Library and Archives

UPDATED March 2018


This retention schedule represents the official University of Wisconsin System policy with regard to the retention and disposition of all university and public records and information and has the approval the Wisconsin Public Records Board (PRB). The PRB is the statutory body with the responsibility to safeguard the financial, legal, administrative, and historical interests of the State in the disposition of records through the review of records schedules prepared by State agencies.

This retention schedule also provides guidance to University of Wisconsin System employees regarding what does and does not comprise a public record. The UW-System Campuses must manage all records to ensure systematic control from creation or receipt through processing, distribution, maintenance, retrieval, retention and final disposal for records retention purposes.


The University of Wisconsin System comprises fifteen distinct institutions, this schedule pertains to the records and information arising from currently understood UW-System record policies and procedures. It applies to all such records regardless of format or media. While an attempt has been made to describe the records in commonly used terms, there may be instances in which the schedule does not reflect the exact title or name used by a given department. If offices or departments cannot determine by the descriptive information provided on each item whether a given departmental record is covered or not, they should contact their campus University Records Officer. An attempt has been made to include all records commonly required or used within the University campuses. However, as processes change, forms may be modified and new ones created, and documentation requirements may also change. This schedule will be reviewed periodically to insure that it is kept as up-to-date as possible.


Minimum Retention Established and Permanent Retention Procedure.
The records retention schedules included within this document establish minimum retention periods for each type of record. The disposition of each record is assumed to be destruction after its minimum retention period or transfer to the Institutional Archives.

Materials That Are Public Records.
Under Wisconsin law, many materials are public records constituting the transaction of public business on behalf of the University Institution. Under Wis. Stat. §16.61, Public records are defined as "all books, papers, maps, photographs, films, recordings, optical disks, electronically formatted documents or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, or received by any state agency or its officers or employees in connection with the transaction of public business”

Materials That Are Not Public Records.
Under Wisconsin law, many materials are not public records. Non-records should be retained only so long as they are useful as a resource for performing the transaction of public business on behalf of the University. Thereafter, in the interest of efficiency and proper resource management, they should be destroyed. Under Wis. Stat. §16.61, the definition of "Record" does not include: duplicate copies of materials the original copies of which are in the custody of the University and which are maintained only for convenience or reference and for no other substantive purpose; materials in the possession of a library or museum made or acquired solely for reference or exhibition purposes; notices or invitations received by the University that were not solicited by the University and that are not related to any official action taken, proposed or considered by the University; drafts, notes, preliminary computations and like materials prepared for the originator's personal use or prepared by the originator in the name of a person for whom the originator is working; and routing slips and envelopes.

Electronic Record Preservation
Historically, University records have been preserved in paper files. Presently, however, advances in digital technology present a viable alternative to paper records. Because of the potential for electronically-preserved information to be lost over time as electronic systems degrade or become obsolete, electronic systems should be used as the primary manner of preserving historical records only if measures are implemented to ensure appropriate updates to the electronic storage systems are consistently purchased, installed, and maintained, and to ensure the appropriate migration of the electronically-stored information as electronic systems become obsolete and are replaced by new technologies. Please carefully review these documents prior to storing public records upon information systems and if you have questions or concerns, then please seek assistance from the campus University Records Officer.

Because of the consequences of failing to appropriately maintain electronic information technology systems, records storage within an electronic information system must comply with the legal requirements set forth in Board of Regents Policy Document 3-2: University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management; and Wisconsin Administrative Rule 12: Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements.

Suspension of the Records Retention Schedule
Records that have reached their destruction date should nevertheless be retained in the following situations:
1. The records relate to pending or anticipated litigation
2. The records relate to audit or similar review.
3. The records are subject to a public records request under Wis. Stat. §19.35(5).
4. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 16.61(4)(c), the RDA governing the retention of the records is inactive or under development.

Using the Schedule
• Use the table to locate the record series item.
• Identify whether you are the holder of the official record.
• Implement the retention and disposition noted at the level of record you hold.
• If you are uncertain about the records series item or your responsibility for it, contact the Records Officer for clarification.

Laws & Requirements:
Wis. Stat §43.30 (1)(m), (2) Privacy of publically funded library records
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Electronic Systems:

Most collection and patron records described below are housed in an integrated library system (ILS) or its archival or museum equivalent. Below are examples of some of the electronic systems that are used in UW System. These may change over time.

• Alma: Alma is the ILS used by all UW System libraries for the management of collections and circulation transactions. The implementation of Alma
brought about the first centralized catalog for all library materials owned by UW System library.
• ArchivesSpace: ArchivesSpace is an electronic catalog, discovery layer and workflow management software for archival collections.
• Aeon: Aeon is an automated request and workflow management software for use in special collections and archival environments.
• PastPerfect: PastPerfect is a collection and contact management system used by museums.
• CollectionSpace: CollectionSpace is a collection management system used by art museums.

Official Records & Copies:
• Official Record:
A complete, final, and authorized version of a record, often containing an original signature or seal.
• Working Copies: Staff may generally destroy rough draft materials that are subsequently finalized and maintained as part of the official record. However,
staff should retain significant drafts when needed to document the decision-making process within the official record.
• Reference or Convenience Copies: Staff may maintain duplicate or working copies of records described in this schedule for reference and/or convenience purposes. Copies may be retained for as long as needed, but they should not be kept longer than the time specified in the approved RDA for the official record in this schedule. Do not maintain unnecessary duplicate copies. When retained for convenience or reference only, copies are considered non-records under Wis. Stat. § 16.61(2). Do not send copies to storage or retain them for longer than the retention periods specified for the official copy.

Confidentiality of Records:
Most records are not confidential and are open to public disclosure, however, there are exceptions. This retention schedule will identify any record series that may contain information required by law to be kept confidential or specifically required to be protected from public access, identifying the state or federal statute, administrative rule, or other legal authority that so requires. If in doubt as to whether or not a specific record, or content in that record, is confidential, check with your agency legal counsel. A record series should be identified as confidential even if not all records in the series contain confidential information and not all parts of records covered by the series are confidential.

For additional information and assistance implementing this retention schedule, contact: your University Records Officer.
Agency Records Officer authorized by UW Records Officer Council (UWROC) to create this schedule: Joshua Ranger, UW Oshkosh, Records Officer -