ARCHIVING POLICY AND GUIDELINES

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(Approved by the CSLA Board of Directors on July 11th, 2013.)

Background

Over the course of its 80 year history, the CSLA accumulated over 75 boxes of documents. When Executive Director Michelle Legault was hired in March, 2012, one of her first priorities was to complete the archiving of all CSLA records. However, archiving is an ongoing process and should be integrated into the CSLA’s administration.

Paper Records

From March, 2012 until March, 2013, all paper records were reviewed and classified into three categories:

  • stored in office, either electronically or paper
  • stored off-site
  • discarded.

In addition, minutes, annual reports and historical information were loaded onto the CSLA website, ensuring a double back-up system.

Electronic Records

In March, 2012, all electronic records received from previous administrators were consolidated into one electronic file.

Definitions

Archives
Those records that are appraised as having continuing value.
Electronic Records
Records communicated and maintained by means of electronic equipment.
Paper Records
Paper records include all files, books and publications.
Vital Records
Vital records are documents which are essential for the continuation of the organization, such as by-laws, letters patent, certificates of continuance, annual reports, meeting minutes, board manuals, policy and procedures, financial statements, insurance policies and contracts.

Responsibility

The responsibility for the execution of this policy rests with the Executive Director.

Policy

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to establish the framework for effective records management for the CSLA. This policy provides guidance to present and futgure CSLA employees on the creation and use of CSLA records, and sets standards for classifying, managing and storing those records. 

A good record keeping program is fundamental to the CSLA’s commitment to administrative transparency and accountability. It also enables the CSLA to account for decisions and actions by providing essential evidence in the form of records and ensures the preservation of the history of the society. This policy seeks to ensure that the CSLA’s business is adequately documented and then managed in accordance to best practices.

The CSLA’s electronic records must be backed up at least once every week.

A copy of the CSLA’s backup must be kept in a fireproof safe.

The CSLA’s vital documents must be scanned and maintained in the electronic records, and accordingly backed-up.

The University of Guelph McLaughlin Library must receive the Awards of Excellence files on a yearly basis.

Library and Archives Canada must receive the legal deposit of Landscapes|Paysages and the CSLA Annual Report

Guidelines on Archiving the CSLA’s Records

Electronic Records

Electronic documents have the same status as paper documents.  Both electronic and paper documents are bound by the same legislative requirements and are subject to the same degree of confidentiality and care.  Therefore electronic records are to be managed as an integral and routine part of record keeping. When storing electronic records, ensure the following guidelines are followed:

  • Versions must be identified by date
  • Track changes must be removed
  • Filed as a .pdf file or other micro-imaginG system whenever possible

Storage: Electronic records that contain evidence of official transactions should be backed up and migrated to new systems or transferred to off-line storage such as CD-ROM for longer-term retention.  Strategies should be developed to ensure that these records remain accessible and useable in all future generations of software, for the entire period of their retention.

Destruction: Records stored on magnetic media such as floppy disks must be destroyed by reformatting at least once.  Deleting files from magnetic media is not sufficient to ensure the destruction of the records. Backup copies of the records must also be destroyed. Records held on optical media, such as rewritable disks, must be destroyed by cutting, crushing or other physical means.

Paper Records

Paper is very vulnerable to physical and chemical deterioration. Simple but careful storage under controlled conditions are therefore required to preserve an organization’s history. The easiest thing an organization can do to preserve its documentary history to control the document’s “environment”.

Documents should be kept in labelled, acid-free files with no colour (which can bleed through in the case of water damage). Files should ideally be stored in a cabinet with hanging folders (not stacked, which can speed the deterioration of the paper). Avoid the use of binders, which is an inefficient use of space and can cause warping and deterioration of the paper.

Version control: Earlier versions (i.e. drafts) of a document may be deleted once the previous versions are no longer needed to create future records.  However, drafts that must not be disposed of are those that document significant decisions, reasons and actions and contain significant information that is not contained in the final form of the record.  This applies to both paper and electronic drafts.

Destruction: Destruction as a normal administrative practice usually occurs because the records are duplicated, unimportant or for short-term use only.  This applies to both paper and electronic records.

The following categories of records may be destroyed as normal administrative practice:

  • superseded manuals or instructions;
  • catalogues and trade journals;
  • copies of press cuttings, press statements or publicity material;
  • letters of appreciation or sympathy, or anonymous letters;
  • requests for stock information;
  • address lists and change of address notices;
  • calendars, office diaries and appointment books
  • facsimiles where a photocopy has been made;
  • telephone message;
  • drafts of reports, correspondence, speeches, notes, spreadsheets, etc.
  • routine statistical and progress reports compiled and duplicated in other reports.

The University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections Branch

In September, 1991, the CSLA appointed University of Guelph its official Awards Archives. The University of Guelph's holdings of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Awards projects covers the years 1987 to the present.
Files are arranged chronologically and alphabetically by name of project within each year. The collection has over 600 projects, many of which include photographs, phonotapes, slides, video, diskette, monographs, letters, entry forms, and jury comments. More recent projects have submissions and images on disks.

CSLA documents have been catalogued in the University of Guelph Library's electronic catalogue, PRIMO. Full records include project names and dates, format and quantity of materials, clients and related persons, and a brief description of the contents of files along with the library's call number indicating the location of the records.

The library also holds a small number of related historical materials on the CSLA including

  • membership lists,
  • correspondence,
  • biographies of members
  • council minutes, 1934-1978
  • the CSLA code of ethics
  • membership lists of component organizations (AALA, BCSLA, OALA, PQLA, ASLA, IFLA) for the 1970's; and
  • CSLA president's correspondence, 1963-1969
  • accreditation reports
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee meeting documents: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
  • IFLA and International Alliance Files

In the future, the University of Guelph has agreed to continue to accept all CSLA archives.

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