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Records and non-records

The distinction between records and non-records is important, because only records are covered by the Records Retention Schedule (RRS).


Record: recorded information, in any format, created or received in the course of performing university business and maintained as evidence of and information about the transaction of university business. This information meets the definition of a state record in the Texas Government Code, Texas Government Code, §441.031 and §441.180.

Record Copy: the primary copy of recorded information – often referred to as the “official” record. The official record copy must be retained according to the Records Retention Schedule, and must be listed on a Records Disposition Log prior to disposition.


Non-Record: recorded information that has no administrative, legal, fiscal, or archival value. Non-records do not have any retention requirement; they may be disposed of at any time and do not require a Records Disposition Log (RDL).

Convenience Copy: additional copies of records that are held by individuals or offices. Convenience copies are often distributed for information, are not necessarily related to the function of the department, their existence in the department does not trigger an action, and they are exact duplicates of the record copy. Convenience copies are considered non-records as long as they are held no longer than the retention period for the record copy.


Note: Convenience copies are not records, and thus they are not covered by the RRS.  You can dispose of convenience copies at any time, and you do not need to fill out a Records Disposition Log.  The purpose of the RDL is to verify that the records listed on the form no longer exist anywhere in any format.  But when you dispose of a convenience copy, you are not disposing the record - you're disposing a non-record, and the official record exists elsewhere.

How do you know if you have a record or a non-record?

The flow chart "Is This A Record?" is useful when evaluating whether a document is a university record.

If there is any doubt about the status of a document, treat it as a record.  Follow the Records Retention Schedule for retention requirements and disposition instructions.

What about e-mail?

E-mail is a method of communication, much like the U.S. Post Office. Some e-mail may be records, some e-mail my be non-records and/or convenience copies. 

Employees need to identify which e-mail are university records, and then follow the Records Retention Schedule for retention requirements and disposition instructions.

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