Overview on Records Retention Schedules
Records Retention Schedules tell us how long the law (or administrative policy) says we need to keep the various categories of records and documents we create or receive in Indiana government, and what to do with them after that.
The name we use for those categories is Record Series. Records that share the same topic, legal requirements, and retention instructions are grouped together under a single Record Series. Each Record Series contains:
- Record Series Number: a unique identification number assigned when the series is first created.
- Title and Description: a formal name for the category of records, and a brief description of the subject or program that the records have in common, specific forms and reports that may be included, and any legal codes that affect confidentiality or retention periods.
- Retention and Disposition Instructions: Where, in what format, and how long the records are to be maintained, and what happens at the end of that period: destruction of records that are no longer useful, or transfer to the Indiana State Archives for records of historical value.
So a Retention Schedule is a list of Record Series. Each Retention Schedule contains all of the Record Series that apply either to a specific government entity, or to a broad category of government entity. When you're describing what to do with a specific type of record, you're talking about a Record Series. When you're referring to the list of all your record types, that's the Retention Schedule.
Indiana government records are covered by five types of Retention Schedules.
The first four are created and updated by the Records and Information Management staff of the Indiana Archives and Records Administration (working with the affected agencies and offices), while the fifth type is managed by the Indiana Judiciary:
- The State General Retention Schedule: lists very common Record Series that may be created or received by any Indiana state government agency.
- Agency-Specific Retention Schedules: list Record Series unique to one state government agency, or to a specific division of that agency.
- The County/Local General Retention Schedule: lists very common Record Series that may be created or received by any Indiana local government unit: offices at the county, municipal, or other local level, including public schools and libraries.
- County/Local Office Retention Schedules: list Record Series that may be created or received by all county or local offices of a certain type: all County Clerks, all public libraries, all local law enforcement agencies, and so on.
- Judicial Retention Schedules (external link): these cover the records of the Indiana Supreme and Appellate courts and related entities, and are published in the Indiana Rules of Court, under Administrative Rule 7.
If you'd like to search across all of the Retention Schedule types, or search for a particular topic within the schedules for different agencies at the same time, you can do so in our online Record Series Search.