Glossary

Audit - Examination of a court's records or accounts by the Office of the State Auditor OR the Trial Court Internal Auditors. The audit period stated refers to the time period after the clearance of the audit. An audit is considered "cleared" when questions raised by the audit have been reviewed and resolved.

Extended Record - Narrative history of a case compiled by the Clerk that includes the court name, year and term, the names of justices sitting for the term, names of plaintiffs and defendants, type of action (criminal or civil), damages sought and summaries of the cases.

Judicial Archives - Managed by the Supreme Judicial Court and located at the State Archives in Boston, it preserves court records of historical significance.

Legal Custodian - Person empowered by statute with the care and custody of records, books, papers, filed or deposited in their respective offices: Clerk-Magistrates (G. L. c. 221, s. 2); Registers of Probate (G. L. c. 217, s. 15); Land Court Recorder (G. L. c. 185, s. 7); Probation Officers (G. L. c. 276, s. 85); Jury Commissioner (G. L. c. 234A, s. 72). Only the legal custodian may provide certified copies of original records.

Microforms - Generic term for media containing microimages of information (e.g. roll microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, etc.).

Oversample - Any file over a certain thickness specified in the Schedule which is retained permanently in addition to the designated statistical sample. Such files are presumed important due to their large volume.

Record - Information in any format that documents an action or chronicles official duties or obligations (e.g. forms, papers, books, photographs, index cards, microforms, drawings, audiotapes, videotapes, etc.).

Record Series - Term used interchangeably with Record Type (e.g. civil docket books, criminal docket books, civil file papers, criminal file papers, etc.).

Record Storage Centers - Administrative Office of the Trial Court - operated sites in East Brookfield, Newburyport, and Worcester where non-current records are stored before they are transferred to the Judicial Archives or destroyed. Records may be retrieved by the legal custodian or reviewed on site.

Retention Period - Life span of a record or the minimum time the record must be kept. Clerks and judges are encouraged to retain case papers of local significance, whether or not the papers must be retained under Rule 1:11.

Sample - Portion of a record series that is retained permanently as a representative cross section of that series. Records series that are eligible for sampling and the particular cases that comprise the sample are specified in the Record Retention Schedule.