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Wisconsin Municipal Records Manual

The Wisconsin Municipal Records Manual is designed to assist public officials in Wisconsin's cities, villages, and towns in the administration of current public records and in the disposition of non-current materials. It provides an overview of records management practices and recommendations for the retention and disposition of public records.

This is an electronic version of what is popularly known as "the little orange book." The Manual was first published in 1980. It is now out of print, however, it still may be used. In particular, the retention and disposal schedules found in Part II have been approved by the Public Records Board and are still valid. Be aware that local governments are required to notify the State Historical Society prior to the destruction of any record, including those listed in this manual. For more information on the notification procedure, see The Administration of Local Government Records.

If the Wisconsin Municipal Records Manual does not provide the information you need, or if you need additional information, see Chapter V, "Sources for Additional Assistance." This chapter was updated in 2000 so that citations and contact information are current.

To use the Manual, begin by consulting the Table of Contents. Each chapter is a separate Adobe Acrobat PDF file. You can proceed through the Manual chapter by chapter or download the complete version (754K).

If you do not have an Acrobat reader, you can find information in our help section.

Government entities may reproduce all or part of the Wisconsin Municipal Records Manual for their records management use.

Table of Contents

Management of Municipal Records

Introduction & Acknowledgements

I. Public Records Statutes
II. Municipal Records Management
III. Retention and Disposition of Municipal Records
IV. Micrographics
V. Sources for Additional Assistance (updated)
Retention and Disposition Schedules
VI.   Administration
VII.   Elections
VIII.   Finance
IX.   Revenue
X.   Engineering and Public Works
XI.   Public Health
Appendix A. Sample Ordinance for the Destruction of Obsolete Records
Appendix B. Records Inventory Worksheet
Appendix C. Sample Letter of Notification of Intent to Destroy Records
Appendix G. Wisconsin Historical Society Area Research Center Network
Appendix H. List of Illustrations

Note: Appendix D through F have been removed due to out of date material.


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