Guidelines for Data Retention of ACM Institutional Records
Approved December 17, 2007
Retaining good records of committees and boards is important for several reasons. First, such records allow new members and chairs to come up to speed quickly on the past actions and discussion of the unit. Second, these records allow policies and actions to be documented, so that they can be carried out properly. Third, the records make the unit more efficient, as the past actions can be quickly consulted when questioned.
Fourth, these records will form useful source material for later analysis by historians of science and of organizations, to better understand ACM's history and the role that ACM played in the advancement of computing. And finally, such records help achieve transparency, so that ACM members can properly know what their association is doing.
Given these advantages, it is an important responsibility of units to maintain this information as it becomes available. Later retrospective collection is error prone and generally incomplete. If a consistent structure is initially set up, maintenance becomes much easier.
These guidelines are relevant to ACM Committees and Boards, ACM publications (via the ACM Publications Board), and ACM SIGs (via the ACM SIG Governing Board). These guidelines attempt to specify the minimum set of information to be kept by those units.
These guidelines should be made consistent with a broader paper and data retention policy, to be developed in conjunction with the ACM Archive.
It is useful for such records to be stored on the web, as a unit intra-net. The records should be stored on acm.org, to make them easily available to interested parties. Periodic scraping into an archive directory will help ensure that information within web-accessible databases is retained. It is also useful for each unit to designate an individual as unit webmaster. Some components might be maintained automatically from information available at ACM HQ (e.g., unit composition, unit charter).
The unit web site should store the following information, in an appropriate structure. The goal is to first capture this information going forward, and ultimately to backfill it to the unit's creation, at a similar level of detail.
There are two distinct web sites. The first, the "Unit Web Site," is accessible to everyone. The second, the "Unit-Only Web Site," is password-protected, and accessible to only the current members of the unit and to current members of the ACM Council and thus of the ACM EC.
All public information (on the Unit Web Site) must be written with the audience in mind.
For material beyond what is listed above, the unit should make an explicit decision when relevant as to whether that material should be public or unit-only.
Material on the Unit-Only Web Site will be made available to historians on a as-needed basis and only after approval by Council, on recommendation by the current unit. (The visibility of each web page should be clear, either by explicit statement or via the structure.) It is expected that unit-only material will be made publicly available starting 25 years after the creation of the material, but then again only after approval by Council, on recommendation by the current unit.
It is useful to record deliberations by the members of the unit. For this reason, it is suggested that the unit use an ACM listserv, with archiving enabled, for all email discussions. Access to the listserv archive falls under the same rules as any material on the Unit-Only Web Site.
Unit web site (accessible to everyone)
+--- unit charter, description, goals
+--- composition (all past and present members, with terms and positions
| (e.g., chair, liaison) indicated)
+--- meetings (when and where, possibly with terse public minutes)
+--- public documents (annual reports, strategic plans, other public
| documents), with date, authorship (if appropriate), and
+--- policies, each including adoption date and pointer(s) to
| related policies
+--- useful links to other web pages, both within the acm.org domain
and outside of that domain
Unit-only (accessible only to current committee, ACM Council, EC)
+--- annual reports
| +--- approved budgets, with dates
| +--- internal appendices for annual reports
+--- Listserv archive
+--- Conference calls
| +--- agenda
| +--- backup (if relevant)
| +--- full minutes, including times, where, who
| +--- assigned action items (if relevant)
+--- face to face meetings
+--- everything as with conference calls
+--- digital picture of participants, with names
associated with faces