retention period [English]

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ The period of time records should be kept before disposition, either by destruction or transfer to an archive.

General Notes

A retention schedule lists record series and their retention period. To prevent charges of spoliation, a hold order may suspend destruction of records that have passed their designated retention period if they are relevant to litigation or investigation.

Other Definitions

  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. retention period): An aspect of records management; it represents the period of time a document should be kept or "retained" both electronically and in paper format. At the termination of the retention period, the document is usually destroyed. ...The retention period varies for different types of records.


  • ARMA Glossary (†297 ): n. ~ The length of time a record must be kept to meet administrative, fiscal, legal, or historical requirements. (†859)
  • International Records Management Trust 2009 (†572 s.v. retention period): In a records and archives environment, the length of time that records should be retained in an office or records center before they are transferred to an archival institution or destroyed as obsolete. The retention periods chosen for different records should be based on legislative or regulatory requirements as well as on administrative and operational requirements. (†1029)
  • Reitz 2004 (†763 ): In archives, the length of time that records of a specific category or origin must be retained before they are transferred to intermediate storage or given some other disposition. In the absence of statutory or regulatory stipulations, the period is usually determined by current usage and projected need. (†2654)