Records have a life-cycle: they are created, they are used, and then they are either saved permanently or they are destroyed. Most companies and governmental organizations forget the last part, allowing records that should be destroyed languish in folders or allowing records that need to be actively preserved to rot away.
While at the Library of Virginia, I served on the Records Oversight Committee, which was the body tasked with creating, updating, and changing the records retention schedules used by every governmental body throughout our state. They can be guides to what records are available to request through the Freedom of Information Act for the public, and when followed can limit unnecessary liability for governments and organizations.
Whether an interested citizen, a governmental organization, or a business that is looking to implement their own records retention policies, I have the experience to help you through this process.