This guidance is intended for University web publishers and gives advice on how long to retain 'non-live' web content and what to do with it.
Audience and purpose
The website is very important to the University and the way it operates. A lot of University business is now carried out online and in an increasing number of cases the website contains the golden copy of core University information. Retaining this information in an accessible format helps to prevent us from having to 're-invent the wheel', improves University decision making, protects you and the University from malicious litigation, and when it is transferred to the University Archive it documents the history of the University and is used by researchers.
You only need to use this guidance if you are responsible for publishing golden copy information on the University's websites.
Why should I do this?
So that the University can demonstrate what the website said at a particular time, all information published on the website must be retained for 7 years after it is no longer 'live'. This is important because the University does an increasing amount of business through the website and uses it to communicate important information. If the University does not retain this information and is later challenged on what it said or did at a particular point in time the University cannot defend itself and is open to malicious litigation.
In addition, some information needs to be retained permanently by the University Archive. The Archive holds records which provide evidence of the University's function and activities, and show what the University has done and why, how it is organised and operates, and its effect on the wider community. Website content increasingly provides these records and demonstrates how the University does its business.
What should I do?
All web publishers
Use the list of retention criteria to identify if your content needs to be retained permanently by the University Archive.
Editors using the University's content management system, EdWeb, do not need to do anything to keep non-live web content for seven years. The content management system arranges this for you. To preserve non-live web content permanently contact the University Archive.
If you do not use the supported EdWeb CMS, use the procedures below.
- To keep non-live web content for 7 years transfer the html files to a folder on a shared drive and retention schedule the folder so that it is deleted 7 years after the last pages are transferred to it. Ensure that the folder is not deleted before the end of the retention period and that it is known about by colleagues and accessible to them. The easiest way to do this is to include the folder in your unit's records management system.
- To preserve non-live web content permanently contact the University Archive.
Edinburgh University Archives maintain the historical records of the University of Edinburgh and can provide further guidance on the types of information that should be retained permanently and how to transfer that information to the Archives.
The University Website Programme can provide advice on writing appropriate content for the web and the University's website policies and procedures.
University Website Programme