Records Management Experience With Big Bucket Retention: A Status Report (2018)

A study by William Saffady


This report examines the current status of big bucket retention, a widely discussed approach to lifecycle management of recorded information that groups related records in broad categories with uniform retention guidance. The report begins with an explanation of big bucket retention concepts followed by a survey of records management publications, web sites, and other sources that document the historical development of big bucket retention schedules and discuss their advantages and limitations. The most important sections of the report present findings from interviews with experienced records management professionals who have developed big bucket schedules in government agencies, companies, and not-for-profit organizations. The interviewees discussed the circumstances in which their big bucket schedules were developed, the characteristics of retention schedules they replaced, the size and scope of their big bucket schedules, the benefits obtained, issues and problems encountered during schedule development and implementation, and acceptance or resistance by user departments.