Records Management FAQs
These FAQs reflects the most up-to-date information on the Records Management program of the Office of the Secretary of State. Administrative personnel involved with the maintenance, storage, retrieval, and tracking of records will find these FAQs a convenient reference when using records management services.
We hope you will find answers to the most common questions concerning the records management program including general information, records consultation and scheduling, state records center services, and imaging services provided by the Records Management Division to state agencies.
Q. What does Missouri’s Records Management Division do?
A. The Records Management Division formulates policy for the retention and disposition of state agency records in Missouri. We assist state agencies in the preparation of records retention schedules, microfilming of long term records, and the storage of records at the State Records Center.
Q. What is a record?
A. In Missouri, state records and nonrecords are defined by 109.210 RSMo.
(5) "Record", document, book, paper, photograph, map, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official business. Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included within the definition of records as used in sections 109.200 to 109.310, and are hereinafter designated as "nonrecord" materials;
Further information can be found on the “What is a Record?” page of this website.
Q. Where do I get copies of … (birth and death records, corporate records, incarceration records, motor vehicle records, etc.)?
Death certificates older than 50 years are available at the Missouri State Archives at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/. Questions concerning the death certificates can be sent by email to email@example.com, or by phone at (573) 751-3280.
Q. What is the difference between the Records Management Division and the Archives?
A. The Records Management Division manages records for state agencies while the records are needed for reference by agency staff for agency operations. The Missouri State Archives manages historical records after those records are no longer needed for agency operations. The Records Management program only serves state agencies, while the Missouri State Archives also serves the general public.
Q. What is the State Records Commission and who serves on it?
A. The State Records Commission is comprised of individuals from various branches of state government. The Commission is responsible for approving records retention and disposition policies for state agencies.
Q. Who may use Records Management’s services?
A. Records Management provides services to state agencies. Delivery and pickup services are only available to offices within Jefferson City. Municipalities and county offices should contact the Local Records Program for assistance at (573) 751-9047.
Q. What records management services are available?
A. The Records Management Program provides state agencies with a full range of consultation services, training for the agency records tracking system, inactive records storage, microfilming storage and services to state agencies, and records management presentations upon state agency request.
Q. What type of consultation is available?
A. A team of records analysts and archivists is available to state agencies for all types of records management consultation. Our most common inquiries include assistance with records storage, formulation of records retention schedules, advice concerning document imaging systems, and other electronic recordkeeping issues. State agencies should consult the analyst or archivist assigned to their department for assistance. Agency assignments can be found on our contact page.
Q. What kind of training is available?
A. Training is provided to agency personnel concerning the use of records management services.
Q. Who is responsible for my agency’s Records Retention Schedule?
A. The Records Custodian is the person ultimately responsible for working with the Division of Records Management to create and update an agency’s Records Retention Schedule. However, this task should be shared among the legal departments, information technology departments and the agency’s administration.
Q. What is a Records Custodian?
A. According to Missouri Revised Statutes 610.023 (1) RSMo states, “Each public governmental body is to appoint a custodian who is to be responsible for the maintenance of that body's records. The identity and location of a public governmental body's custodian is to be made available upon request.”
Q. What is a retention schedule?
A. A records retention schedule is a comprehensive list of all records created or maintained by an agency.
Q. What is a record series?
A. A record series is a group of related records that usually are used and filed as a unit. Each record series includes a description of the record, information on when the record becomes inactive, how long to retain the record and how to disposition the record once it has met its retention.
Q. Why is a Records Retention Schedule important?
A. A Records Retention Schedule establishes proper retention periods and disposition actions for the agency’s records. Also, destruction of any state record, without approval of the State Records Commission, is prohibited by 109 RSMo.
Q. What is the General Retention Schedule (GRS)?
A. The GRS is a retention schedule that assigns the retention period to the most common types of records maintained by multiple state agencies. All state agencies should follow the GRS as well as their agency specific schedule. An agency may or may not have all the record series in their office.
The current GRS and related documents are posted on the Retention Schedules page.
Q. What if there is a conflict between my schedule and the GRS?
A. Agencies should follow the most recent retention schedule for their records. Agency-specific schedules only supersede the GRS in cases of documented regulatory requirements. These requirements should be cited on the agency-specific schedule. Otherwise, agencies should follow the GRS.
Q. How do I prepare a retention schedule?
A. The Division of Records Management provides professional support to state agencies to assist with the preparation of agency retention schedules. The “Records Appraisal and Scheduling Standard for State Agencies” explains the concepts and process for creating a retention schedule. Agencies should contact their designated records analyst for assistance.
Q. Who is my designated records analyst?
A. Records consultation is provided by Records Analysts and Electronic Records Archivists. The designated contact for each executive department is listed on the Records Management Contact page.
Q. What records should be on my retention schedule?
A. All state records must appear on either the GRS or an agency specific retention schedule. Agency specific records are those records that reflect the agency’s particular business practices, while the GRS covers the more general types of records shared by all agencies. Records in all formats should be included, such as paper files, digital images, and microfilm.
Q. What if my records are not paper?
A. Per 109.210 (5) RSMo records are any, “document, book, paper, photograph, map, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official business.” All records must be listed on a Records Retention Schedule.
Q. What is the approval process for a retention schedule?
A. Retention schedules undergo a series of reviews by records management staff, agency personnel, and the Missouri State Archives. The retention schedule is eventually approved by an agency director and the State Records Commission. The entire process usually takes several months.
The Division of Records Management now allows for any agency that has had their schedule approved by the State Records Commission since the adoption of the Records Appraisal and Scheduling Standard in 2005 to update their retention schedules one record series at a time. This allows agencies, who have recently updated their schedules to avoid an overhaul of their entire schedule if only a few items need to be updated.
Q. How Often should my agency’s retention schedule be updated?
A. Retention schedules should be updated whenever there is an event such as a policy change, the passage of new legislation, a structural reorganization, or if your agency has taken on new responsibilities that affect the retention, storage, or disposition of records. Schedules should also be reviewed every three to five years for general modifications.
Q. What is the State Records Center?
A. The State Records Center consists of two facilities in Jefferson City that house inactive records for state agencies.
Q. What records center services are available?
A. In addition to records storage, the State Records Center offers a host of services: retrieval of boxes or file folders, pickup and delivery service in the Jefferson City area and destruction of records that reach their disposition date while being stored. Agencies should contact their analyst for further information on particular services.
Q. Where are state agency records stored once they are sent to the Records Management Division?
A. There are presently two locations: the Kirkpatrick State Information Center (KSIC) at 600 West Main Street, and the State Records Center Annex (SRCA) at 4720 Scruggs Station Road. If you need to contact one of these facilities, please see our contact page.
Q. What are the hours of operation?
A. The KSIC location is open from 7:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday. The SRCA location is open from 7:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday.
Q. What records can I store at the State Records Center?
A. Records stored at the State Records Center must appear on either the Missouri General Retention Schedule (GRS) or an agency specific schedule. The records must be inactive, and they must not have reached their final disposition date.
The point at which each type of record becomes inactive is defined on the retention schedule, in the “cutoff” field. “Inactive” refers to the level of use, when all or most of the activity associated with a file has been completed. Frequent reference is no longer necessary, and no additions are required.
Payment support documentation must be at least 1 year old before being accepted by the State Records Center. The Supporting Documentation Filing and Retention Guide has additional information.
Q. Can I store anything besides records at the State Records Center?
A. No. Nonrecord materials may not be stored at the State Records Center. These materials are defined by 109.210. RSMo Nonrecord materials include reference materials, office supplies, undistributed inventories of publications, or any other item or document that is not a state record.
Q. How do I send my records to the Records Center if my office is in Jefferson City?
A. Once the boxes have been entered into agency records tracking system they need to be transferred to the agency’s pending transfer place or (PT) place. Dock pickup service is only available within Jefferson City.
The boxes can also be dropped off at the assigned State Records Center location.
Q. Where should I place my boxes for pickup within Jefferson City?
A. All boxes must be placed in a central location for pickup. If your building has a delivery dock, boxes must be placed at the dock.
For buildings without delivery docks, records should be placed in an easily accessible central location such as behind a front desk, or some other location near an outside door.
Delivery services are offered for agency convenience. If boxes cannot be made easily accessible for the driver, then agencies must deliver boxes to the State Records Center. Contact the Records Center Supervisor for further assistance.
Q. How do I send my records to the Records Center if my office is outside Jefferson City?
A. Records Management does not provide pickup services outside Jefferson City. State agencies located outside Jefferson City may deliver their boxes to the State Records Center, or take advantage of their agency’s statewide delivery and pick up service if available. Agencies can also arrange to have their boxes picked up by Records Center staff at the agency’s Jefferson City office
Q. Where do I get boxes?
A. Boxes for storage of records can be ordered through the agency records tracking system. Boxes can be picked up at the State Records Center Annex, located at 4720 Scruggs Station Rd. Arrangements can be made for delivery of boxes within the Jefferson City area. Boxes are provided free-of-charge to state agencies, as long as they are used for records to be stored at the State Records Center.
Additional boxes may be purchased from the Department of Corrections. The boxes are identified as Stock Number 242. They measure 15” x 12” x 10”.
Q. Can I use State Records Center boxes for any purpose?
A. No, Boxes provided by the State Records Center may only be used for storage of records within the State Records Center. They should not be used for any other purpose.
Q. How do I pack and label boxes to send to the Records Center?
A. All records should be in file folders. The folders should be labeled and arranged sequentially, either numerically or alphabetically. Records Center box labels are automatically generated when you create a box in the agency records tracking system. Once you have printed the labels, affix the label to the box in the upper right hand corner, on the side of the box with a handle. For more detailed instructions see How to Pack a Box.
Q. What is a Records Transmittal and Receipt Form?
A. A Records Transmittal and Receipt Form was a document filled out by an agency for the transfer of records to the State Records Center. The purpose of the transmittal was to provide contact information, box location, and a brief description of each box for shipment. The Records Management Division no longer uses the transmittal form, and has switched to the agency records tracking system. If you have further questions about transmittals, contact your Records Analyst.
Q. What if I have more than one record series to send at a time?
A. Each record series type must be boxed separately. All files within a box must have the same record series. Agencies may send multiple boxes with separate record series in the same shipment. For further information please contact your Records Analyst.
Q. How do I request records from the State Records Center?
A. All requests must be submitted through the agency records tracking system.
When recalling records from the State Records Center, be sure to specify whether or not the records are being permanently recalled or if they will be returned to the Records Center. Only files or whole boxes can be requested. State Records Center staff does not retrieve individual documents from boxes or files.
Once the request has been submitted, agencies can pick up the records during operating hours. Personnel picking up records will be required to offer identification or other evidence of authorization. Individual files may be mailed or sent through interdepartmental courier.
For requests of 10 or fewer boxes or files, delivery is usually possible within two to four business days. Larger requests may take longer.
Q. How do I return records to the records center?
A. For boxes, in the Jefferson City, arrangements can be made through the agency records tracking system to have records management staff pick up boxes from an agency’s delivery dock or to drop off records at one of the records center locations. For boxes outside the Jefferson City the agency will have to make separate arrangements for delivery. Files can be mailed, routed through interdepartmental courier, or delivered by agency personnel.
Q. Can I add documents or files to boxes stored at the State Records Center?
A. As long as all records stored in the Records Center are inactive, there should be no need to add additional materials to records boxes. Adding folders or even individual documents to a full box can lead to structural failure of the box. Broken boxes are a serious condition in a records center, because they can lead to lost documents and loss of file integrity. State agencies are strongly encouraged not to add documents or files to boxes already accessioned. If you need further information please contact your records analyst.
Q. Can the Records Center make copies or fax my records?
A. No. To ensure integrity of agency records, Records Center staff do not open individual files, or provide research and reference services.
Q. Who has access to my records?
A. Records stored at the State Records Center remain the property of the originating agency. Ordinarily, only the agency who owns the records may access them. Agencies should contact their assigned records analyst to arrange any exceptions.
Q. Is there a fee for Records Center services?
A. No, services are provided free of charge to encourage proper records management and continued cost savings.
Q. What services are available?
A. The Imaging Section creates microfilm from paper originals. The original silver halide film is stored in a climate controlled vault for preservation and duplication purposes. A convenience copy is returned to the agency for daily use.
Q. Where is the Imaging Section located?
A. The Imaging Section is located on the first floor of the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center at 600 West Main Street, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Q. What records may be microfilmed?
A. Permanent or historically significant records may be microfilmed to prolong their lifespan. Other records may be approved for microfilming, based on a number of factors. It is not cost effective to microfilm records with a retention period less than 60 years.
Records filmed by the Imaging Section must be approved by the Director of Records Management and the records must appear on an approved records retention schedule.
Q. How do I prepare records to be microfilmed?
A. Documents must be specially prepared for filming. Please see the Instructions for Records to be Microfilmed
It will be important to consult with your records analyst and with the Imaging Manager in advance of beginning a new microfilm project.
Q. Where do I send my records to be microfilmed?
A. Records must be placed in approved records storage boxes, entered into the records tracking system and labeled correctly. The agency will need to arrange for their delivery to 600 W. Main Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. Arrangements can be made for pickup services if an agency is located in Jefferson City.
Q. What type of paperwork is required by Imaging Services to create microfilm?
A. Each group of boxes to be filmed must have a Microfilm Request Form sent to the Imaging Services Office before the records can be filmed. Only records with the same record series can be included on a single microfilm request form. Groups with different record series will require separate forms. Specifics will be worked out between the agency and Imaging Manager, depending on the particular filming project.
Q. How long will it take to complete my microfilm project?
A. Microfilm projects are processed in the order that the records are received. Your film will usually be completed in about 6 months, depending on the current workloads and the staff availability of the section.
Q. What if I need multiple copies of microfilm?
A. It is standard practice to prepare duplicates. An original is stored in the Imaging Section’s storage vault, while a convenience copy is given back to the agency. Additional duplicates can be requested through the agency records tracking system, by the agency that owns the microfilm.
Q. What happens to the paper records after the film is made?
A. Records will be stored in the State Records Center prior to filming. Agencies have 90 days after the project is completed to review their film. If no changes are required the paper version of the records will be destroyed. The agency indicate on the Microfilm Request Form to indicate if they would prefer to have the paper returned instead of destroyed.
Q. How long will microfilm last?
A. The silver halide original will last up to 500 years in the proper storage conditions, before it needs to be duplicated. Diazo duplicates can show degradation in as little as 20 years, but are easily replaced
Q. Are digital imaging services available?
A. The Imaging Section is currently developing the capability to perform scanning and conversion of scanned images to microfilm. Projects are evaluated on a case by case basis.
Q. Are there fees for these services?
A. No, there are no charges for these services. They are provided free of charge to encourage proper preservation of long-term records.