Cornell University Electronic Student Records Systems Project Report

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Appendix G. Self-Assessment

Preservation Program
Each organization must identify its own needs. A self-assessment is one way to do that. This is a basic example of the kinds of question that organization needs to answer to establish a preservation program that will suit the organization. This is a starting point for planning.

  1. Does the Archives Act or other authority to which you adhere include electronic records or media either by direct reference or by not excluding electronic records?
  2. Does your organization currently deal with electronic records? If so in what ways:
  3. What type of electronic records preservation program do you have or will you have?
    If you currently do not have to deal with electronic records:
    Do you anticipate having to deal with electronic records within the next five years?
  4. Are you aware of the types of electronic records that your records creators are creating?
  5. Do you have any staff that have been or could be trained in electronic records practice?
  6. What kind of funding do you have or could you expect to have for electronic records?
  7. Do you have units within your organization, other archives, or other partners with whom you can collaborate to establish an electronic records program that includes preservation?

Academic Record and Transcript Self-Audit

(Source: Academic Record and Transcript Guide, 1996, p. 28-29)
This self-audit provided by AACRAO should be completed by the Registrar but the archivists and records managers should be encourage the Registrar to complete the self-audit periodically, be aware of the self-audit process, and have access to the results. Consult the Guide for the full set of questions. Types of questions that might be of particular interest to recordkeepers are noted.

Categories of questions:

  1. Does your transcript include all of the components listed as essential? (11 questions)
  2. Do you ensure that ‘not recommended’ elements and nonacademic information are not included on transcripts? (2 questions)
  3. Is your transcript easy to interpret? (9 questions)
  4. Are policies and procedures for transcript services effective? (9 questions)
    [Several of these questions address mechanisms to prevent fraudulent transcripts. One question deals with the key to the transcript, which defines the content of transcripts as implemented by the university]
  5. Are your records and transcripts secure? (9 questions- 1 with 9 subquestions)
    [These questions deal with physical security of offices and storage areas, training and awareness, confidentiality statements, control of supplies and equipment, data security, and testing. Note: Question 6: Are permanent academic records backed up by microfilm or magnetic media, which are stored in another building?]

Student Records Systems preservation assessment
The following are sample questions to the organizational setting for the electronic student records system at your university. You will be aware of the best sources for the questions, questions that do not need to be asked, and questions that should be added to the list.

Is the Registrar aware of AACRAO publications and recommendations?

Does the university have a retention policy that includes electronic records? Is it based on AACRAO's retention guidelines?

Do the schedule items for student records adequately cover all of the records?

Who is responsible for the content of the student records system at your university?
(Generally this IS the Registrar, but this should be confirmed)

Who is responsible for maintaining the student records system at your university?

When and how was the student records system developed (historical background)?

What software was it developed in? What kind of structure does the database have? What significant enhancements have been made to the system? Are there any planned developments for the system?

What kind of documentation does the system have? How is it updated and controlled, and where is it located? Does the use the AACRAO database and transcript metadata definition?

What users have access to the system? What kind of access to the system do these categories of users have? How is access provided to each category of user?

What kind of system backup and maintenance procedures does the system have? Do they meet archival requirements? Is there a copy stored off-site? Is there a Business Continuity Plan?

When are student records transferred to the Archives? Are all of the student records that should have been transferred in the custody of the Archives?

What kinds of documents and information are included in student records?

Are transcripts stored by the University or generated on demand? If transcripts are stored, in what format are the transcripts stored?

Have any electronic student records been transferred to the custody of the Archives?

If so, in what format are they transferred? How are the records stored? Are the records included in an established preservation management program?

Is there adequate documentation to support the preservation of the records? Is any of the documentation transferred electronic metadata exported from the system?

What is the policy for providing access to historical student records? At what point does/will responsibility for providing access to the records transfer to the Archives? Are there separate policies for transcripts and other student records?