Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Establishing a Records Management Program

Establishing a Records Management Program | Wisconsin Historical Society
  1. Decide who or what office is responsible for records management. It may be helpful to identify one person in each department who is responsible for that program's records.
  2. Create a records inventory that identifies ALL department/government unit records and where they are stored. Again, list ALL records, not just those up for disposal.
    • Create an inventory worksheet to insure that all necessary information is compiled in a useful manner. The Wisconsin Historical Society's recommended worksheet is here (Excel file, 12kb).
    • Make the inventory as complete and accurate as possible to avoid rechecking details. Decisions will be made based on the information in the inventory.
    • Inventory at the record series level. Do not group all of the records in the treasurer's office as "financial records." At the same time, do not analyze the contents of each file folder. NOTE: A record series is a group of similar records that are arranged according to a filing system and are related as the result of being created, received, or used in the same activity.
  3. Map the records to record schedules
    • State agencies
      • Use the General Record Schedules (GRSs) for records common to state agencies (e.g. Fiscal and Accounting Records).
      • Use your agency specific Record Retention and Disposition (RDAs) for records unique to your agency.
      • Contact your agency's records officer if there isn't an RDA for your records.
    • Municipalities:
      • Use the Wisconsin Municipal Records Schedule (WMRS) to determine record retention.
      • Use General Record Schedules (GRSs) for anything not covered in the WMRS.
      • Create a specific records schedule if inventory identifies records that are not reflected in the WRMS or a GRS.
  4. Organize the records
    • Guidelines for electronic records are found here.
    • Guidelines for filing paper and electronic records are found here.