Discipline ¶1711

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  ¶ 1711. 1. Archival Definitions-a) Archives, as distinguished from libraries, house not primarily books, but documentary record material.
    b) Documentary record material shall mean all documents, minutes, journals, diaries, reports, pamphlets, letters, papers, manuscripts, maps, photographs, books, audiovisuals, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, artifacts, or any other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to any provisions of The Discipline in connection with the transaction of Church business by any general agency of The United Methodist Church or of any of its constituent predecessors.
c) General agency of The United Methodist Church or of its constituent predecessors shall, in turn, mean and include every Church office, Church officer, or official (elected or appointed)-including bishop, institution, board, commission, bureau, council, or confer-ence-at the national level.
  2. Custodianship of Records-The church official in charge of an office having documentary record material shall be the custodian thereof, unless otherwise provided.
  3. Procedures-a) The general commission shall establish a central archives of The United Methodist Church and such regional archives and record centers as in its judgment may be needed.
    b) The bishops, General Conference officers, general boards, commissions, committees, and agencies of The United Methodist Church shall deposit official minutes or journals, or copies of the same, in the archives quadrennially and shall transfer correspondence, records, papers, and other archival materials described above from their offices when they no longer have operational usefulness. No records shall be destroyed until a disposal schedule has been agreed upon by the General Commission on Archives and History and the agency. When the custodian of any official documentary record material of a general agency certifies to the General Commission on Archives and History that such records have no further use or value for official and administrative purposes and when the commission certifies that such records appear to have no further use or value for research or reference, then such records may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the agency or official having custody of them. A record of such certification and authorization shall be entered in the minutes or records of both the commission and the agency. The General Commission on Archives and History is hereby authorized and empowered to make such provisions as may be necessary and proper to carry this paragraph into effect.
c) The commission shall have the right to examine the condition of documentary record material and shall, subject to the availability of staff and funds, give advice and assistance to Church officials and agencies in regard to preserving and disposing of documentary record material in their custody. Officials of general agencies shall assist the commission in the preparation of an inventory of records in their custody. To this inventory shall be attached a schedule, approved by the head of the agency having custody of the records and the commission, establishing a time period for the retention and disposal of each series of records. So long as such approved schedule remains in effect, destruction or disposal of documentary record material in accordance with its provisions shall be deemed to have met the requirements of ¶ 1711.3b.
    d) The commission is authorized and directed to conduct a program of inventorying, repairing, and microfilming among all general agencies of The United Methodist Church for security purposes that documentary record material which the commission determines has permanent value and to provide safe storage for microfilm copies of such material. Subject to the availability of funds, such program may be extended to material of permanent value of all agencies of The United Methodist Church.
    e) The general boards, commissions, committees, and agencies of The United Methodist Church shall place two copies, as they are issued, of all their publications, of whatever kind, in the archives or in lieu thereof shall file a statement with the archivist affirming that they are preserving copies of all such items in their own libraries or depositories.
f) Official documents, or copies thereof, such as articles of incorporation, constitutions, bylaws, and other official papers of the boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church shall be deposited in the archives.
g) Whoever has the custody of any general agency records shall, at the expiration of the term of office, deliver to the successor, custodian, or, if there be none, to the commission all records, books, writings, letters, and documents kept or received in the transaction of official general agency business. This will also apply to the papers of temporary and special general Church committees.
h) The bishops, General Conference officers, and the general boards, commissions, committees, and agencies of The United Methodist Church are urged to counsel with the central archivist concerning the preservation of all materials.
i) Jurisdictional and annual conference secretaries shall deposit two paper copies of their respective conference journals quadrennially or annually, as the case may be, in the central archives and in the appropriate regional archives.
j) Secretaries of jurisdictional and annual conference boards, commissions, committees, and agencies shall deposit annually, or as often as they meet, copies of their minutes (as distinguished from reports that are printed separately or in the jurisdictional and annual conference journals) in the central archives or in the appropriate regional archives.
    k) Bishops, General Conference officers, general agency staff personnel, missionaries, and those ordained ministers and laypersons in positions of leadership and influence at any level of the Church are urged to deposit or bequeath their personal papers to the archives of the general commission.
    l) Organizations and individuals may negotiate appropriate restrictions on the use of materials that they deposit in the archives.
m) Upon recommendation of its executive committee, the commission may authorize the transfer of materials to an organization, agency, or family.
n) All materials in the archives shall be available for research and exhibition, subject to such restrictions as may be placed on them.