2 Understanding Retention Management

This section covers the following topics:

2.1 Management of Retained Items

Oracle WebCenter Content: Records 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.

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

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

This section covers the following topics:

2.1.1 What To 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 An organization may choose to manage content to eliminate outdated and misleading information and track documents related to legal proceedings.

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

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.

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

  • To organize items that are created in a variety of forms (email, CDs, DVDs) and which are stored in a variety of locations (employee computers, central file storage, and so on).

  • To provide a uniform infrastructure for retrieving and sharing the content across the organization.:

  • 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).

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

Oracle WebCenter Content: Records manages all content, regardless of source, in a single, consistent, manageable infrastructure.

2.1.2 Lifecycle for Retained Content

The lifecycle of retained content goes through several stages.

Figure 2-1 Life Cycle of Retained Content

Text describes the life cycle of retained content.
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 checkin date. However, it is possible for an active content item already checked in to be tracked.

The information may need to be 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 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.

Items are disposed of by authorized people according to the requirements of the organization. Disposition actions can include destruction, storage, transfer, or an item can be 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 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 Oracle WebCenter Content and managed by the product.

External content can also be managed. An external retained content item is a source file not stored in Oracle WebCenter Content. It can be in a variety of formats, both physical or electronic. 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 checkin 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 http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/.


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 WebCenter Content: Records 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 that allow users to schedule life cycles 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 life cycles 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:

  • Record administrator: individuals in the organization who are responsible for setting up and maintaining the retention schedule and other aspects of the management system.

  • Record user: individuals who use the software to check content in and out of the system, to search for records, and to perform other non-administrative tasks.

  • Record officer: individuals who have limited administrative responsibility in addition to the responsibilities of a record user.

  • Administrator: individuals who may maintain the computer system, network, or software at the site where the management system is in place.

  • The retention schedule is an organized hierarchy of series, categories, and record folders, which allows users to cluster retained content into similar groups, each with its own retention and disposition characteristics.

  • A series is an organizational construct in the retention schedule that assists in organizing categories into functional groups. Series are normally static and are used at a high level in an organization hierarchy. They can be especially useful if a large amount of categories are used. A series can be nested, which means a series may contain other series.

  • A retention category is a set of security settings and disposition instructions in the retention schedule hierarchy, below a series. It is not an organization construct but rather a way to group items with the same dispositions. A category helps organize record folders and content into groups with the same retention and disposition characteristics. A retention category may contain one or more record folders or content items, which then typically follow the security settings and disposition rules associated with that retention category. Retention categories cannot be nested, which means a retention category cannot contain other retention categories.

  • A record folder is a collection of similar content items in the retention schedule. Folders enable content to be organized into groups. A folder typically follows the security settings and disposition rules associated with its assigned retention category. Folders can be nested, which means a folder may contain other folders.

  • Disposition is the collective set of actions taken on items. Disposition actions include wait times and activities such as transfer to external storage facilities, the destruction of temporary content, deletion of previous revisions, and deletion of all revisions.

  • A disposition instruction is created within a retention category, and typically consists of one or more disposition rules, which define how content is handled and what actions should be taken (for example, when and how content should be disposed of).

  • A period is the segment of time that must pass before a review or disposition action can be performed. Several built-in periods are provided (for example, "one year"), but custom periods can be created to meet unique business needs.

  • A trigger is an event that must occur before a disposition instruction is processed. Triggers are associated with disposition rules for retention categories. Examples of triggering events include changes in status, the completed processing of a preceding disposition action, or a retention period cutoff.

  • A link is a defined relationship between items. This may be useful when items are related and need to be processed together. Links are available for items stored both in and out of the retention schedule.

  • A classification specifies the security level of a classified item. It is used in the process of identifying and safeguarding content containing sensitive information. Typical classification levels are "Top Secret," "Secret," and "Confidential," and "Unclassified."

  • A classification guide is a mechanism used to define default values for several classification-related metadata fields on the content checkin pages for content. A guide enables convenient implementation of multiple classification schemes.

  • Freezing inhibits disposition processing for an item. Frozen content cannot be altered in any way nor can it be deleted or destroyed. This may be necessary to comply with legal or audit requirements (for example, because of litigation). Freezing is available for items stored both in and out of the retention schedule.

  • External items are those that are not searched and processed in the same fashion as retained content. External content usually refers to content managed by Physical Content Management or managed by an adapter (an add-on product).

  • Federation, Federated Search, Federated Freeze are functionality used to manage the process of legal discovery. Using Federated Search or Freeze, a legal officer can search content across all repositories to gather information needed for legal proceedings.

2.3 Physical Content Management

While the Records system enables organizations to manage the retention and disposition of content, PCM 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:

  • Space management, including definition of warehouse layout, searching for empty space, reserving space, and tracking occupied and available space.

  • Circulation services, including handling reservation requests for items, checking out items, and maintaining a due date for checked-out items.

  • Chargeback services, including invoicing, for the use of storage facilities and/or actions performed on physical items.

  • Barcode file processing, including uploading barcode information directly into the system, or processing barcode files manually.

  • Label creation and printing, including labels for users, storage locations, or individual physical items.

  • Retention management, including periodic reviews, freezes and litigation holds, and e-mail notifications for pending events.

2.4 Interaction with Oracle WebCenter Content

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

  • Supported layouts:

    • Trays

    • Top Menus

  • Supported search templates:

    • Headline View

    • Thumbnail View

    • My Headline View

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.

  7. A batch process is run to process an approval.

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. A notification e-mail is sent to reviewers 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.