retention schedule [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

(also retention and disposition schedule, IP2) n. ~ A document providing description of records series and/or classes and specifying their authorized dispositions. [Archives]

Other Definitions

  • SAA Glossary 2005 (†241 ): (also disposal schedule, records schedule, records retention schedule, transfer schedule), n. ~ A document that identifies and describes an organization's records, usually at the series level, provides instructions for the disposition of records throughout their life cycle. ¶ Notes: Retention schedules may also include instructions for the disposition of documents and other materials that are not official records.


  • International Records Management Trust 2009 (†572 s.v. retention and disposal schedule): A document identifying the records of an organisation or administrative unit and specifying which records should be preserved permanently as archives and which can be destroyed after a certain period as obsolete or superseded. The retention and disposal schedule provides ongoing authorisation for the transfer of records from offices to records centres, along with the destruction of obsolete records and the preservation of archival materials. Also known as a disposal list, disposition schedule, records schedule, retention schedule or transfer schedule. (†1028)
  • ITrust Research Project 8 Proposal, 2013 (†390 1): In the paper world it was enough simply to apply a period of time to a given group of records and then leave them in semi or dormant storage until the retention period was concluded after which the records could be destroyed. In this kind of environment where the only costs were those associated with the storage of the records, costs were relatively modest. [...] In the digital environment, it is not enough to store digital records on a media device and leave it in a media library until the expiry of the retention period. If the records are to remain accessible, understandable, and usable for as long as they are required - if they are to have integrity and be trusted - then active steps must be taken to ensure that these quality attributes are respected through time. (†426)
  • McDonald and Lévillé 2014 (†519 ): The schedule, a formal document describing the records, their retention periods (the active, semi-active and inactive periods of their life cycle), and the manner of their disposal (destruction or transfer to long term preservation), serves to provide the following benefits: “increase control and standardization; ensure rapid access and retrievability; enhance management decision-making capabilities; foster a corporate compliance culture; demonstrate corporate accountability; decrease vicarious accountability and streamline redundancy and optimize business processes” (Myler, 2006). Although listings of the records could serve as a basis for recording the retention periods, the organization’s file classification system was often used as the basis of the schedule. (†823)
  • McDonald and Lévillé 2014 (†519 ): It is one thing to base the development of retention and disposition specifications on the business process, but quite another to decide which records should be retained and for how long. The study emphasized the need for criteria that would help in deciding which records generated by which transactions in a given business process should be retained and for how long. Based on the guidance provided in the ISO technical report, the study suggested that rather than focus on the records, the focus should be on the transactions that collectively comprise a given business process, understanding that transactions include computer transactions and administrative transactions (i.e.: actions between two or more parties). (†824)