Skip Headers
Oracle® Fusion Middleware User's Guide for Universal Records Management
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E10733-01
Go to Documentation Home
Go to Book List
Book List
Go to Table of Contents
Go to Index
Go to Master Index
Master Index
Go to Feedback page
Contact Us

Go to previous page
Go to current chapter
Go to next page
View PDF

2 Introduction to Records and Retention Management

This section covers the following topics:

2.1 Management of Retained Items

Oracle URM effectively manages content items on a retention schedule. The focus of records management tends to be the preservation of content for historical, legal, or archival purposes while also performing retention management functions.

Oracle URM combines both record and retention management into one software system. Oracle URM can track and to preserve content as needed, or dispose of content when it is no longer required.

The focus of retention management tends to be the scheduled elimination of content based on a schedule designed by a record administrator.

This section covers the following topics:

2.1.1 Needs for Retention

There are various reasons why organizations may need to retain content: Regulatory Needs

Many organizations are subject to regulations that require the retention of information for a specified period:

  • Sarbanes Oxley:

    • Applies to all publicly traded corporations or companies that may become public

    • Audit-related working papers, communications, and correspondence must be retained for five years after the audit

  • Government organizations: DoD 5015.2, General Records Schedule

  • Pharmaceutical/health care industry: HIPAA, FDA regulations

  • Financial services: SEC Rule 17a

  • Telecommunications industry: 47 CFR 42, and so on Litigation Needs

There may be litigation-related needs for effective and efficient retention management:

  • Policy-based retention of content:

    • Retain information needed for litigation (for example, a contract and any communication relating to it).

    • Centralized searching and retrieval of that information

  • Systematic disposition of eligible content:

    • Less material to search through during discovery

    • Less material to give to opposing counsel

  • Suspend/freeze disposition of content relating to pending litigation:

    • Avoid appearance of cover-up and possible liability when content relating to pending litigation is destroyed. Business Needs

There may be business-related needs for effective and efficient retention management:

  • "Islands of content" problem. Content items that are:

    • Generated across the organization

    • Created in a variety of forms, for example, e-mail, office application documents, sheets of paper, CDs, DVDs, microfiche, recordings of corporate events and conference calls, and so on

    • Stored in an ad-hoc fashion in a variety of locations, for example, employee desks, employee computers, corporate servers, central file storage, offsite storage.

  • There is a need to:

    • Provide a uniform infrastructure for retrieving and sharing the content across the organization.

    • Ensure that content items are retained over the period they are useful to the business.

Oracle URM manages all content, regardless of source, in a single, consistent, manageable infrastructure.

2.1.2 What Do I Retain?

Items for retention are any form of information, both physical and electronic, that is important enough for an organization so they must be retained for a specific period and may be disposed of when no longer needed. However, it can be revisioned, retained and can be managed on a disposition schedule.An organization may choose to manage content to eliminate outdated and misleading information and track documents related to legal proceedings.

This can include the following types of items:

  • DoD 5015 record: As defined previously with the stipulation that it is also made or received by an agency of the United States Government. The U.S. Government defines records as follows:

    "Records include all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an Agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value in them."

    In this documentation, the term "content" is synonymous with "record" and includes those items which can be tracked for DoD purposes.

  • Business content: As defined above with the stipulation that it is used in the transaction of public business.

  • Content items: As defined above with no additional governmental or public business criteria. An organization may choose to manage content to eliminate outdated and misleading information, track documents related to legal proceedings, and manage storage resources.

See the following sections for more information: Content Retention Qualities

Content retention qualities include:

  • Benefits: A benefit of content retention is reduced risk and cost of discovery for litigation, reduced costs associated with storage, elimination of clutter to promote user efficiency, and dissemination of only current information to improve communication.

  • Ability to Revision: Content can be checked out, modified, and checked back in to create multiple revisions and tracked through the revisioning process.

  • Disposition: Disposition schedules can be assigned to content by their location in the Retention Schedule. This defines how content should be retained and disposed of and helps eliminate outdated or superseded information, manage storage resources, or handle legal procedures.

  • Filing: Content can be filed into record folders or into categories for easier management of groups of content.

  • Other Functionality:

    • Classification/Supplemental Markings

    • Permanence

    • Record Folders

    • Freeze

    • Link

    • Subject to Review Importance of Content

Retained information can be important for a variety of reasons:

  • The information may be required for the day-to-day operations of the organization and must be kept for historical, tracking, or audit purposes (for example, receipts, order histories, completed forms, personnel files, corporate announcements).

  • The information may be necessary to the success or survival of the organization (for example, software source code, contracts, financial data).

  • There may be internal policies or external regulations requiring the information to be retained (for example, transaction documents, financial statements, lease agreements).

  • The data may be important in preparation for possible litigation or discovery. Retention

The information may need to be retained for different periods of time, depending on the type of content, its use within the organization, and the need to comply with external laws or regulations.

  • The retention may be time-based (for example, five years from the filing date).

  • The retention period may be event-based (for example, an employee termination).

  • The retention period may be both time-based and event-based (for example, two years after employee termination).

  • The retention period may be based on usage if usage is being tracked.

  • The retention may be based on revision (for example, after four revisions). Disposal

After a retention period, content items are disposed of by authorized people according to the requirements of the organization. Disposition actions can include:

  • Destroy (physical or electronic), possibly after a certain period of retention.

  • Store within the organization (physical or electronic).

  • Transfer to an external storage facility (physical or electronic).

  • Some content is deemed so important it will never be destroyed (for example, due to historical significance). "Disposal" in this instance indicates a status changes from active use.

2.1.3 Lifecycle for Retained Content

The lifecycle of retained content goes through several stages.

Figure 2-1 Life Cycle of Retained Content

Description of Figure 2-1 follows
Description of "Figure 2-1 Life Cycle of Retained Content"

The filing date is the date a content item is marked as an item being tracked. This often coincides with the check-in date. However, it is possible for an active content item already checked in to be tracked.

The cutoff of a content item is the moment the status of the item changes and the item goes into disposition. An item may be cut off after a specific period, at a specific event, or after an event.

2.1.4 Types of Retained Content

Retained content can be divided into categories depending on the perspective: Internal and External Retained Content

An internal retained content item is an electronic item stored within Content Server and managed by Oracle URM.

External content can also be managed. An external retained content item is a source file not stored in Content Server or Oracle URM. It can be in a variety of formats, both physical or electronic. If the source file is not specifically stored in Oracle URM, then it is considered external. The software can manage the disposition schedule, search metadata associated with the external file, and manage an electronic rendition of an external file. An electronic rendition can either be checked in as a primary file of an external item, or be filed as a separate file, and then linked to the external file metadata. Classified, Unclassified, Declassified Content

Content can be classified, unclassified, or declassified.

Classified content is that which requires protection against unauthorized disclosure (for example, because it contains information sensitive to the national security of the United States or because it is essential for a corporation's operation).

Unclassified content is not and has never been classified.

Declassified content was formerly classified, but that classified status has been lifted.

A classification specifies the security level of a classified content item. A classification guide provides default classification values for check-in pages.

Options can be chosen during the initial setup to insure that the system complies with the DoD 5015.2 standard (including Chapter 4). The software has been certified by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) to comply with that standard. A copy of the standard is available on the official web site of the Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services, Directives and Records Division at


Executive Order 12958: Classified National Security Information describes in detail the system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. This guide assumes you are familiar with proper classification protocols. Non-Permanent, Transfer or Accession, and Reviewed Content

For disposition purposes, content is categorized into non-permanent, transfer or accession to NARA, and subject to review. Most items fall into the non-permanent category.

Non-permanent items are usually destroyed after a retention period. Permanent items are deemed important for continued preservation and are retained indefinitely (for example, because of their historical significance).

Items can be scheduled for periodic reviews by authorized people. This complies with the DoD Vital Record Review criteria.

2.2 Basic Retention Management Concepts

Oracle URM is used to manage content, regardless of source or format, in a single, consistent, manageable infrastructure. Managed items are assigned retention schedules and disposition rules which are used to schedule lifecycles for content to eliminate outdated or superseded information, manage storage resources, or comply with legal audit holds.

Content and its associated metadata are stored in retention schedules, which are hierarchies with categories that define disposition instructions. Access to the items is controlled by rights assigned to users by a Records Administrator. The items can be accessed, reviewed, retained, or destroyed in an easy and efficient manner by authorized people according to the requirements of an organization.

Disposition schedules of content in the repository can also be managed, enabling the scheduling of lifecycles for content to eliminate outdated or superseded information, manage storage resources, or comply with legal audit holds.

The following concepts are important to understand in the context of retention management:

2.3 Physical Content Management

While Oracle URM enables organizations to manage the retention and disposition of content, Physical Content Management provides the capability of managing physical content that is not stored in the repository in electronic form.

All items, internal and external regardless of their source or format, are managed in a single, consistent, manageable infrastructure using one central application and a single user interface. The same retention schedules are used for both electronic (internal) and physical (external) content.

PCM tracks the storage locations and retention schedules of the physical content. The functionality provides the following main features:

2.4 Interaction with Content Server

The following layouts and search templates are supported. Users can change layouts and templates by setting them in their user profile):

The Classic layout or the Classic View search template are not supported. This guide assumes you are using the Trays layout.

2.5 Basic Retention Processes

The following steps outline the basic workflow of retained content:

  1. The retention schedule and any required components, such as triggers, periods, classifications, and custom security or metadata fields are created.

  2. Items are filed into the retention schedule by users. The filed items assume the disposition schedules of their assigned category.

  3. Disposition rules are processed in accordance with the defined disposition schedules, which usually have a retention period. The processing is activated by either a system-derived trigger or custom trigger. The trigger could affect one or more items simultaneously.

  4. Whenever a disposition event is due for action (as activated by a trigger), an e-mail notification is sent to the person responsible for processing the events. The same is true for review. The pending events and reviews are displayed in the pages accessed from the Retention Assignments links within the user interface.

  5. The Records Administrator or privileged user performs the review process. This is a manual process.

  6. The Records Administrator processes the disposition actions on the pending dispositions approval page. This is a manual process.

Many disposition schedules are time-based according to a predictable schedule. For example, content is often filed then destroyed after a certain number of years. The system tracks when the affected content is due for action. Notification email is sent to reviwers with links to the pages where reviewers can review and approve content and folders that are due for dispositions.

In contrast, time-event and event-based dispositions must be triggered with a non- system-derived trigger (a trigger that was defined for a particular scenario). For example, when a pending legal case starts litigation, the Records Administrator must enable the custom trigger and set its activation date because the start date information is external. Custom triggers can define event and time-event based disposition actions based on the occurrence of a particular event.