What is a Record?

Public Records in Connecticut*

Record:  Public records are defined in CT Gen. Statutes Sec. 1-200(5) as:"any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business--prepared, owned, used, received, or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostatted, photographed, or recorded by any other method."

Non-Record:  The above definition of a record is very broad. The physical characteristics of non-record materials are the same as for record materials. The differences between a non-record and a record are the reasons for keeping the information and how the information is used. Now, more and more information is kept in non-paper format. When you examine the records kept by an office, you may find that information is kept in machine-readable format as well as hard copy. You will have to make the distinction between the record and the non-record copy.

Record Series:  A group of similar or related records that are normally used and filed as a unit and that can be evaluated as a unit for determining the record retention period. All of the records that make up a record series must have the same retention periods. You cannot break up a record series into individual records and give each a different retention period.

Records Retention Schedule:  A comprehensive list of record series which indicates for each series the length of time it is to be maintained until it is reviewed for destruction or archival retention. It also indicates retention in active and inactive storage areas.

*All definitions are from the 1999 State of Connecticut OPRA Records Management Manual.

Examples of Records 

  1. Official student transcripts.
  2. Purchase orders, invoices, and expense or travel vouchers.
  3. Payroll time sheets.
  4. Correspondence.
  5. Meeting minutes.
  6. Organizational manuals, handbooks, and publications.

Examples of Non-Records

  1. Extra copies kept only for convenience.
  2. Informational copies of correspondence and other papers on which no documented administrative action is taken.
  3. Duplicate copies of documents maintained in the same file.
  4. Requests from the public for basic information such as manuals and forms that do not have any administrative retention requirements.
  5. Transmittal letters that do not add information to that contained in the transmitted material.
  6. Reproduced or published material received from other offices which requires no action and is not required for documentary purposes. The originating agency is required to maintain the record copy.
  7. Catalogs, trade journals, and other publications or papers received which require no action and are not part of a case upon which foreseeable action will be taken.
  8. Library or museum material collected for informational or exhibition purposes.
  9. Stocks of publications, forms, or other printed documents which become obsolete or outdated due to revision. The originating agency should maintain a record copy.
  10. Working papers, preliminary drafts, or other material summarized in final or other form and which have no value once action has been taken.