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Storage and Maintenance of Records in Record Rooms


Storage and Maintenance of Records in Record Rooms By Dr. K. B.Rai Advisor A R Department Government of NCT of Delhi Record Policy As per record policy resolution of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Storage and Maintenance of Records in Record Rooms

Storage and Maintenance of Records in Record
  • By
  • Dr. K. B.Rai
  • Advisor
  • A R Department
  • Government of NCT of Delhi

Record Policy
  • As per record policy resolution of 1972, the
    Ministries/Departments and other public offices
    coming within the purview of this Resolution will
    be responsible for their current and semi-current
    records, periodical appraisal and elimination of
    ephemeral records and for orderly and systematic
    transfer of records of permanent value to the
    National Archives.
  • The departmental record rooms holding
    semi-current records should be placed in the
    charge of properly trained, suitable and
    responsible full time staff.

  • The departmental Record Officers should be
    responsible for the proper maintenance and
    management of the semi-current records entrusted
    to their care, for compilation and periodic
    revision of Retention Schedules of the
    Department, for appraisal and weeding of records
    in accordance with the procedure laid down, for
    compilation and issue of annual indexes to
    record, for compilation and issue of the
    organizational history of the department and
    annual supplements to it, for maintenance of
    general liaison with the National Archives, and
    for tendering advice generally on all matters
    pertaining to records management to all sections
    within the department.

Need for Record Rooms and storage conditions
  • All government organizations are expected to have
    their own record rooms so that the semi-current
    and old records can be transferred there for
    systematic upkeep maintenance and timely weeding
  • Records require storage conditions and handling
    processes that take into account their specific
    physical and chemical properties.
  • Records of continuing value require higher
    quality storage and handling to preserve them for
    as long as that value exists.
  • Storage conditions and handling processes should
    ensure protection of records from unauthorized
    access, loss or destruction, and from theft and

  • The facility must be constructed with
    non-combustible materials and building elements,
    including walls, columns and floors.
  • Roof elements may, however, be constructed with
    combustible materials if installed in accordance
    with local building codes and if roof elements
    are protected by a properly installed, properly
    maintained wet-pipe automatic sprinkler system,
    Installation of Sprinkler Systems.

Records management a specialized job.
  • The responsibilities and authorities for
    systematic record management need to be defined,
    assigned, and promulgated so that it should be
    clear who is responsible for taking the necessary
  • The responsibility for proper up keep of records
    falls on all employees of the organization.
    However, all others including records officers,
    executives, systems administrators and others who
    create records as part of their work, should be
    sensitized and record management should be
    reflected in job descriptions and similar
    statements as one of their primary
  • Specific leadership responsibility and
    accountability for records management should be
    assigned to a person with appropriate authority
    within the organization.

Nomination of Record Officer
  • The Public Record Act stipulates that every
    records creating agency shall nominate one of its
    officers as records officer to discharge the
    functions under this Act. The records officer
    should not be below the rank or grade of a
    Section Officer. A copy of office order
    nominating the record officer shall be forwarded
    to the Director General or Head of the Archives,
    as the case may be. Section 5ofthe Act provides
    as under-
  • (1) Every records creating agency shall nominate
    one of its officers as records officer to
    discharge the functions under this Act.
  • (2) Every records creating agency may set up such
    number of record rooms in such places as it deems
    fit and shall place each record room under the
    charge of a records officer.

Role Responsibility of Record Officer
  • The records officer shall be responsible for
    under taking the following activities as per
    section 6 of the Act-
  • Proper arrangement, maintenance and preservation
    of public records under his charge
  • Periodical review of all public records and
    weeding out public records of ephemeral value
  • Appraisal of public records which are more than
    twenty-five years old in consultation with the
    National Archives of India or, as the case may
    be, the Archives of the Union territory with a
    view to retaining public records of permanent
  • Destruction of public records in such manner and
    subject to such conditions as may be prescribed
    under sub-section (1) of section 8

  • Compilation of a schedule of retention for public
    records in consultation with the National
    Archives of India or, as the case may be, the
    Archives of the Union Territory
  • Periodical review for downgrading of classified
    public records in such manner as may be
  • Adoption of such standards, procedures and
    techniques as may be recommended from time to
    time by the National Archives of India for
    improvement of record management system and
    maintenance of security of public records
  • Compilation of annual indices of public records

  • Compilation of organizational history and annual
    supplement thereto
  • Assisting the National Archives of India or, as
    the case may be, the Archives of the Union
    territory for public records management
  • Submission of annual report to the Director
    General or, as the case may be head of the
    Archives in such manner as may be prescribed
  • Transferring of records of any defunct body to
    the National Archives of India or the Archives of
    the Union Territory, as the case may be, for

Duties of record officers and staff
  • Apart from the Record officers a number of other
    officers and staff members are associated with
    the maintenance of records. The broad functions
    to be performed by the officers and staff deputed
    for record management are given below
  • Departmental Record Officer
  • Planning for the proper maintenance and
    management of semi-current and non-current
    records in a scientific manner in the
    departmental record room.
  • To ensure transfer of all semi-current records
    from the sections to the departmental record room
    regularly and according to rules framed from time
    to time.

  • To ensure that all confidential/secret etc.
    records are de-classified by officers appointed
    for the purpose as per para 7 (d) of the Archival
    Policy Resolution and to get these de-classified
    records transferred to the record room for
    amalgamation with their respective record groups,
    which is, must in order to insure that no record
    groups get disintegrated.
  • Providing guidance to sections for proper
    recording, reviewing and appraisal of
    semi-current (Category C-type) records as per
    rules and archival standards.
  • Liaison work with National Archives of India and
    sections within the department for proper
    implementation of the provisions of the Archival
    Policy Resolution and other rules framed from
    time to time.

  • Preparation of Retention Schedule for records of
    the Central Ministries/Departments Offices and
    review after every five years in accordance with
    the Archival Policy Resolution.
  • To ensure regular review and weeding out of A and
    B classes of records in consultation with
    National Archives of India and in accordance with
    the Central Secretariat Manual of Office
    Procedure and statutory rules framed for the
  • To ensure transfer of all records selected for
    permanent preservation to the National Archives
    of India, with lists in triplicate and properly
  • Compilation of organizational history and annual
    supplements to it.

  • Guiding the staff for the arrangement of
    semi-current records received from sections.
  • Maintenance of liaison with the National Archives
    of India in the day to day problems concerning
    management and administration of semi-current and
    non-current files in the departmental record
  • Supervision of departmental record room and the
    staff working under him and safeguarding of
    records from various enemies of records, i.e.
    fungi, insects like silverfish, white ants, fire

Record Rooms
  • A separate record room/stack area should be
    earmarked for proper upkeep of records. The
    record room should preferably be located either
    on the ground floor or in its basement. A floor
    load limit must be established for the records
    storage area by structural engineer. The limit
    must take into consideration the height and type
    of the shelving or storage equipment, the width
    of the aisles, the configuration of the space,

  • In this regard the following issues need
  • The windows, if any that open into the space
    outside or in the courtyards in the interior
    should be fitted with metal grills and wire mesh
  • Rain shades should be provided to avoid splashing
    of rainwater in the room.
  • Entry into such rooms should be regulated for the
    safety and security of records.
  • There should be easy movement of trolleys
    carrying records etc.
  • Trolleys, ramps should be provided near the
    entrance to allow free movement of trolleys.
  • The stack area, the record reference and
    reception portions should be separate as far as

  • It may be ensured that no water pipes or drains
    pass near, above, or under the record rooms. Its
    floor level should normally be above the general
    level of the other floors of the building so as
    to prevent any inflow of water in the stacks due
    to blockage of drains/sewers or accidental damage
    to water pipes in the building,

  • Storage of records in an air-conditioned
    atmosphere is conducive to its longevity. As such
    it is desirable to air-condition the record
    rooms. Paper-based permanent records must be
    stored in records storage space that provides 24
    hour/365 days per year air conditioning
    (temperature, humidity, and air exchange)
    equivalent to that required for office space.
    Air-conditioner or window type air-conditioner
    should be installed where the buildings are not
    having central air conditioning.
  • The air conditioning facility should be able to
    serve the load comprising of bulk of shelving
    equipment, archive material, the number of
    persons sitting in the record room, the bulk of
    records moving in and out, and the lighting
    wattage etc.
  • Humidity and temperature in air-conditioned
    record room should be measured regularly. The
    ambient conditions for storage of records are -
  • temperature 22C 25C and
  • relative humidity 45.

  • In order to maintain proper humidity control in
    the conditioned area, it is necessary that
    permeation of dampness through the walls or
    floors does not take place.
  • For effective air-conditioning, ventilation
    should be so planned as to permit minimum leakage
    of the conditioned atmosphere.
  • The floor should be laid waterproof and the walls
    should be given waterproof oil paint coating.
  • A provision for stand by plant should be made to
    avoid damage to records.
  • co

Non Air-conditioned Area
  • In cases where due to economy or fiscal problems
    it may not be feasible to get record rooms
    air-conditioned steps should be taken to provide
    circulation of air in the record storage room by
    providing air-circulators, fans and exhaust fans
    to counteract the effect of high humidity and
    prevent formation of pockets of stagnant air in
    the storage room. In this regard the following
    issues need consideration -
  • Chemicals, like silica gel or anhydrous calcium
    chloride in enameled or glazed earthen pots
    should be used to reduce humidity in the room.
  • Mechanical dehumidifiers may be used to check the
    deleterious influence of excessively humid

  • Temperature in record room should be kept within
    reasonable range by choosing such rooms, which
    are located in the interior or have a verandah
    around them.
  • Room coolers may be installed during summer.
  • Care should be taken to see that direct sunlight
    does not fall on the records. Ground glass panes
    or heat resistant glass panes may be fitted on
    the windows.
  • Provision of curtains may be done to create
    desired atmosphere.

Shelving system
  • Records should be stored on such a media that
    ensures their usability, reliability,
    authenticity and preservation for as long as they
    are needed. Issues relating to the maintenance,
    handling and storage of records arise throughout
    their existence, not only when they become
    inactive. Shelving in a record room should be
    functional, durable easy to clean, simple in
    design and which offers maximum protection to
    records. It should provide maximum safety from
    fire, dust etc, and offer maximum facility and
    convenience for servicing. In this regard the
    following issues need consideration -
  • All storage shelving and racking systems must be
    designed and installed to provide seismic bracing
    that meets the requirements of the state laws.

  • Shelves should be fixed away from the walls on
    upright fixers and at equidistance throughout the
    storage area.
  • Racking system/ steel shelving or other
    open-shelf records storage equipment must be
    braced to prevent collapse under full load.
  • Distance between successive shelf rows may vary
    from 0.71 M to 1 M with a central gangway of
    1.5-2 M or it may depend on the dimensions of
    records/files and the manner of keeping the
    record series on them.
  • The guidelines laid down in IS 2663-1964 Code
    of Practice for the Basic Elements in the Design
    of Buildings for Achieves may be followed.
  • The steel shelving, where provided, should be
    painted rust proof. The paint should be stable
    and non-injurious to documents.

  • Steel shelves may preferably be slotted for
    vertical free circulation of air.
  • Where wooden shelves are provided the wood should
    be protected against termite infestation.
  • Sharp edges and corners in the shelves should be
    rounded off to avoid physical damage to

Storage system
  • Appropriate storage environment and media,
    physical protective materials, handling
    procedures and storage systems should be
    considered, when designing the records system. It
    should meet the need of the records to be kept
    and maintained. The records system should take
    care of disaster preparedness to ensure that
    risks are identified and mitigated.
  • The documents preserved in record room differ in
    size and shape and commonly consist of variety of
    items like bound volumes, loose sheets, files,
    manuscripts, maps, charts, plans drawings. As
    such shelving arrangement needs to be made for
    each type of materials according to the nature,
    shape and bulk of the material. In this regard
    the following issues need consideration -

  • While designing the shelves, it may be ensured
    that neither the nor the materials kept on them
    touch shelves the walls, ceilings or the floor.
  • The distance from wall, ceiling and floor should
    be at least six inches (15 cm.).
  • The records should be loosely packed on the
    shelves to enable free circulation of air and
    prevent formation of pockets of high humidity.
  • Unbound records may either be tied between 2
    pieces of 5 ply boards or kept in carton boxes
    for safety.
  • Stepladders or platform type ladders and trolleys
    fixed with swivel castors may be used for
    movement and proper servicing of records.

Use of chemicals/sprays
  • To eliminate damage to records and/or loss of
    information due to insects, rodents, mold and
    other pests that are attracted to organic
    materials under specific environmental
    conditions, the facility must have an Integrated
    Pest Management program (IPM). The Integrated
    Pest Management is a sustainable approach to
    managing pests by combining biological, cultural,
    physical, and chemical tools in a way that
    minimizes where types of risks. The IPM program
    emphasizes three fundamental elements viz
    prevention, least toxic methods and system
    approach -
  • (1) It should be able to provide preventive
    maintenance process that seeks to identify and
    eliminate potential pest access, shelter, and

  • (2) It should aim at minimizing both pesticide
    use and risk through alternate control techniques
    that present the lowest potential hazard to
    humans and the environment and
  • (3) The pest control contract must be effectively
    coordinated with all other relevant programs that
    operate in and around a building, including plans
    and procedures involving design and construction,
    repairs and alterations, cleaning, waste
    management, food service, and other activities.
  • The record room should be sprayed with
    insecticide solutions beneath the shelves, behind
    the cabinets and also in corners etc for
    safeguarding the records against damage due to
    insect infestation.

  • Guidelines for control and prevention of termite
    infestation in archives and libraries issued by
    National Archives should be followed.
  • Cleanliness should be maintained so that termites
    and other insects do not find hiding place for
    damage and propagation.
  • All cracks in the floor and walls should be
    filled up to deny any hiding place to pests.
    Spray guns or pressure guns or any other similar
    equipment may be used.
  • Water loging around building and dump spots in
    the building should be removed.
  • Such of the chemicals should only be sprayed
    which do not have any adverse effect on the
    durability and permanency of paper and other
    record components.

  • Preservatives like naphthalene in the form of
    balls tied in meshed cloth or bricks kept on
    shelves should be used to keep the records safe
    from insects.
  • The insecticide formulations like flit and other
    related insecticides which have durable effect
    should be used regularly.
  • Entry of rodents into the record room should be
    checked, by using proper wire mesh at the outlet
  • Rattraps should be kept handy for eliminating
    their menace in case of their entry in the record
  • Assistance of National Archives should be sought
    when any insect infestation or fungus growth is
    noticed or detected.
  • Anti- termite treatment during construction of
    the building should be taken.

Dusting arrangements
  • Regular dusting should be done in the storage
    area with the help of a vacuum cleaner to remove
    dust from the stored material. The record room
    itself should also be kept absolutely clean.
    Staff engaged in dusting should be provided with
    dust respirators.

Lighting system
  • Good lighting is necessary for every record room.
    Modern lighting practice is to provide defused
    lights of varying intensity for different rooms.
    Lighting can be improved by using paints that
    reflect light.

Fire Fighting Arrangements
  • Fire is the biggest menace that needs to be
    controlled to check loss of valuable records. The
    fire detection and protection systems must be
    designed or reviewed by fire service department.
    All interior walls separating records storage
    areas from each other and from other storage
    areas in the building must be at least one-hour
    fire barrier walls. In this regard the following
    issues need consideration
  • As far as possible the record room should be made
    fire resistant.
  • Large record rooms should be divided into
    separate fire resistant compartments and
    additional automatic dampers should be installed
    in the centrally air- conditioned ducts to ensure
    the immediate closure and thereby preventing the
    spread of fire to other compartments.
  • It to provide emergency exits, besides the is
    advisable main entry door to the record room to
    remove valuable archival material to safety, when
    necessary. Every record room should be fitted
    with a fire detection alarm system to detect any
    fire in the storage area.

  • All electric wiring should be through conduit
    pipes and the main control switches of lights
    etc. installed in the storage area should be
    located outside the record room so as to protect
    against any accidental fire.
  • Use of naked light, heaters and smoking in the
    room should be prohibited.
  • All light and power circuits should be switched
    off after office hours.
  • Watch and Ward Staff provided for this area may
    use torches, if necessary.
  • Water pipes and hoses should be installed at
    convenient points to fight any major
  • All equipments for fire detection/combating
    should be checked at regular intervals to ensure
    their being in active operative state at all

  • Use of temporary lights, loose and ordinary
    flexible wire for fans, air-circulators and other
    electrical appliances for the repository should
    be avoided and instead electrical appliances and
    fittings in the repository should be periodically
    checked for loose connections and defects
  • The area occupied by the records storage facility
    must be equipped with an anti-intrusion alarm
    system, or equivalent, meeting the requirements
    appropriate ISI Standard.
  • No oil-type electrical transformers except
    thermally protected devices included in
    fluorescent light ballasts, may be installed in
    the records storage areas.
  • Hazardous materials, including records on
    cellulose nitrate film, must not be stored in
    records storage areas.
  • For combating fires, adequate equipment of carbon
    dioxide should be provided at suitable places in
    the building for easy accessibility.

  • All staff members connected with the storage of
    records should be trained in fire fighting.
  • A fire drill may be arranged at least once in two
    months to keep the trained staff alert.
  • Instructions regarding prevention of fire and
    fire fighting in case of fire for the common man
    should be prominently displayed in the record
  • Telephone number of District Fire Service for
    contact in emergency should be prominently
    displayed at a central place in the record room.

Minimum Security Standards
  • It should have the following facilities
  • Parking space sufficient to meet the official and
    clients requirements.
  • Closed circuit television monitoring system.
    Twenty-four hour CCTV surveillance and recording
    is desirable at all locations as a deterrent.
  • Lighting with emergency power back up adequate
    enough to meet day to day requirements
  • Security in and around the premises. The number
    of guards at any given time will depend on the
    size of the facility, the hours of operation, and
    current risk factors, etc.
  • X-ray magnetometer should be installed at
    public entrances.

  • All packages entering building should be subject
    to x-ray screening and/or visual inspection.
  • Record producing agency should seek photo id for
    all personnel who visit it.
  • Visitor control/screening system should be
  • Unauthorized access to utility areas should be
  • Provide emergency power to critical systems
    (alarm systems, radio communications, computer
    facilities, etc.)

  • Precaution should be to taken to avoid eatables,
    smoking, and carrying naked flame in the storage
    area. Constant staff vigilance is essential for
    maintenance of proper record rooms.

Storage Equipments
  • The record rooms need sufficient equipment well
    designed for mass storage of records. These can
    be classified into three categories, vertical,
    lateral and power.
  • Vertical Equipment The most commonly used
    equipment in records management is the standard
    four/ five drawer cabinets. Open shelf filling
    system is another type of vertical equipment used
    by and large. The open shelf system provides for
    maximum utilization of the space. It helps in
    placing large number of files and registers from
    floor to upward space. It is recommended only
    where the records are to be removed with the
    folders intact but is not recommended where
    documents are removed from the folders. Vertical
    file is mostly used for inactive records.

  • Vertical Rotary Files Several types of vertical
    rotary files have been developed which holds
    considerably more files than the standard file.
    The retrieval is fast and convenient in this
    system due to rotators.
  • Lateral Equipment The lateral equipment uses
    pull out drawers that require considerably less
    space than the standard file cabinets. Storing
    of records in drawers than in open shelves may
    expedite retrieval. Since the lateral equipment
    can be locked this seems to be better than the
    open shelf filing.

  • Power Filing Equipment Power filing equipment
    reduce the need for number of personnel needed in
    the records management function and the resultant
    saving from labour costs may offset the cost of
    equipment. Three types of power equipment are
    available Rotary Structural and Mobile.
  • Rotary Power Files This is used in hospitals
    etc. and is used for storing information about
    customers, or clients or patients records. Power
    is used to rotate the mechanism until the desired
    file bin is accessible. The record functionary
    can retrieve the required record easily.

  • Structural Power Files Under this system, at the
    press of button, an electronic eye scans and
    locates the proper record bin and a retrieval
    mechanism pushes it to the operator who removes
    the desired file.
  • Mobile Filing Equipment Under this system files
    are stored back to back against one another. A
    railing system facilitates the backward and
    forward movement of shelves. Space is created by
    moving the shelves to the desired shelf.

Handling of records
  • The Manual of Office Procedure lays down the
    following procedure for handling records.
  • Recorded files will be kept serially arranged in
    the sections/desks concerned for not more than
    one year, after which they will be transferred to
    the departmental record room. For files due for
    such transfer the register at Appendix 24 of MOP
    will be consulted.
  • In the event of transfer of work from one section
    to another, the relevant files also will be
    transferred, after being listed in duplicate in
    the form at Appendix 29 of MOP. The section
    taking over the files for its record will retain
    one copy of this list and the other acknowledged
    and returned to the section transferring them.

  • Files transferred by a section to the
    departmental record room will be accompanied by a
    list of files Appendix 29 of MOP in duplicate.
    The departmental record room will verify that all
    the files mentioned in the list have been
    received, retain one copy of the list and return
    the other, duly signed, to the section concerned.
    In the record room, these lists will be kept
    section-wise in separate file covers
  • The departmental record room will maintain a
    record review register Appendix 30 of MOP in
    which a few pages will be allotted for each
    future year. Class C' files marked for review in
    a particular year will be entered in the pages
    earmarked for that year in the register.

  • Files surviving the review undertaken on their
    attaining the 25th year of life will be stamped
    prominently as transferred to NAI' and retired
    to the National Archives. Files transferred to
    the National Archives will be accompanied by a
    list (in triplicate), one copy of which will be
    returned by the National Archives, duly signed,
    to the departmental record room.
  • Record rooms will be properly ventilated, with
    adequate lighting and fire-safety equipment and
    avoid exposure to moisture. The records will be
    arranged serially section-wise and will be
    regularly dusted. For proper preservation the
    records will be periodically fumigated and
    mothballs will be used.
  • In a computerized environment, it would be useful
    to maintain list of records in electronic form,
    in the Departmental Record Room.

  • Transfer of permanent records All records
    scheduled, as permanent shall be transferred to
    the National Archives/State Archives after the
    period specified in accordance with procedures
    specified under.
  • Requisitioning of records No recorded file will
    be issued from the sectional, departmental or
    Archival records except against a signed
    requisition in form prescribed under Public
    Records Act, 1993 in the case of Archival records
    and in the form at Appendix 34 of MOP in the case
    of other records.

  • The department concerned will be endorsed
    requisitions for files belonging to other
    departments and in the custody of the National
    Archives before they are sent to the Archives. If
    the requisitioned file happens to be a
    confidential one, the Archives will not supply
    the file direct to the requisitioning department
    but route it through the department to which it
  • The requisition will be kept in the place of the
    file issued.
  • If the requisitioned file is one that has been
    microfilmed or printed, normally a microfilmed or
    printed copy and not the original will be issued
    to the requisitioning department.

  • If a requisitioned file initially obtained for
    being put up in one case is subsequently put up
    on another, a fresh requisition should be given
    to the section daftry or sent to the departmental
    record room or the National Archives, as the case
    may be, for replacing the original requisition
    which will be returned to the office concerned.
    In the case of records obtained from the National
    Archives, the fresh requisition slip will be
    prominently marked change slip'.
  • On return, the requisitioned file will be
    restored to its place and the requisition
    returned to the section/official concerned.
  • Files obtained by a section from the departmental
    record room will normally be returned within 3
    months. If they are not received back within this
    period, the departmental record room will remind
    the section concerned. For this purpose, the
    record room will maintain a simple register for
    keeping a record of the files issued to the
    various sections each month. A similar register
    will be maintained by each section as a record of
    files borrowed from it by other sections.

  • Files obtained by a department from the National
    Archives will not normally be retained for more
    than 6 months except with the latter's specific
    knowledge and consent.