For the Record

A Publication by the Ontario County Department of Records, Archives and Information Management Services.

JANUARY 2000


What's New at the Records and Archives Center

We are always trying to make life easier for you, so that you can spend your time on the really important stuff. Two new projects are designed to search the Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors with the least amount of effort:

You can now go the last five years of Proceedings using your favorite browser and going to http://raims1/. Do not dial up your Internet provider! The Proceedings are on the internal county network.

The second method is really for the heavy-duty user of the Proceedings. We are making twelve to thirteen volumes available on one CD ROM. You can search either one volume, several or all at one time. The indexing software will lead you quickly and efficiently to the resolution, local law, or other information you may require.

Of course, the 1999 Proceedings are also available on the County Internet site at http://www.co.ontario.ny.us/ . T

The crew has been busy scanning and compressing various departmental records and issued CD ROMs. The project, funded through a grant from the State Archives and Records Administration, is for non-permanent records only. It permits us to free up much needed storage space. Space became a major problem after the completion of the two new office buildings. It is amazing how much stuff was dumped on us!

A Gentle Reminder:

The Records and Archives Center uses two types of boxes for records storage: 1) Alpak for permanent records and 2) Liberty for non-permanent records.

In addition to significant price differences, there are other reasons for two types of boxes. The Alpak boxes are acid-free and thus will not harm permanent records. Alpak boxes are also sturdier than Liberty boxes.

PLEASE, DO NOT intermix permanent and non-permanent records!

 

What on Earth is a CO-2 Schedule???

If you guessed that the CO-2 Schedule is the new Ontario County bus schedule, you are wrong. The CO-2 Schedule is the most important document associated with records management within your Department as well as at the Records and Archives Center. The CO-2 Schedule has been issued by the New York State Records and Archives Administration and shows how long particular records have to be kept before they can be destroyed. The schedule is universal for all counties in New York State. Oh, CO-2 stands for County 2 because the very first schedule was County 1. The only acceptable CO-2 Schedule now is the 1993 revision. If you have earlier versions, please get rid of them NOW!

Why is it important to use the correct CO-2 Schedule?

Well, for one thing, you really don't want to confuse Delores or Donna at the Records and Archives Center, do you? They may hide your records on you. But more important, they whine a lot, make you come over to straighten out your messy records, and give you two hour lectures on the proper maintenance of records.

Actually, it is very important to utilize the correct version of the CO-2 Schedule. When you open up the Schedule, you will see something like this:

2.[151] Death Report and related records, as a result of sending records the Records and Archives Center without proper CO-2 Schedule identification. 6 years after last entry.

The first number just identifies the record in a particular series and does not mean much. However, the second number in brackets is crucial. In the above example [151] is the unique, permanently assigned number that is put into the computer. It identifies the records as non-permanent, and spits them out after 6 years so that they can be shredded.

It is essential that you arrange your files based on the CO-2 items. You should make every effort to see to it that only files that can be destroyed in the same year are placed in a box. Here is why: Let's assume the employees of one department (not yours, of course) intermix records that can be shredded in 1999, 2000, 2002. The entire box must be kept until 2002!

What's the big deal? Cost to the County taxpayers! Space is at a premium. If we cannot shred the 1999 records because they are intermixed with records to be destroyed in 2002, you are suddenly tripling the space needs for records. The Records Management Officer will ask for a new building, your taxes will go up, your neighbors will be mad at you, your County Supervisor will have a re-election fight - and generally, everybody will be unhappy. Please…help us keep County costs down!

Some Hints on Filing

Donna McCormick, our Golden Retriever, prides herself on retrieving records within four minutes - if the records have been filed in any kind of decent order. Remember, it is to your advantage to develop a filing system in your office that permits easy retrieval.

Here is a filing method you should avoid at all cost: Let's assume you have client or personnel files in alphabetical order. You write on your transfer sheets something like this: "Individuals who annoyed me, A-Z." Two years later, you absolutely need the file of a John Doe. No problem, right? WRONG! Is the John Doe in an archives box for 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, or 1996? You see the problem? There is absolutely no way of knowing in which box you had filed John Doe, and all five boxes will need to be checked.

Always put enough information on your Transfer Sheets to enable you and the Records and Archives Center to retrieve the file in the shortest time possible. In this particular case, it would increase efficiency, if every name were listed on the transfer sheet.

The Destructive Impulse in January

January and June of every year are exciting because during those two months you have permission to destroy at least some of your records. Well, actually, Donna does the destroying - you just tell us that it is okay.

The disposition of records is one of the most important functions of record management. We all are packrats by nature. The CO-2 schedule tells us exactly how long we are allowed to save records. It is absolutely essential that we get rid of records based on the CO-2 schedule. Here we go again ... new building, taxes, unhappy taxpayers, etc.

Your cooperation is required and appreciated.

 

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