Glossary of common RIM Terms


Active Record: 
Records that are frequently accessed. Active records are those usually accessed at least on a monthly basis.

Archival Records:  Permanent records needed to document the history of an organization.

Archives:  The set of permanent records of an organization. 

Audit:  A formal examination of records management practices and documentation requirements conducted of financial recordkeeping, accounting, student records, and other mission-critical functions to determine accuracy, integrity, and the identity of initiating parties.

Audit Trail:  Threads of documentation and evidence reflecting transactions, decisions, and outcomes in an organization's business operations.

Certificate of Destruction:  A record that documents the disposal of specific records in conformity with an organization's formally established records retention policies and schedules.

Essential Records: Mission critical information identified as essential for the continuation or survival of the organization if a disaster strikes. These records are necessary to recreate the organization's legal and financial status and to determine the rights and obligations of employees, customers, stockholders, and citizens.

Essential Records Management Program: A set of policies and procedures for the systematic, comprehensive, and economical control of adverse consequences attributable to the loss of mission-critical information.

Inactive Record:  Inactive records must be kept for legal, fiscal, or historical purposes, but are no longer referred to during the course of daily business. Inactive files generally refers to those records that are accessed less than once per month. 

Information Governance (IG):  The set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements. IG encompasses more than traditional records management. It incorporates privacy attributes, electronic discovery requirements, storage optimization, and metadata management.

Life Cycle of a Record:  The time from its creation, distribution, maintenance, access, use, and final disposition.

Litigation Hold:  Temporary suspension of destruction for records believed to be relevant for litigation or government investigations.

Microfilm:  Film used to store highly miniaturized images of records/document. Generally used as an additional form of backup for permanent records.

Record:  Recorded information--regardless of its format, medium, or characteristics--made or received by an organization that is evidence of its operations and has value requiring its retention for a specific period of time.

Record Copy:  The "official copy" of a record that is designated to satisfy an organization's retention requirements for information that may exist in multiple copies.

Records Custodian: The official or employee who is lawfully responsible for the direct custody and care of a public record in the course of normal business. The records custodian may or may not be the person who created the record/records.

Records Inventory: A fact-finding survey that identifies and describes records maintained by all or part of an organization. This detailed listing may include the types, locations, dates, volumes, equipment, classification systems, and usage data of an organization's records.

Records Management: A specialized business discipline.

Records Retention Schedule:  A schedule that identifies specific time periods for each record maintained by an institution. Its objectives are to provide definite dates of destruction for official records to ensure that an organization is not maintaining records beyond their effective date and to provide legal protection and validation for the destruction of official records.

Risk Assessment: The process of evaluating the exposure of records to determine the level of legal liability to which an organization may be exposed.

Non-Record: Items that are excluded from the scope of official records such as convenience files, reference materials, and drafts.