The challenge for all of us is knowing what records to keep and for how long. The Caltech Records Retention Schedule is an important tool for responsible records management. The Schedule was developed to support your efforts and provide guidance as you handle your records and applies to both paper and electronic records.
Many of us worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, relying more than ever on electronic records. Any Caltech records that may have been saved on personal electronic resources should be saved to the proper Caltech electronic resources and deleted from your personal electronic devices.
The purpose of the Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines is to establish and maintain uniform processes for the control, retention, storage, retrieval, and disposal of recorded information. The Guidelines comply with all statutory, regulatory, and administrative requirements governing the California Institute of Technology including its operating division, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (JPL uses the Caltech Records Retention Schedule to manage Institute records and the NASA Records Retention Schedule to manage mission and other government records.)
Caltech records are the sole property of Caltech. These records include documentation of the Institute's organization and its functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, and history. Institute Records include all forms of recorded information, including electronic and hard copy, that are created, received, recorded, or legally filed in the course of Institute business or in pursuance of the Institute's legal obligations. All records are subject to supervisory review and evaluation prior to destruction.
The Caltech Archives collect records that can facilitate understanding of Caltech's history. These include records associated with research, communication, and community, as well as the professional and personal papers of Caltech faculty. Permanent records that document the history of JPL's administration and missions are preserved by the JPL Archives and made available to researchers.
Questions regarding how the Retention Schedule should be applied to a particular document should be referred first to your supervisor, and then to the Office of General Counsel if further clarification is needed. If a record category is not on the Retention Schedule, any member of the Institute may submit a Request for Revision of Records Retention Schedule form to the Office of General Counsel for assistance. The Office of General Counsel will determine if an appropriate records category already exists or if a new records category needs to be established.
Please contact the Office of General Counsel at ext. 6182 with questions about records concerning any litigation or investigation.
If you would like to review the current Records Retention and Disposition Guidelines and Records Retention Schedule, they are available here on Caltech's Finance Website: http://finance.caltech.edu/Resources
Direct Links follow:
- Records Retention Schedule:
- Record Retention & Disposition Guidelines:
- Request for Revision of the Records Retention Schedule: