What’s in a name?

Digital image 13907

ANZAC Square, Titles Office August 1959, Digital ID 13907

Like, OMG, how long is this title – General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records?

As part of the review of the General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records (otherwise known as the GRDS for short – like that’s clear!), we thought we would also throw the title into the mix. We would love to change the name of the schedule to reflect the fact that it now covers not just administrative records  but also records which are commonly created across multiple agencies.

This is where we need your help.

When you mention the GRDS to a non-records person, do you see their eyes glaze over? Do they even know what you are talking about? We are looking for a title that reflects what the schedule is and which is also clear to a non-records person. We would love to hear your ideas!

Some of the ideas we have so far are:

  • General Retention and Disposal Schedule
  • General Schedule.

Unfortunately, Boaty McBoatface has been taken and Schedule McScheduleface will not be considered.

Tell us what your title suggestions are in the comments box below, or, you can email us at rkqueries@archives.qld.gov.au.

Please provide any suggestions by COB Friday 20th May 2016. NOW CLOSED. Thanks for all your suggestions.

P.S. – We are still working on addressing the GRDS consultation feedback and we are looking to release the GRDS & GRDS Lite later this year.

Keep calm its coming GRDS

Remember, you can contact us at any time via email, telephone, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Flickr.

Elizabeth Harvey

Appraisal Archivist

37 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. “THE RULES FOR WHAT STUFF TO KEEP AND HOW LONG OT KEEP IT” 😀
    “RECORD KEEPING – RETENTION & DISPOSAL TIMEFRAMES”
    “RECORD KEEPING – RETENTION & DISPOSAL TIMEFRAMES (GENERAL & COMMON CATEGORIES)”

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  2. I think the problem is that “schedule” is industry terminology which is why we get blank stares. I would agree that a word such as “guideline” would be more end-user friendly. The issue is that “schedule” is what we use, and “schedule” is what is used across all the other industry specific schedules. Having said that, people could still use the terminology of “guideline”, or similar, when speaking to end-users in their organisation.

    My suggestions:
    – General Disposal Guidelines
    – Common Schedule

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  3. How about ‘Queensland Records Disposal Schedule’. Most people I know simply ask ‘ when can we get rid of them’, not ‘how long do we have to keep them for’. Obviously the disposal sentence for permanent records would be ‘never ever’.

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  4. Queensland Record Disposal Guideline. Nobody wants to know how long we should keep them for unless they are an archivist or lawyer so lets just tell them when we can get rid of them. Obviously a permanent record’s sentence would be ‘never ever’

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  5. I don’t think that a change of name is necessary, or even desirable. We have enough changes to deal with without something else which is merely cosmetic causing grief.

    You will always get blank stares when you start talking records to a lot of people anyway, it doesn’t matter what you call a schedule. A change of name isn’t going to miraculously enthuse everyone and rally them to the cause. It will only make those who have already seen the light wonder what you are doing to them.

    Ok, so General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records is a mouthful, but GRDS isn’t. It has taken a long time to get “GRDS” across to many people so changing the name would only add to the confusion. It would confuse me, let alone the poor less-than-recordkeeping-literate staff members we are trying to bring over from the dark side.

    If anything needs to be renamed it’s the Transitory Records and Short Term Retention and Disposal Schedule; talk about eyes glazing over, it makes glasses opaque! Better still, it should be eliminated (stake through the heart perhaps?).

    For the GRDS, the most that is required is to drop the “for Administrative Records” because most people don’t even bother with that part: when you say GRDS the default train of thought is QDAN 249 (currently v7). Yes there are a few other (sometimes superfluous) GRDS’s, but nobody thinks of them when you say GRDS. If these other GRDS’s retain their extended names then they are unlikely to be mixed up (not any more than they are already).

    *soapbox mode off*

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    • Hi Perry, thanks for your feedback. We are throwing all ideas into the hat and keeping GRDS will be considered. Just to let you know, the transitory schedule (QDAN720) is coming back into the GRDS so it won’t be a separate document.

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      • Hooray! I feel vindicated for being the only one at PAPG who wanted it as part of the GRDS in the first place 🙂

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  6. Whilst I agree “guideline” is readily understood terminology, it infers that it is not mandatory, that it is a guide only, and therefore does not need to be strictly followed.
    So saying, I don’t have any super suggestions.
    What about a “system”? Such as “Queensland Record Classification System”?
    Or a “code”? Such as “Queensland Record Retention and Disposal Code”?
    (Prefer ‘system’ now that I look at it. It’s not the imitation game after all).

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  7. I always think it’s funny that I educate staff not to use the term general in folder/file titles yet here we are using it. I think that schedule is the right term to use as it gives intended actions and times for events. I agree with Cheryl that guideline is only a guide. Whilst the GRDS is a minimum guide the term guideline doesn’t reflect this.

    My suggestions are Records Appraisal Schedule or Universal Records Schedule.

    Whatever we come up with let’s shorten it. And GRDS is often describe as the GDRS

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  8. I agree that ‘Guideline’ doesn’t sound mandatory enough.
    Why not use the word ‘Authority’ in the title as it implies an authorisation to destroy or retain and it is already mentioned in Queensland Disposal Authority Number. Why have two titles anyway – GRDS and QDAN? Why not just have one name?
    Queensland Records Disposal Authority? Instead of the QDAN number having that name ‘QDAN’, what about just allocating a number and version to each document?

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  9. My suggestion is : Records Disposal Schedule

    Most staff want to know how long we have to keep the record but the end result is when can we dispose of the record so maybe the word ‘retention’ does not need to be mentioned – just a thought!

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  10. I tend to agree with Perry that a name change probably isn’t all that necessary at the current time. The terminology in the name is aligned with what is used more or less across the world for this kind of thing, thus we’re not really out of step with anything. While a name can be symbolic I’d agree with Perry further in that I am not convinced that a name change is going to deliver an actual benefit in terms of engagement.

    I’d also concur with the comments that guidelines do suggest optional. This needn’t be such a bad thing, however. I’m still of the belief that unless there is a clearly articulated requirement from an authoritative source for a specific retention period, the schedule should indeed be a ‘guideline’ anyway. Thus I’d indeed welcome it if that particular term found its way into the documentation in the long run. Although it should only be used if (and hopefully when) the schedules do become far more flexible and less rigid than they currently are.

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      • I agree with Nick regarding flexibility. Sure the idea is that the disposal actions are a minimum retention time which gives flexibility for keeping them longer, but there is not a great deal of flexibility for shortening the time-frame, save for the (now former) TRAST which allows agencies to determine for themselves that a record has no ongoing value at all.

        I think in the context of the large volume of electronic records being generated and received, and the general apathy of people who don’t consider records as their ‘core business’ and hence don’t know how, or couldn’t be bothered, to classify and / or sentence records, it would be good to allow some form of self-assessment by the owner of records for how long they think they should be kept regardless of business classification. Yes, that could lead to issues of people wanting to keep everything forever or not keep anything at all, but at least the onus would clearly and squarely on them. Standard pre-disposal checks would help minimise premature destruction and reviews / auditing could help with hoarding. (Yup, would have been great feedback for the GRDS review).

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  11. Dear Posters

    I agree with you Perry. 🙂 I believe there is no need to change the name, it is well known and it says what it is. It also lines up with a FRDS – Functional Retention and Disposal Schedule.

    Guideline – Does not imply mandatory

    QDAN – This also refers to a Functional schedule

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      • The peasants will be at your door with flaming torches any minute!

        On the serious side, there may well be lots of valid reasons to change the name but the first reaction from most people when I mention that there is a discussion about changing the name of the GRDS is either oh ‘here we go’ or ‘why?’.

        Some people have commented that they were just getting their bosses used to the concept of “the GRDS” but if it changed they would have to start using some new, foreign terminology which might confuse them (management tends to confuse easily, but I didn’t say that).

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  12. Good morning everyone

    I am hoping that the name can stay General Retention and Disposal Schedule as I have included GRDS in my coding eg GRDS 4.1.2 and it could become confusing to have to change it. I have spent a great deal of my time educating anyone who listens to recognise the meaning of GRDS.

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  13. Hi everyone

    I don’t really have anything original to add but just wanted to chip in with my two cents worth.

    I agree with comments that including the word ‘guideline’ could lead to assumptions that the schedule is optional.

    I also agree with comments not to change the name of the schedule without good reason. Realistically the only people who actively use this document are record-keepers who already know what the GRDS is. When talking to other staff we wouldn’t usually use the name of the schedule but say something like:

    “The schedules, approved by Queensland State Archives, that set out the minimum period we must retain our records”….which is usually met with a puzzled expression “But what’s a record?”.

    Also, some of our internal documents refer to the GRDS (I imagine this would be the same for quite a few organisations) and I would rather not spend valuable time updating them.

    I guess my point is – I’m not sure what benefit there is in changing the name of this schedule. A simple name change will not encourage other staff to suddenly take an interest in compliant record-keeping.

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