Today's active files in museums and offices throughout the Smithsonian Institution may be tomorrow's archival collections (the very collections that we write about on The Bigger Picture on a regular basis, in fact). To that end, the Smithsonian Institution Archives provides a range of records management services to staff, including guidance on managing their records and what should be done with those records when they are no longer needed in the office. To assist staff, the Archives' new website includes an updated and improved section on records management. While this section is directed at staff and includes many instructions and procedures specific to the internal workings of the Smithsonian, some of the provided guidance can easily be adapted for any office or home environment.
The Managing Active Records subsection is where we provide the most generic guidance. Here, you'll find tips to keep both your paper and electronic files organized and clutter-free. We even provide suggestions for weeding unnecessary email and keeping your inbox under control. Office managers and administrative staff may also be interested in Overall File Management which includes additional guidance for centrally managing files. Keep in mind that your organization may already have its own processes and procedures.
If you're an informational professional responsible for creating records guidance within your organization, we encourage you to browse through the entire records management section for inspiration. Of particular interest may be our instructions for transferring records to the Archives or to our Records Center for destruction; our processes and methodologies for appraising records; and our records management FAQ.