KSL News

Inventorying Your Department's Records


Worksheet  (260 KB PDF) | Instructions  (72 KB PDF)
Example 1  (212 KB PDF) | Example 2  (184 KB PDF)

The first step in developing records schedules is to inventory the records. Records inventories don't describe each document. The goal of the records inventory is to identify all record series (also known as record categories). A record series is a group of similar documents that are related as the result of being created, received, or used in the same activity or the same function. Examples include staff employment, department meetings, etc.

You should inventory any documents produced or received by your department in carrying out its activities. This includes digital files, paper files, drawings, microfilm, photographs, email, etc..

Avoid informal names, acronyms, or organizational slang when describing departmental information and record series information. For example, do not use SOM for the School of Management - some people use that abbreviation for the School of Medicine.

Try to work from area to area in all office and storage areas used by your department. Be sure to include documents on desktop computers and servers; on CDs, floppy disks, and tapes; on shelves; in file cabinets; in desks; behind doors, etc. If you have off-site storage of paper files or of servers, be sure to include them in your inventory.

The Archives has created a Records Inventory Worksheet (260 KB PDF). You can return the completed forms as paper or PDF versions. Return paper to University Archives, 20 University West, 7229. Send PDFs as email attachments to Archives@case.edu. The Submit Form button at the bottom of the PDF form will simplify the email process. Click the Submit Form button. In the Send Data File dialog box, click Send Data File. Acrobat will open your email client and insert the form in a message addressed to Archives@case.edu.

The Reset Form button at the bottom of the form will delete any information you have entered in the Inventory Worksheet. After we have received your inventories, we will begin research to identify retention requirements.

If you have any questions, phone the University Archives at 368-3320 or email Archives@case.edu.

Do Not Inventory

  • Outside publications you keep for reference purposes (e.g., dictionaries, software manuals, foundation annual reports)
  • Artifacts (e.g., mugs, t-shirts)
  • Blank forms or templates
  • Commercial software

Inventory Worksheet Instructions

Inventory Worksheet (260 KB PDF)
Inventory Instructions (72 KB PDF)
First example of a completed inventory form (212 KB PDF)
Second example of a completed inventory form (184 KB PDF)


Department Information
Field Name  Instruction
Department Record your department's name, building, and location code. For example: University Archives, University West, 7229
Inventory Date Record the date you complete the inventory form.
People The person in charge of the department or office is the "Head of the Office." Record this person's contact information.
The person with day-to-day responsibility for the records is the "Person Responsible for Records." Record this person's contact information.
The person who is inventorying the records and filling out the inventory form is the "Person Completing Inventory." Record this person's contact information.
For some offices, there will only be one person in all 3 roles; in that case, record the name and contact information once and indicate "same" on the other lines.
Record Series Information
Field Name  Instruction
Title Record the word or phrase your department uses to identify the record series. See existing schedules for examples.
Description Describe the forms of documents in the series (e.g., contracts, correspondence, reports, drawings) and their contents (e.g., building renovation projects, disaster planning)
Purpose Describe how the record series is used. What is its function? (e.g., monitor project status; develop and update web site)
Location Record the building and room number where the record series is stored. List all locations (e.g., University West, rooms 23 & 24)
Media Check all media that apply.
Inclusive Dates Record the beginning and ending dates of the record series as a whole. These can be approximate dates. (e.g., From 5/1995 To 3/2001 or From 1995 To 2001)
Sensitive Information Check all categories that apply. Many record series do not have sensitive information.
Created/ Received Indicate if additions to the record series continue to be made.
Record Storage
Field Name  Instruction
Containers Check all containers used to store this record series.

Vertical file cabinets are the standard 4-5 drawer file cabinets. Folders are typically filed from front to back with folder labels on tabs on top of folders.

Lateral file cabinets have covers that pull out and down to cover the folders. Folders are typically filed from side to side with folder labels on tabs on the side of the folders.

Flat file cabinets have 5-7 drawers which are each 3"-5" high. They are typically used to store large items such as maps or architectural drawings.

A file server is a dedicated storage device that hosts files to be used by more than one person.

A hard drive is a storage device on an individual's computer.
Volume For each type of storage container record the volume.

File cabinets - record the number of full or partially full drawers (e.g., 3 1/2 drawers)

Digital files - if less than 1 GB, record as MB; if less than 1 MB, record as KB.
Operational and Administrative Use
Field Name  Instruction
Use - How Often Estimate how often the record series is consulted.
Use - How Long Estimate how many years the record series is consulted.
Disposition Indicate what happens to the record series after it is no longer needed or used. Check all applicable categories. For example, paper files might be moved to off-site storage and digital documents destroyed.
Notes This section is to record any other information about the record series which might be helpful in developing a disposition schedule.


Worksheet  (260 KB PDF) |  Instructions  (72 KB PDF)
Example 1  (212 KB PDF) | Example 2  (184 KB PDF)


Archives Home | CWRU's History | Collection & Services | Managing Records 

questions or comments? please contact archives@case.edu

Collections FAQ

Why isn't the book on the shelf?
Find out where a book is before you go to the shelf. Search the Case Catalog to see what it says like
- "Check Shelves" (look on the shelves, find it, & check it out);
- "Just Checked In" (ask staff for help, it's nearby, but too soon to be back on the shelves yet);
- "Off Campus" (out at an OhioLINK school);
- "Due mm/dd/yyyy" (it’s checked out until that date.) 
Tip: If it is not available, order an OhioLINK copy
Can I return books to a different Library?

Return Case or OhioLINK items to any Case library, yes. Case libraries have different hours, so your book might not get checked in on the day you return it if you use a bookdrop.

Return the CPL@Case-KSL books only to KSL, so the collection is here for you & others. Case libraries are not responsible for returning other local libraries’ books. Returning public library books here will not check them off of your account at those libraries.

What does "Check Shelves" mean?
"Check Shelves" means it is supposed to be on the shelf. If it isn’t there, double-check what the Case Catalog currently says to make sure that nobody else has checked it out or has kept it out too long.
How long does reshelving take?
The times are different, depending on what is being reshelved and what time of semester it is. KSL goal: to reshelve journals within 24 weekday hours, reshelve books within 48 hours. During peak times (end of semester) the time can be longer. Ask staff at the Main Service Desk for help.
How do I reserve a book?
Books are on the shelves for anyone who needs them, and are not reserved for individual use. If our book is checked out, order a copy from the OhioLINK.
Where are the UL Storage Stacks?
KSL has a university center half a mile from KSL, where lesser used or brittle books are kept, and the catalog search screen will display "UL Storage." You can visit the Center during daytime hours, or use an online request form to bring back the item to KSL. The center is now called RRCC (Retrospective Research Collections Center.)
Can I get a book or video on a specific date?
Yes, Case faculty, staff, & students can find out more details and use a convenient online request form for Book a Video or DVD  (KSL’s other collections are available only on a first-come basis for everyone, and cannot be booked ahead of time.)
What does a Book on Order mean? When will it get here?
When the catalog item displays “1 copy ordered for (library name)” the item is already in the library getting the final processing labels, etc., and will soon be on the shelf! Ask staff if there are other copies avaialable in OhioLINK in the meantime, or if you have an urgent need.
What is a PIN?
Your PIN is not assigned, you choose what it is and enter it on the Case Catalog at “View Your Library Record,” following the instructions. A Case Library PIN is a Personal Identification Number that protects your information, just like your bank ATM asks for a similar security PIN.
How do I get a library account & where can I look at it?
Case faculty, staff, and students automatically have online library accounts. You can look at it on the Case Catalog under “View your library record.” Use your library account to renew items on line and keep track of what you have checked out or ordered from OhioLINK or RRCC or Iron Mountain sites. Your Case ID is your library card!

View All FAQs

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