The Classification Plan is a model which departments can adapt to their own needs. This guide to using the Plan contains the following sections:
Subject headings represent the basic divisions of the Classification Plan and are largely based on function. There are 14 subject headings in the Model Plan, each subject heading having its own section within the Plan. At the beginning of each section is a brief description of the subject heading and an indication of the type of files you should classify under it.
Note that the Model Plan covers only common functions. Departments with unique functions will need to develop additional subject headings to cover these.
Every file is assigned a primary and secondary code. In classifying a record, first identify the subject heading it falls under, then use that section in the Classification Plan to find the appropriate primary class. Each primary in turn is broken down into a number of secondary classes. Within the secondary class, arrange files alphabetically by file title. Scope notes (accessed by clicking on the title of the primary) are provided to give more detailed explanations about the primary and how to use it.
You can create new primaries and secondaries as needed.
There are a number of secondaries which can be applied to any primary. Use whenever appropriate. These are:
Policy, Procedures and Standards
Reports and Statistics
Reference and Information Files
Assign to each file a title which concisely describes its contents. The full file label should include the following elements:
Instead of writing out the full name of the primary and secondary class on each file label, you may wish to adopt a system of file codes. Two main systems are typically used: block numeric and alpha numeric. Each is illustrated below through a number of examples.
|Subject Heading||Block numeric system||Alpha numeric system|
In the block numeric system, each subject heading is assigned a block of numbers; in this example, any file beginning with a number between 800-899 would be identified as a Human Resources file.
In the alpha numeric system, each subject heading is assigned a three-letter alpha code; in this example, any file begining with HRS would be identified as a Human Resources file.
|Primary||Block numeric system||Alpha numeric system|
|Human Resources (General)||800||HRS000|
|Job Description, Classification and Compensation||820||HRS002|
|Occupational Health and Safety||830||HRS003|
|Pensions and Benefits||840||HRS004|
In the block numeric system, each primary class is assigned a number within its subject block; in this example, any file beginning with the number 850 would be identified as a personnel file within the Human Resources block.
In the alpha numeric system, each primary class is assigned a number appended to its alpha subject code; in this example, any file beginning with the code HRS005 would be identified as a personnel file within the Human Resources block.
|Secondary||Block numeric system||Alpha numeric system|
|Policy, Procedures, Standards||850-00||HRS005-00|
|Academic Personnel - Continuing Employees||850-10||HRS005-10|
|Academic Personnel - Limited Term Employees||850-12||HRS005-20|
In the block numeric system, each secondary class is assigned a two-digit number and separated from the primary by a dash; in this example, any file beginning with the number 850-10 would be identified as a personnel file of an academic continuing employee.
In the alpha numeric system, each secondary class is assigned a two-digit number and separated from the primary by a dash; in this example, any file beginning with the code HRS005-10 would be identified as a personnel file of an academic continuing employee.
Note that in both systems, the common secondaries should always be assigned the same numbers -- e.g. -00 (Policies, Procedures, Standards), -01 (General), -02 (Planning), -03 (Reports and Statistics), -04 (Special Projects), -99 (Reference and Information Files).
Joan Smith is a continuing academic employee who was hired in 1979 and her personnel file comprises three folders. They would be labelled as follows under each system:
850-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 1, 1979-1986
850-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 2, 1987-1993
850-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 3, 1994-
HRS005-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 1, 1979-1986
HRS005-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 2, 1987-1993
HRS005-10 / Smith, Joan, v. 3, 1994-
A file is closed when no more records are to be added to it. It is important to know when to close a file, since typically the retention periods prescribed in a records schedule (RRSDA) only apply or "kick in" once the file has been closed. When to close a file depends on its "close type." There are three close types:
Records Retention Schedules and Disposal Authorities (RRSDAs) provide a timetable for how long files are to be retained. An RRSDA names a particular class of records and indicates how long you should keep them in your office ("active retention period"). At the end of this time, you should transfer the records to the University Records Centre (URC), where they will be stored for the "semi-active retention period." All semi-active records remain under the control of the originating department. At the expiry of the "total retention period," the "final dispositon" indicated on the RRSDA is implemented and the records are either destroyed or transferred to Archives' control.
By default, departmental files are scheduled under RRSDA 1999-005, General Administrative, Program and Subject Files unless a more specific schedule applies. In the Model File Classification Plan, exceptions are indicated in brackets with a link to the more specific, over-riding RRSDA. Individual departments should also consult any special departmental retention schedules which may have been prepared specifically for their own department and its unique records.
Whatever classification system you adopt, be sure to create and keep up-to-date a document showing the Classification Plan you use for your department's records. It should include all subject headings, primary and secondary classes, and any scope notes for additional explanations. When revising your Classification Plan, keep an archival copy of the obsolete version, as this will be useful when retrieving or using files which were created under the old system and previously transferred to the records centre.
The department File List should be a separate document from the department Classification Plan. The Plan shows all possible classification categories. The File List shows all files actually created and classified under the categories of the Plan. It should be an on-going document, logging each file opened. An example of some File List entries is given below.
|Class||File title||Date range||Location|
|Human Resources Policies||1996-||File Cabinet 1-1|
|Smith, Joan, v. 3||1994-||File Cabinet 1-1|