Electronic Messages as Business Records – What To Keep and for How Long

This chart provides an overview of basic records retention categories. UCOP employees should refer to the Message Management website  for more complete information and in particular review “Managing Electronic Messages as University Records.” How long to retain a message that is a business record depends on its retention category, as shown below.

Record Retention Category

What To Do



Delete promptly, or as soon as they are no longer immediately useful.

Messages with Variable Retention Periods


Check the UC Records Retention Schedule for a prescribed retention period. If there is no defined period, consult your manager and consider good business practices in your field. Save records that colleagues should be able to access to network file shares, SharePoint sites, or print and put them in central hard copy files. 

Messages with Permanent Retention


Permanent records should be accessible to more than one authorized individual and therefore stored in network file shares, SharePoint sites or another electronic repository, or in central hard copy files, and the UCOP Central Records Collection when appropriate. UCOP departments are responsible for sending a copy of messages designated for permanent retention to RMS for inclusion in the permanent UCOP Central Records Collection. Selecting that address as a “cc” at the time the message is sent is acceptable. A description of the types of records suitable for the collection is provided on the Records Management Services website.

Messages under Records Holds


Retain until officially notified that the hold is no longer in place and the records may be destroyed.