MARA 210-11
Records Creation, Appraisal and Retention
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Tom Norris
Phone: 408-309-4160
Office Hours: By appointment.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course has an ANGEL site. Students will be instructor enrolled on January 15, 2010.

Course Description

Overview of records creation processes; management and documentation of those processes, including forms, mail, reports, reprographics management, document control, legal compliance; basic appraisal concepts; records inventories and retention scheduling; vital records; contingency planning; records disposition; and archives.

Course Prerequisites: MARA 200 and MARA 202 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes 
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • articulate the roles of context and function in identifying and analyzing records for purposes of creation and retention;
  • perform environmental and functional analyses of an organization for purposes of establishing context for the records of the organization;
  • communicate the issues surrounding the creation and capture of records in age of electronic media;
  • apply the tool of functional analysis to identify and define records series for purposes of records retention;
  • identify regulatory requirements for records creation and retention, evaluate the potential need for records in legal actions; and determine operational requirements for the retention of records;
  • apply the fundamentals of archival appraisal to the records of an organization; and
  • create records retention schedules and document the associated analysis and appraisal. 

MARA 210 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

Understand the evolution of information recordkeeping systems in response to technological change

C.  Understand the evolution of information recordkeeping systems in response to technological change
D.  Have expertise in the basic concepts and principles used to identify, evaluate, select, organize, maintain, and provide access to records of current and enduring value
E.  Understand the system of standards and structures endorsed and utilized by the recordkeeping professions, particularly in the areas of electronic records and digital assets management
H.  Be conversant with current information technologies and best practices relating to records preservation and security

Course Requirements

This course requires 12 relatively short assignments that, with 2 exceptions, will build on each other to result in a finalized and documented retention schedule for an organization.  Students will submit their assignments separately, but are encouraged to confer with their classmates and review and comment on each other's work before submission.  With exception of the first one, students will have 3 weeks to complete each assignment.

Students may accumulate up to 100 points to determine their course grade.  See Grading below for details.  The assignments will be introduced generally in the Introductory lecture in ANGEL and then in detail with associated lectures.  Students are encourage to contact the instructor during office hours or via e-mail with questions. 

Assignments are as follows:

  • Assignment 1 - Select an organization (6.6 points, due February 8).  Choose a small organization with which you are familiar to serve as the subject of analysis and retention schedule development, describe the organization, and explain the rationale behind the choice.
  • Assignment 2 - Environmental analysis (6.6 points, due February 22).  Analyze and describe the environment of the selected organization and how it may affect management of the organization's records.
  • Assignment 3 - Functional analysis (6.6 points, due March 1).  Identify and articulate the functions of the selected organization and major activities associated with them.
  • Assignment 4 - Records creation and capture case study (6.6 points, due March 15).  Read materials from linked provided with the lesson on ANGEL and write a short essay discussing the issues related to records capture that the case illustrates and evaluate the solution that was adopted.
  • Assignment 5 - Records retention policy (7-5 points, due March 29).  Compare and contrast records retention policies, 2 of which will be provide and 1 which must be located by the student, and write a brief essay on the subject.
  • Assignment 6 - Identifying and defining records series for records retention (6.6 points).  Using the results of assignments 1-3 and methods discussed in the readings and lecture, describe the records series of the selected organization.
  • Assignment 7 - Determine statutory, regulatory, and accountability requirements (6.6 points, due April 12).  Research, determine, and describe the records creation and retention requirements in law, regulations, and policy to which the organization is subject.
  • Assignment 8 - Assessing legal risk (6.6 points, due April 19).  Based on the functions of the selected organization, identify potential risks for litigation and research any associated statutes of limitation.
  • Assignment 9 - Determine operational value of records (6.6 points, due April 26).  Identify and describe ongoing need for records to support the business activities of the selected organization.
  • Assignment 10 - Conduct an archival  appraisal (7-5 points, due May 3).  Following the methods discussed in the associated lecture and readings, appraise the archival value of the records of the selected organization and describe your conclusions and the rationales behind them.
  • Assignment 11 - Finalize a retention schedule (6.6 points - due May 10).  Use the results of assignments 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 to draft a records retention schedule for the selected organization.
  • Assignment 12 - Documenting analysis and appraisal (6.6 points - due May 17). Prepare written documentation summarizing the research, methodology, reasoning, and conclusions underlying the retention schedule for the selected organization.
  • Class participation (20 points).  There will be a number of discussions forums on the ANGEL site for this course, each posing a separate topic.  Students will be expected to participate in the discussion the week following the associated lecture.  Each student will also be required to develop one of the discussion forums.  Grades will reflect both participation in the forums developed by others and the development of one's own sponsored forum.

All assignments are due by 11:59pm on their respective due dates.  Late submission will cause a loss of 10% of the grade for the assignment.

Course Calendar

  • Understanding Records
    • Week 1:  Introduction and Basics of Records
    • Week 2:  Environmental Analysis
    • Week 3:  Analyzing Functions
  • Records Creation and Capture
    • Week 4:  Records Creation and Capture Fundamentals
    • Week 5:  The Challenge of Electronic Records
  • Records Retention
    • Week 6:  Introduction to Records Retention and Records Retention Policy
    • Week 7:  Records Retention Schedules and Identifying Records Series
    • Week 8:  Retention Analysis - Statutory, Regulatory, and Accountability Requirements
    • Week 9:  Retention Analysis - Assessing Legal Risk
    • Week 10:  Retention Analysis - Determining Operational Value
  • Archival Appraisal
    • Week 11:  Introduction to Archival Appraisal
    • Week 12:  Conducting Archival Appraisal
  • Documenting and Implementing Records Retention Policies and Schedules
    • Week 13:  Finalizing Retention Schedules and Documenting Analysis
    • Week 14:  Implementing Retention Policies and Schedules
  • Leftovers
    • Week 15:  Litigation Holds, Vital Records, and Disaster Preparedness.

Readings for each week will be indicated on the ANGEL site in the folder designated under lessons for that week.

Textbooks and Readings

Each lesson will have assigned readings, both in the required textbook and in materials that will be provided on ANGEL via links to various web sites.  These links will be located in the lesson folder for the week to which they apply.

Required Textbooks:

  • Shepherd, E., & Yeo, G. (2002). Managing Records: A Handbook of Principles and Practice. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1856043703. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.