When restructuring the shared drive network, it is likely that there will be a considerable number of historical documents that need to be kept and archived. Often, records that are considered permanent, such as financial and personnel records, must be retained by the organization. Other records, such as strategy and business plans, provide history and background to an organization.
Historical data can be identified with the following criteria:
- The data does not need to be accessed again and are solely being retained for historical and archival purposes;
- The data are closed, completed, and finished, such as with projects and initiatives that do not have to be accessible;
- The data relates to old businesses, sold assets, and dissolved entities or departments that do not need to be accessible but may be required for historical purposes; and/ or
- Former employee work files (not their personnel file) that have been reviewed do not have to be accessible any longer but are still important to keep if future access is needed.
Be cautious moving historical data onto external hard drives. Although external hard drives are plug and play devices, once data is moved to an external hard drive it becomes forgotten and less accessible to staff. The following are ways to manage historical files on a Shared Drive network. These options should be discussed with IT and management before implementing an option.
- Integrate into the file structure: Within the file structure, data can be organized chronologically to archive historical data, as shown in the screenshot below.
- Create a “historical” file folder: A folder labeled Historical or Archive can be created in the first line of file folders. Within this folder a mirror image of the first line of folders (i.e., divisions of an organization) can be made. When documents become outdated for each division, they can be moved into the same topical folder in the historical folder. Or sub-files can be designed by year. As files and documents become outdated they can be moved into the appropriate historical year folder.
- Archive them on a separate drive: Another option to manage historical data is to create a separate drive allocated on the server solely for archived and historical information. The structure can be designed in one of the options recommended above. Keeping the archived data on the server enables the data to be accessible quickly. It also will update files and documents automatically as software and operating systems are upgraded. Another option is to store historical and archive data on an external hard drive.
To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.