How Long to Keep Files of Completed Projects

Subject: How Long to Keep Files of Completed Projects
From: "LTC Writer" <Ltc -dot- writer -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 09:02:02 -0500


How long do you keep files of completed projects? Is there a legal
requirement to keep them?

The company that I left, kept copies of major revision drafts and the final
draft. The final publication was kept in another location. I think that when
that document came up for revision, the old drafts were thrown out. Of
course, the electronic master files are on a server. I remember a couple of
times when the corporate lawyer wanted all the files related to a document
when someone sued the company related to the product.

I am in my 12th year of independent tech writing and in the earlier years,
reviews were done on hard copies. I have continued the same practice except
that I generally do not update those documents. One reason I kept the
revisions, research information, and meeting notes is because if I or the
client was sued for errors and omissions, I would have some documentation
that might be useful as a defense. Now I am running out of space to store
file boxes. I am thinking of recycling about six years' of files. I still
have electronic files on CDs and a hard drive but these files do not contain
hard copy review notes. I have not had to go back to any of my paper files.
Should I just clean house and get rid of the paper files? Do I keep any of

Tim Lewis

Lewis Technical Communications, Inc.

3218 Redhawk Trail

Rockford, IL 61109-6116


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