In this month’s edition of NewsBytes we speak to Janet Brennen and get to know the team at Records and Archives Services.
1. Who are the people in the team at Records and Archives Services? Have you always been part of the old ITS, and where are you located?
Records and Archives Services consists of three areas: the Records Management Office which generally focuses more on current records, the University Archives which manages valuable, older records and Student Records which manages various student records activities.
Staff of the unit are:
Janet Brennen – Manager, Records and Archives and University Archivist
Records Management Office staff: Angela Cauchi, Catherine Nicholls, Karen Rogers, Michelle Downing, Sandra Ennor, Sandra Gillam and Sue Burton,
University Archives staff: Jan Getson, Janine Patience and Lyn Maloney,
Student Records staff: Anna Velardo and Andrea Meyer.
Records and Archives Services joined eSolutions at the start of 2011. Previously we were in Student and Community Services Division. All of our offices are located at the Clayton campus with the Records Management Office, on the ground floor of Building 3A, the University Archives in the basement of 3D, and Student Records currently in the basement of 3C.
2. What are the responsibilities of Records and Archives here at Monash?
Records and Archives Services attempts to ensure the University complies with records and archives legislation, by providing records management advice across the whole University. This can include information about what records to keep, how to keep them, how to store them and who should access them. We also do consultancy work with areas about their records management needs and participate on committees and projects where specialist records management advice is required. We are also responsible for ensuring that the University is able to meet the requirements set out by the recently released Public Records Office Victoria – Records Management Standards.
With help from the Servers and Storage team, we manage the University’s records management system (TRIM), including provision of training and help desk support for TRIM. The Archives also provides specific advice around what records we need to keep, how long we need to keep them and what records can be destroyed. Records that are identified as being required permanently are transferred to the Archives who then provide reference services to the University and the general public. The Student Records area provides QA and support for the management of student files across the University.
3. What are some of the most interesting or quirky things about your job?
Most staff don’t realise that their central staff file is required to be kept for fifty years after they leave the university.
The University Archives has an interesting collection of photographs featuring people, places and events from the University’s past – and can be viewed here:
We also have some of the photos available through Historypin http://www.historypin.com/channels/view/id/8650016/, if you click on some of the images, then on street view you can see the image superimposed on a current street view.
4. Why is it important to maintain adequate record keeping? Are there any instances where you have had to provide records for an interesting request?
There are a few reasons to keep good records. Firstly, it’s the law. The Public Records Act 1973 requires compliance from the University, as a body created by legislation in Victoria. So it is important to be familiar with the University’s Retention and Disposal Authority (see http://adm.monash.edu/records-archives/archives/disposal/index.html) and to check with RAS if you are unsure.
Secondly, it just makes good business sense to be able to find records when you need them. One important thing to note is that this is about more than just searching for records, it’s about being able to identify the records that we are required to keep and how we have to keep them. If the University is involved in litigation, the records are normally used as evidence, but no outstanding cases come to mind.
The recently published Monash University history – “University Unlimited” (http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/monash-the-biography-of-a-university Allen and Unwin, April 2012) by Graeme Davidson and Kate Murphy relied heavily on the University Archives for primary source information. There was also a 50 year history written for Engineering last year http://50years.eng.monash.edu.au/ and histories are currently being written for the Faculties of Law and Education.
5. What do the R&S team do for fun around the office and how do you let off steam?
We all probably let off steam in different ways. We have quite a few expert bakers on the team, so we often get together over fantastic cakes and cookies when we celebrate people’s birthdays or other special occasions. A group of us participated in the 10,000 steps challenge last year as we have quite a few fitness enthusiasts on board as well. We also have some AFL fans, who go to the footy regularly and others who enjoy quieter pursuits like walking their dogs or gardening.