Records Management – When Does a Document Become a Record?
The answer is simple: “A document becomes a record when the description of the document’s content can be found on the company’s official records retention schedule.” To be more precise, “A original document becomes an official record when the content of a document matches words and phrases on the company’s official records retention schedule.” Note that a copy of an official record is called an unofficial record. Note the words, “original,” “official,” and “copy.” Ah, for the tough decisions of a records manager. Now you can start to see the challenges of being a records manager. For example, if the official record (original) is destroyed or deleted, the copy becomes the official record and must be properly protected and saved. But what if the original is destroyed and there were 10 copies produced. One of those 10 copies is the original, but which one? In the ideal situation, the records manager keeps track of all electronic and physical documents and records. Ideally, the records man