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Managing Electronic Public Records

Managing Electronic Public Records

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Managing Electronic Public Records

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  1. Managing Electronic Public Records Law and Practice in North Carolina Government Records Branch Division of Historical Resources Department of Cultural Resources

  2. NC Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) – Government Records Branch The primary mission of the Government Records Branch is to provide and administer records management services to state and local government agencies and state supported institutions of higher education in accordance with the North Carolina General Statutes.

  3. NC Public Records Law N.C.G.S. 121 Archives and History Act N.C.G.S. 132 Public Records Act

  4. G.S. 121 Archives and History Act • 121-4(2) • Assigns records management responsibility to DCR • 121-5(b) • Regulates the destruction of public records • 121-5(c) • Directs DCR to assist local governments and state agencies • 121-5(d) • Preservation of Permanently Valuable Records

  5. G.S. 132-1Public Records Act (a) “Public record” or “public records” shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. (b) The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government or its subdivisions are the property of the people.

  6. G.S. 132-6.1Public Records Act Electronic data – processing records. (June 30, 1996) (a) No public agency shall purchase, lease, create, or otherwise acquire any electronic data‑processing system for the storage, manipulation, or retrieval of public records unless it first determines that the system will not impair or impede the agency's ability to permit the public inspection and examination, and to provide electronic copies of such records. (b) Every public agency shall create an index of computer databases compiled or created by a public agency.

  7. G.S. 132Public Records Act Identifies various confidential records such as…. communications by legal council, public enterprise billing information, records of criminal investigations, 911 databases, emergency response plans, trial preparation materials, and social security numbers and other personal identifying information. Outlines the duties of public record custodians such as…. permitting inspection, examination and copying of records; keeping records in safe places and repairing and copying them when damaged; maintaining custody over records; regulating destruction; and directs DCR to provide records management assistance to public agencies.

  8. Electronic Records Management Challenges Anyone who thinks that the management of documents (records), electronic or otherwise, is a new challenge need only read these words: Let your Eminence give orders throughout each and every province that a building be erected in which to store the records … so that they may remain uncorrupted and may be found quickly by those requiring them… This from Justianian, emperor of the Roman Empire during the sixth century A.D., reminds us that the recordkeeping challenges facing agencies today is nothing new. The management issues mentioned in his degree (storage, accessibility, and security) are just as real today as they were 1,500 year ago.

  9. Electronic Records Management Challenges Throughout the millennia, government and business have created and maintained documents. And for as long as they have been keeping them, such documents have been created and stored in physical format. They could be seen and touched, their content could be read and comprehended by sight, and until the introduction of microforms, this could be done without the aid of machines. All this changed with the advent of computers. Government and business documents began to be created, for the first time ever, in non-visible formats. The challenges and opportunities presented by this change is one of the most significant developments to have happened during the 20th century.

  10. Electronic Records Management Challenges • High strategic importance. • Much faster rates of growth. • Greater technical expertise required. • Greater risks and consequences of loss. • Greater accessibility challenges. • Much shorter life expectancy and greater preservation challenges. • Challenges posed by the rise of e-mail as a predominant communications medium.

  11. Trustworthy Electronic Records N.C.G.S. Chapter 8C Article 10 – Rules of Evidence N.C.G.S. 8-45.1 – Uniform Photographic Copies of Business and Public Records as Evidence Act N.C.G.S. 153A-436 – Photographic Reproductions of County Records N.C.G.S. 160A-490 – Photographic Reproductions of Municipal Records N.C.G.S. 66-58.1 – NC Uniform Electronic Commerice Act (1998) N.C.G.S. 66-311 – NC Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) (2000) N.C.G.S. 47-16.1 – Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA) (2005)

  12. Documenting Authenticity Be prepared to produce documentation of hardware and software specifications, and that documents: • recordkeeping practices and procedures used to create, modify, duplicate, destroy or otherwise manage your e-records • staff training • audits North Carolina Guidelines for Managing Public Records Produced by Information Technology Systems

  13. Back-ups • Have a back-up schedule and follow procedures. • Check back-up to ensure it is correct data. • Redundant copies in multiple locations. • Examine annually. • Label back-ups. Security Backup Files as Public Records in North Carolina

  14. Electronic File-Naming Standardize terminology and develop a uniform file plan that specifies the order and arrangement of the files. • Access files easily. • Reduce file redundancy. • Avoid misplacing files. • Use standardized abbreviations. Best Practices for File-Naming Public Database Indexing Guidelines

  15. Preserving Electronic Records • Anticipate changes to the underlying hardware and software. • Migrate to new platforms. • Save files in standard formats. • Plan for sustainability. • Avoid single points of failure. Best Practices for Digital Preservation Recommended Digital File Formats Protecting Digital Recording Media Maintaining and Preserving Records of Web-Based Activities

  16. E-mail Management • Is a public record if “transaction of public business”. • Must be retained in accordance with the records schedule. • May be subject to inspection. • E-mail requires daily management. • Secure confidential content and overall security. • Follow records retention schedules. • Purge electronic and paper records at the same time. • Avoid using: • Public accounts for personal business. • Personal accounts for public business. E-mail as a Public Record in North Carolina E-mail User Guidelines Checklist Managing Your In-Box (on-line tutorial)

  17. E-mail Management – IT’s Role • IT is responsible for system maintenance, including: • Software • Storage • Backups • You are responsible for management, including: • Assessing • Filing • Deleting

  18. Document Scanning • Agencies may scan any record. • Scanning is not required. • Balance cost and benefit: • Document preparation • Scanning (quality controls) • Maintenance (storage, conversion) Digital Imaging System Guidelines

  19. Records scheduled as non-permanent may be destroyed after scanning. Submit the following prior to destroying: Electronic Records Policy “Request for Destruction of Records Duplicated by Electronic Means” form The Conversion of Electronic Records to Microfilm Destroying Scanned Paper Records

  20. Questions Western Office Jeff Futch - Telephone: (828) 274-6789Fax: (828) 274-6995Email:jeff.futch@ncmail.net Mailing Address:Western Office1 Village Lane, Suite 3 Biltmore VillageAsheville, NC 28803-2677