister (or a minister’s office) in developing, implementing and/or administering programs of government. They do not include Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) records or personal records.
Executive Records are covered by the government-wide special schedule 102906.
File: A set of related documents treated as a unit, uniquely identified, arranged in a logical sequence, and classified and scheduled together. The file is the logical entity used to organize and manage records. It identifies a group of records that together provide evidence of a transaction, case, subject or other business matter. A file may consist of one or more volumes.
File operations: The maintenance and update activities necessary for effective use of a records classification system. Basic file operation functions are: mail management, sorting, registration, classification, indexing and cross-reference, location control, filing, charge-out, distribution, recall and search, refiling, physical maintenance, purging, and retention and final disposition.
File list: A list used to describe, locate and retrieve files. Unless otherwise stated in government policy, file lists are required for the storage and final disposition of government records and must include the following information for each file: classification number, file code or ID, file title, date range, Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) designation, retention period and final disposition.
- secure destruction that ensures complete obliteration of information, regardless of the records medium or format;
- transfer of the records to the custody of the government archives; or
- transfer of the records to agencies not covered by the Document Disposal Act (also known as alienation).
Final disposition must take place in accordance with RIM policy and authorized procedures.
Fiscal value: The value records may have in documenting the fiscal activities of the B.C. government relating to taxation, public revenues, public debt, budget operations, or other financial operations. Fiscal values may be affected by federal or provincial statutes and regulations that govern records retention and disposition.
Forms management: The centralized establishment of standards and their application combined with management techniques for the creation, analysis, design and revision of all official forms. Forms management assures better quality forms through controls on their design and production, greater efficiency in gathering and processing of information, and the economical and efficient distribution of forms.
See also Forms
Full retention: The archival appraisal decision by a government archivist to preserve a set of records (in most cases, the records covered by a secondary) in its entirety and in an accessible format. Retention decisions are documented in the records schedule. Under the terms of full retention, the archivist responsible may destroy unnecessary duplicates, publications, ephemera, and other items that are not an integral part of the record series.
Function: All of the activities, operations, or procedures performed by an organization or individual aimed to accomplish one purpose, mandate, or mission. In the B.C. government, functions represent the major responsibilities that are managed by a program area, branch, or agency in order to fulfil its goals.
Functional analysis: The analysis and categorization of business activities into a hierarchical structure of functions, activities and transactions. It is used in the B.C. government in the process of classification and schedule development, and archival appraisal.
Functionality: The capabilities, behaviours, and applications of electronic hardware or software (i.e., programs, platforms, systems, or devices), seen as the sum of the features they are designed or expected to fulfil when operating properly.
Government archives: The records and information transferred from government bodies to the archives of government. Currently, this includes only the physical archival records held by the Royal British Columbia Museum. When the Information Management Act (IMA) comes into force, this will also encompass the digital archives of government, for which the chief records officer will be responsible.
Government records: Any recorded information created or received by government offices in the course of business activity and maintained as evidence of those activities, regardless of format (i.e. digital or physical).
Government records include cabinet ministers' records that are created and/or accumulated and used by a minister (or a minister's office) in developing, implementing and/or administering programs of government.
Government records do not include legislative records.
For guidance on identifying government records see RIM Policy 101: Government Records (PDF).
See also Digital records; Executive records; Legislative records; Member of the Legislative Assembly records; Non-government records; Official file copy; Personal records; Physical format; Records; Records schedule; Transitory records
Hazardous records / materials: Records and other materials that present a risk to health or the environment. This includes records and other materials that are explosive, gaseous, flammable, toxic, radioactive, corrosive, combustive, or leachable.
Hazardous records will not be accepted for offsite storage as they may endanger employees, facilities, and other records. See RIM Policy 423: Provision of Offsite Records Storage Services (PDF), section 2.2.
Imaging: The process of capturing, processing, and managing documents by reproducing their appearance through photography, micrographics, or scanning to create copies or “images” of records. Document imaging reproduces the visual presentation or ‘look’ of the originals when copying and storing them to another media (e.g., paper to microfilm, photograph to digital image). Imaging, by itself, makes no attempt to make any text in the document machine-readable, although a system may use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert imaged text to such form.
Inactive records: Records that are no longer required for ongoing ministry or agency business. These are records that are ready for final disposition; in other words, records for which the scheduled active and semi-active retention periods have lapsed.
Independent Offices of the Legislature: Records of independent offices of the Legislature (also known as the offices of the BC Statutory Officers) are not scheduled as government records because they are not covered by the Document Disposal Act.
These offices currently include the following: the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Merit Commissioner, the Ombudsperson, the Police Complaint Commissioner, and the Representative for Children and Youth.
Information: See Records
Information resource management: The management of data and information as an asset, for the purpose of making information use effective. Records management, data administration and database administration are key components of information resource management.
Information system: A system (involving people, machines, methods of organization, and procedures) that provides input, storage, processing, communications, output, and control functions in relation to information and data. This term is normally used to describe electronic systems, including data processing facilities, database administration, hardware, and software that contain electronic records.
Information Technology (IT): The infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks, necessary to support and facilitate the information resource management process, electronic information systems and telecommunications systems. IT encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange, and use information in its various forms.
Informational value: The usefulness or significance of materials based on their content (i.e., the information they contain), independent of any intrinsic or evidential value (i.e., the way they reflect the origins, functions and activities of their creator). In the context of the B.C. government, records may be appraised for retention by the government archives if the information they contain has significant historical, cultural, or other research value worthy of preservation.
Integrated records classification and scheduling system: A system that integrates records classification with retention and disposition schedules, such as Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS).
Integrity: The quality of being whole and unaltered through loss, tampering, or corruption. In the context of records, integrity relates to the potential loss of physical or intellectual elements after a record has been created. As one of the components used to determine a record’s authenticity, integrity is a relative concept that assesses whether the essential nature of a record has changed.
Inventory: See Records inventory
Legal custody: The legal responsibility for the ongoing maintenance, security, accessibility and disposition of the records, and associated costs. Typically, the business owner or ‘legal custodian’ is the ministry or agency responsible for the programs and functions the records relate to. For information about transfer of legal custody, including transfer to the government archives, see RIM Section 5.
Legal value: The value records may have in meeting legal requirements or uses. Legal value is determined by identifying any requirements for records to be retained for specific periods of time in the enabling legislation for the records creator or other relevant legislation, such as the Limitations Act (RSBC 1996, c. 266).
Legal values may also be present in records that: document a transaction such as a deed or mortgage; serve a licensing or regulatory function; protect the rights of individual citizens or the Province of British Columbia; are required for evidence in a court of law or to meet the statute of limitations for civil litigation.
See also Primary value
Legislative records: Records created, accumulated and used by an individual or an office in the administration or operation of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. They include records created by the Office of the Speaker, the Officers of the House (the Sergeant-at-Arms and the Legislative Clerk), Hansard Services, and the Legislative Library. Legislative records are distinct from government records and are not governed by the Document Disposal Act.
Retention periods in records retention and disposition schedules are closely associated with certain life cycle stages. The active period involves creation/receipt, classification, scheduling, maintenance and use; the semi-active period involves the continuing maintenance, use and storage; and the inactive period indicates the expiry of primary values and the disposition of the records by destruction or transfer to the archives, where they will be described, preserved, and made accessible.
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) records: Records created and/or accumulated and used by a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (MLA) acting in that capacity. They include records that document legislative and political activities, but do not include personal, business, or constituency records.
MLA records are legislative records not covered by the Document Disposal Act. However, MLAs who are cabinet ministers do create government records when serving in that capacity; those records are termed “ministerial records” and are covered by the Document Disposal Act.
Metadata: Literally "data about data", metadata documents the context, content, and structure of data and records Metadata supports the effective management of the government's information holdings. The term covers a range of structured tools such as: records profiles maintained electronically (e.g., the data in word processing 'properties' fields); online or hardcopy manuals, thesauri, indexes, and library catalogues.
Microfiche: A microform in the shape of a rectangular sheet of transparent plastic having one or more miniaturized images usually arranged in a grid pattern, with a heading area across the top. Normal size is 148 x 105mm (6 x 4 inches).
- A fine-grain, high-resolution film used in micrographics containing an image greatly reduced in size from the source document;
- The recording of microphotographs on film; or raw film with characteristics as indicated above.
Microform: A generic term covering any form, either film or paper, that contains images greatly reduced in size. Microform may be produced through a photographic process or generated from a computer (computer output microform, also known as COMfiche/COMfilm).
Migration: To preserve the integrity of electronic records/data by transferring them across hardware and software configurations and across subsequent generations of computer technology. Migration is used to ensure continued access to information as systems or media become obsolete or degrade over time.
See also Conversion
See also Record office
Ministerial records: Government records created by members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) serving as cabinet ministers, received or created as part of daily ministry business activities. These are distinct from MLA records. They are covered by the Executive Records Schedule.
Ministry Records Officer (MRO): See Records officer
MLA records: See Member of the Legislative Assembly records
For guidance on identifying non-government records, see RIM Policy 101: Government Records (PDF).
See also Office of Primary Responsibility
Non-OPR: See Non-Office Of Primary Responsibility
Non-transitory record: See Official file copy
Office Of Primary Responsibility (OPR): The office that has primary responsibility for a category of records or holds the master/official file copy of any record series for that ministry or agency. The OPR maintains the official master copy of the records in order to satisfy operational, financial, legal, audit and other requirements.
One-time records schedule: A records schedule that authorizes the retention and final disposition of a specific set of records, and does not provide authority for ongoing final disposition of records of the same type.
Ongoing accession number (OAN): An accession number that is used by an office for the regular or continuing transfer of records to government-approved records storage facilities. An ongoing accession number differs from a one-time accession number in that it can be used for multiple transfers. OANs are used to regularly transfer high volume records series, usually related to a single secondary classification number.
Ongoing records schedule: A records schedule that authorizes the retention and final disposition, on a continuing basis, of the types of records described in the schedule. Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) serve as ongoing records schedules for ministry or agency administrative records and operational records. Special schedules are another type of ongoing records schedules.
Operational records: Records that relate to the operations and services provided by a ministry or agency in carrying out the functions for which it is responsible according to statute, mandate, or policy. Operational records are distinct from administrative records and are unique to each government organization.
Operational Records Classification System (ORCS): An integrated records classification and scheduling system tailored to the operational records of a specific function or program of government, in accordance with government-wide standards. ORCS facilitate classification, filing, retrieval and disposition; ORCS may also be used to identify vital records and freedom of information and privacy designations. ORCS is a block numeric records classification system, reflecting function and subject. Government Records Service establishes standards for the development of ORCS that are published in the Standard ORCS Kit.
OPR: See Office of Primary Responsibility
Original record: A complete and finished document that is able to produce the consequences intended by its author. It is the first to be issued in that form. In law, it means the first copy from which all others are transcribed, copied or initiated.
Permanent removal: Permanent removal occurs when an office retrieves records from offsite storage and notifies Government Records Service that this is a permanent arrangement; i.e., they will not be returned to storage as part of that accession. Sometimes referred to as “deaccessioning” or “reactivation”.
Personal information: As defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RSBC 1996, c. 165). Personal information is recorded information about an identifiable individual other than contact information.
Personal Information Bank (PIB): As defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act a PIB is a collection of personal information that is organized or retrievable by the name of an individual or by an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to an individual. PIBs are flagged in Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS).
Personal records are a type of non-government record. The retention and final disposition of personal records is not governed by the Document Disposal Act.
Primary: The basic building block of Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS). A primary relates to a function or subject. It consists of a 5-digit number and a descriptive title under which specific records may be classified and arranged.
Primary block: A set of primaries covering related functions that form a logical group and are assigned sequential numbers. Each block contains a general primary and two or more primaries covering functions or activities subordinate to the major function of the block.
Primary value: Values that records have for assisting their creating office to carry out its operational mandate and administrative duties. Records with primary value are those that are necessary for administrative, operational, fiscal, audit, or legal purposes, that is, the purposes associated with the active and semi-active phases of the records schedule. Special categories of primary value include audit value, fiscal value, and legal value.
- The office of origin (i.e., the office or administrative entity that created or received and accumulated the records in the conduct of its business);
- Information on successive transfers of ownership and custody of a particular record; and
- In archival theory, the principle that the archival records of a given records creator must not be intermingled with those of other records creators.
Public records: See Government records
Public Use Records (PUR): Records that are specifically created and organized with the expectation of access by the public, often with user fees. PURs are flagged in Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS).
See also Personal information bank
See also Quality control
Quality control: Procedural steps that ensure that scanned, imaged, converted, or migrated records, systems, and applications yield the same data and functionality as the source record from which they are reproduced. Quality control aims to establish the authenticity, accuracy, and usability of official file copies.
Reactivation: See Permanent Removal
See also Ministerial office
Record series: A group of records filed together in a unified arrangement that results from, or relates to, the same function or activity and permits evaluation as a unit for records scheduling purposes. A record series is classified based upon retrieval needs and maintained as a unit according to reference frequency. An Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) or Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) secondary is in most cases equivalent to a record series.
Recorded Information: See Records
- An information system that captures, manages and provides access to records through time.
- A set of rules governing the storage, use, maintenance and disposition of records and/or information about records, and the tools and mechanisms used to implement these rules.
In the B.C. government, an office recordkeeping system is a shared ARCS/ORCS based filing system in which non-transitory records are created, protected, retained and destroyed in accordance with legal retention schedules.
Records: Any recorded information. Includes "books, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, letters, vouchers, papers and any other thing on which information is recorded or stored by any means whether graphic, electronic, mechanical or otherwise" as defined in the Interpretation Act.
Records classification system: See Classification system
Records disposition: See Final disposition
Records inventory: An analytical list of the records or part of the records of a unit of government. An inventory is usually organized by record type and provides the basis for establishing a records schedule. It fully describes the title, purpose and function, informational content, physical format, physical extent, and date range of the records, legal and fiscal retention requirements for the records, and other factors that may have a bearing on the retention periods and final disposition.
Records management: Records management is the exercise of physical and intellectual control over records to ensure their integrity in support of an organization’s accountabilities and actions. Ministries and agencies establish physical control by ensuring records are identified, documented, located, retrieved, and protected from loss, physical damage or inappropriate access. Ministries and agencies establish intellectual control over their records by ensuring they are classified, retained and disposed of in accordance with records schedules. Government Records Service is the central agency responsible for setting records management policy, procedures and standards.
Records Officer: The employee responsible for providing information management (IM) direction and support to a ministry or agency, enabling it to meet IM business objectives and legislated requirements. Ministry Records Officer services are provided by Government Records Service, the central agency responsible for records management. Agencies and Crown Corporations outside core government provide their own Records Officer and support staff.
Records retention and disposition schedule: See Records schedule
Records schedule: A prescribed timetable that governs the life cycle of a file from creation, through active use within an office, retention in off-site storage during its semi-active period, to final disposition when it becomes inactive.
Records services application number: The unique number that identifies each application for records services submitted to Government Records Service. The number appears in the top right-hand corner of the application form. If the application is for an Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) or one-time records schedule, the application number will become the schedule authority number.
See also Records schedule
Redundant source records: Records that have been copied or converted, where the copies, once verified to ensure their accuracy and authenticity, replace or supersede the originals and are filed in the office recordkeeping system.
Reliability: The trustworthiness of a record as a statement of fact; a record’s ability to serve as reliable evidence. Reliability is established by examining the completeness of the record's form and the amount of control exercised on the process of its creation.
Reliable record: A record whose contents can be trusted as a full and accurate representation of the transactions, activities or facts to which they attest and can be depended upon in the course of subsequent transactions or activities. To ensure reliability, records should be created at the time of the transaction or incident to which they relate, or soon afterwards, by individuals who have direct knowledge of the facts or by instruments (e.g., a digital recorder) routinely used within the business to conduct the transaction.
Reserved secondaries: Secondary numbers used to cover record series that are repeated in several primaries. Secondaries -00 and -01 are reserved throughout all Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) for policy and procedures files and general files respectively.
Residual values: See Enduring value
Retention period: The length of time a file is retained, as governed by the records schedule. The file may be disposed of after the active and semi-active retention periods that apply to it have elapsed.
Retention schedule: See Records schedule
Schedule authority number: A unique 6-digit number linked to a records schedule. Used in conjunction with the accession number, the schedule authority number allows Government Records Service, ministries and agencies to manage the storage and final disposition of government records.
Scope note: The component of a classification system that describes the functions, uses and content of the records that are to be classified together; in Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS), each primary has a scope note. A scope note describes the administrative or operational function to which the records relate and provides a general statement about the record types (memos, forms, reports, etc.) and media (photographs, video recordings, etc.) covered. A scope note may also contain information about related records classified elsewhere.
Secondary: A subdivision of a primary that, like the primary, consists of a number and a descriptive title. The 2-digit secondary number is combined with the 5-digit primary number and the records schedule number to form a unique classification number for a file series.
Secondary value: The continuing usefulness or significance that inactive records possess, beyond the purposes for which they were originally created or the function they originally fulfilled. Secondary value includes informational and evidential value.
Security classification: A category assigned to information (and records) according to a security system in order to clearly show the appropriate level of protection against access or disclosure (e.g., open, restricted, or confidential). Government policy requires ministries to provide reasonable security arrangements for their information holdings based on a range of security categories (see Core Policy and Procedures Manual).
See also Confidential record
Selective retention: The archival appraisal decision by a government archivist to preserve part of a set of records (in most cases, the records covered by a secondary). Explicit selective retention criteria are developed during archival appraisal, and documented in the records schedule. Explanatory notes within Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) often include instructions requiring staff to box selected records separately from those to be destroyed, or to help identify records for selection.
Semi-active records: Records that are used only occasionally and therefore need not be maintained in the office space and equipment of the ministry or agency responsible for them. Semi-active records still retain administrative, operational, fiscal, audit, or legal value for the ministry or agency that created the records. Storage of semi-active records in economical, off-site facilities (or their electronic equivalent) until all values have lapsed results in significant savings.
Special media: Records in forms other than text on paper, including photographs, sound recordings, motion picture films, video recordings, audio-visual materials, paintings, prints, maps, plans, blueprints, architectural drawings, and other sound, film, video, photographic, or cartographic materials. All records relating to a function are classified in Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) or Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) as appropriate, regardless of media.
Special schedules: Records schedules for special broad categories of records that may apply to all ministries and agencies. Special records schedules are used for routine, temporary and transitory records (or data) that serve no lasting purpose. They may also cover records that:
- Contain information stored and used in special media;
- Originate from a specific creator; or
- Document a unique and/or short-term event.
Other special records schedules exist to cover such things as executive records, email records, and voice mail records.
Subject files: Files containing records that relate to specific subjects or functions and that are classified according to general informational content. The purpose of subject files is to bring together records on the same topic in order to facilitate information retrieval.
Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) and Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) usually classify subject files under secondary numbers between -02 and -19.
Transitory records: Records of temporary usefulness that are not integral to an administrative or operational record series. Transitory records are not regularly filed within a standard records classification system and are only needed for a limited period of time for completion of an action or preparation of a document. Transitory records are not required to meet statutory obligations or to sustain administrative or operational functions. Transitory records are covered by special schedules.
For further guidance see the Transitory Records Guide (PDF).
Trustworthiness: The accuracy, reliability, and authenticity of a record. To ensure that electronic records are trustworthy, the system that contains them should be dependable and produce consistent results based on well-established procedures.
Usability: The extent to which a record can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted. A usable record should be complete, accurate, reliable, and accessible. In any subsequent retrieval and use, the record should be capable of being directly connected to the business activity or transaction that produced it.
- Conduct emergency operations during and immediately following a disaster;
- Resume/continue government services or operations;
- Re-establish the legal, financial and functional responsibilities of government; and
- Re-establish the rights and obligations of individuals, corporate bodies and other governments with respect to the Government of British Columbia.
A Ministry may document vital records in its Operational Records Classification Systems (ORCS) by adding a “VR” flag next to relevant secondaries.
Volume: A component of a file. A volume contains records, and may exist in any media or format (e.g., file folder, electronic folder, microfilm roll, and map drawer). Volumes are also referred to as folders, enclosures, directories, supplements, file parts or sub-files.
Web site: A web site is an electronic system composed of interrelated web pages used to provide information about and access to the programs and services of an organization, as well as to facilitate ongoing projects. A web site may be provided on the Internet (making information publicly available via the World Wide Web), on an intranet (a secure site where information is shared within an organization), or via an extranet (a secure site where certain information is shared with clients).
Working materials: Rough notes, calculations, preliminary drafts, and research notes that are assembled or created in the preparation or analysis of other records, such as correspondence, reports, and statistical tabulations. When the final documents have been produced and classified, working materials generally become transitory records. Working materials relating to statutes, audits, or other records specified in a records schedule are not transitory records.