Big Bucket Retention Categories

The Records and Information Management Policy authorizes the use of a 'Big Bucket' system to classify documents into 5 standard categories. 

Big Buckets allows us to group similar items into larger categories (or buckets) and is one way to process information more efficiently. For example, various types of documents related to an individual's employment are collected and stored in their personnel file; and all those files are stored in a secure repository for fast search and retrieval. 

For the majority of business records, one of three big retention buckets will usually suffice:

  • Short-term, transitory records - retain for useful life, destroy when no longer needed.
  • Mid-term, operational or fiscal records - retain for 5-10 years, destroy retention has been met.
  • Long-term, archival records - preserve in a climate-controlled, metadata-rich environment indefinitely. The US National Archives and Records Administration estimates that only 3-5% of the volume of federal records are archival. Each organization must know how much of its cultural heritage to preserve.
  • Records with little or no documentary or evidentiary value. Common examples: Internal memoranda and correspondence that require no administrative action, policy decision, or special handling; interim workpapers; drafts, raw data incorporated into another system, file, or document. Disposition: Destroy after no longer useful, up to two years after creation.

  • Records that support general operations and administration but do not substantially document specific programs or ongoing mission of the organization. Common examples: General accounting records; routine administrative reports. Other examples: Student athletes medical records; student advising records. Disposition: Destroy five years after student separation from KSU; destroy five years after the record is classified inactive at the end of the calendar year.  

  • Records that document and protect the legal rights, responsibilities, and interest of individuals or the institution. Common examples: Institutional strategic proposals and plans; personnel files; general ledger reports; legal case records. Other examples: Bids, expired contracts, and agreements; syllabi and course descriptions; events administration. Disposition: Destroy ten years after the record is classified as inactive, at the close of the calendar or fiscal year.

  • Records that document activities and circumstances that are based on variable retention terms as defined in statutes, policies, or regulations. Examples: Programs serving minors; hazmat records; certain criminal investigation files. Disposition: Destroy after specific retention is met.

  • Records appraised by an archivist to have sufficient documentary value to the organization to justify enduring preservation. Examples: College course catalogs; commencement and graduation publications; department and college administrative and teaching histories; final summary reports; final annual budgets and financial statements; accreditation reports; presidential and cabinet-level meeting minutes, significant correspondence. Disposition: Transfer to institutional archives or maintain in historical recordkeeping data system. 

Last updated on 2/16/2023