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RM Definitions



Active Records

Records essential to an activity which have a high reference rate and must be easily accessible to its prime users. 

Archival Records

University Records of enduring historical value or permanent value. 

Classification System

A systematic identification and arrangement of business activities and/or Records into categories according to logically structured conventions, methods, and procedural rules as represented in a Classification Scheme.


The process of eliminating or deleting a record, in order to prevent reconstruction, such as by shredding.


The range of processes associated with implementing records retention, destruction or transfer decisions.

Electronic Mail (E-mail)

Electronic messages intended as a communication medium between an individual and business entities. E-mails may be considered as Personal or Official Records.

Electronic Records

Records that contain machine-readable rather than human-readable information. Electronic Records created or received in the course of University business are University Records and must be managed in accordance with the University Records Retention Schedule. Electronic University Records are subject to the same retention and disposition requirements as all other University Records.

Inactive Records

Records that are no longer required for an activity and all administrative, academic, fiscal and legal requirements have been met.  Records at the inactive stage are rarely referenced and may be stored in off-site storage until they are scheduled for destruction or possible transfer to the Archives. 

Life Cycle (of Records)

The stages in the life of a record which include, but are not limited to, its planning, creation and organization; the receipt and capture of data; the retrieval, processing, dissemination and distribution of data; its storage, maintenance and protection; its archival preservation or, destruction.

Official Records

Original, complete and final records that provide evidence of TMU's business activities, decisions, operations, and internal or external transactions.  Officieal records must be retained for certain periods of time to meet legal, fiscal, administrative, and operational requirements for record-keeping.  Official University Records usually require a longer retention period than unofficial copies.

Personal Records

Records, documents, photos or other artifacts of a personal nature which are not governed by TMU'S Records Retention Schedule such as letters, memoirs, articles, essays or other information related to civic, philanthropic and social activities.


Recorded information, in any form, created or received in the course of conducting business and kept as evidence of such activity, excluding transitory work products (e.g., circulated or unused copies, drafts, notes).

Records Management

 The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Record Retention Schedule (RRS)

Documents that instruct offices how to maintain a specific series of records throughout its life cycle according to the legal, fiscal, administrative, and historical needs of the University. 

Semi-Active Records

Active Records may become semi-active if they are no longer used or added to regularly but are still needed for occasional ready access.  Such Records may be relocated to another less active area, or to nearby storage specifically designated for semi-active records.

Transitory Records

Records that are not required to meet legal, fiscal or operational needs.  A transitory record may be used for a limited period of time to complete of a routine action, or for the preparation of an Official Record.  Transitory Records are not incorporated into the University Retention Schedule and should be disposed of when no longer needed.

University Records

 Recorded information created or received in the course of conducting University academic and administrative functions and kept as evidence of such activity. This definition extends to all record media and formats, including paper files, electronic files, e-mail, film and print graphics, audio and video recordings, and any other form of recorded information and applies to University Records regardless of their location.  Records held by faculty members and instructors that are created and received in the administration of teaching and research are University Records. 

Unofficial Records

Duplicates of official copies.  Unofficial copies are not required to be retained for legal, fiscal, or historical reasons and should only be retained as long as needed for administrative reference.

Vital Records

Records that the University deems essential for business continuity in the event of a disaster.  Vital Records may include governing, legal documents and contracts, financial records, personnel, student and other records without which the University cannot continue business.