Retention Schedules Glossary

The University of Western Ontario

Retention Periods/Stages

Term Definition
Active The length of time records are retained in the office area of a unit or online in an electronic environment.
Semi-active The length of time records are retained in central university storage, or near-line or offline in an electronic environment, from which they can be retrieved as needed by the originating unit.
Final Disposition The fate of records after the completion of active and semi-active stages, either archival preservation (in whole or in part) or destruction.

Active Retention Options

Term Definition
Terminated Until completion of a specific process or event, normally defined in the notes.
Superseded Until replaced by a new version, as determined by the unit holding the records.
Obsolete Until no longer needed, based on the operational needs of the unit as determined by the unit holding the records.

Final Disposition Options

Term Definition
Recycling Disposal of records by the most economical and environmentally responsible means available.
Confidential Destruction Destruction of records in a manner that ensures that the information cannot be retrieved (e.g., shredding, electronic erasure, etc.).
Full Archival Retention Preservation of all records, subject to removal of duplicates and non-record material.
Selective Archival Retention Preservation of some records, after weeding or sampling based on appropriate criteria, followed by confidential destruction of the remainder.

Unit Descriptions

Term Definition
Responsible Unit(s) with primary responsibility for the function to which the records relate and for the maintenance of the associated records on behalf of the University.
Delegated Unit(s) performing the same functions as the responsible unit(s) on the basis of a formal delegation of authority.
Other Units that may hold copies of some or all records but are not responsible for the function to which they relate.

Time Measures*

Term Definition
Academic Year July 1 – June 30
Calendar Year January 1 – December 31
Fiscal Year May 1 – April 30

*Normally refer to the balance of the defined time to which specific records relate, followed by some additional period of time (e.g., fiscal year + 6 years)