Records Retention

These are guidelines only to help you determine how website content is subject to records retention.  For official policies, please see the Records Management website.  

It is important to keep records of policies, procedures, and contractual obligations for a period of six years.  If you have official copies of these records in DOC, PDF, or hard copy, the website version is considered a duplicate copy and does not need to be retained.  If your only copy of such policies or procedures is posted online, then you must find some way to keep records of past versions. With Drupal, version control can be enabled for most content types, and Drupal will keep a log of how the content changes, when it changed, and who made the change.

Only substantive, final, posted changes are subject to retention.  If the changes are minor - rephrasing a sentence, or fixing a typo - then a copy does not need to be retained.  If a document goes through draft changes and discussion, the draft versions and conversation does not need to be retained.  In fact, they should be destroyed to limit liability.  Only the final, published version of a document needs to be preserved.

Examples of records that have contractual significance include major requirements, enrollment policies, and employment records.  When you make substantive changes to these kinds of pages on your website, and you don't have an official offline copy, you should ensure the "Create new revision" box is checked, and add a revision note to record the significance of the change.

Other content of "general interest" is not subject to specific retention periods.  If it has archival or historical value, you may wish to preserve it.  Examples of this kind of content include faculty biographies, news stories, event listings, or study abroad photos.  If you wish to maintain copies for departmental archival purposes, you should preserve the content by printing and filing, or by saving as PDF and depositing it in an electronic archive (most pages have a "printer-friendly" or "PDF version" link to make this simple).  Content cannot be recovered from or preserved long-term within website database backups.

You may also contact University Archives about long-term archival options.

Questions? More info?

You can send questions to, and if we're not able to answer them, we'll put you in touch with Records Management staff. You may also peruse the Records Management website.