Public Records in the Digital Age. Salvador Barragan Curator of Government Records Nebraska State Historical Society. A ‘record’ is the complete set of documentation required to provide evidence of a business transaction . What is a record?.
Curator of Government Records
Nebraska State Historical Society
In our current period records of historical permanency were stored on paper and kept in filing cabinets
When the cabinet was full, records were sent to file room.
Now records are stored electronically on computers
When the computer is ‘full’ – add more hard drives or servers.
Basic skills to manage and maintain records has been lost, replaced by infinite storageShifting Media
5.Create electronic records that are accessible and usable over time (non-proprietary formats).
6.Integrate diverse document forms and formats into records.
7.Identify need for internal and external primary and secondary access to records.
1.Records Capture – Records are created or captured and identified to support the business process and meet all records management requirements related to the process.
2.Records Maintenance and Accessibility – Electronic records are maintained so that they are accessible and retain their integrity for as long as they are needed.
3.System Reliability – A system is administrated in accordance with best practices in the information resource management field to ensure the reliability of the records it produces.
Federal and State Mandates
Case LawHigher Standards
002.01 Record. The Records Management Act (Revised Statutes of Nebraska, Chapter
84, Article 12) defines a record as: "any book, document, paper, photograph, microfilm,
sound recording, magnetic storage medium, optical storage medium, or other material
regardless of physical form or characteristics created or received pursuant to law, charter,
or ordinance or in connection with any other activity relating to or having an effect upon
the transaction of public business." A record is information that is inscribed on a tangible
medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in
Now records are managed by users and IT staff, based on capacity and cost.Caretakers of Information
When ever possible follow the prevailing best practices and standards.
PDF/A (Used by the Federal Courts)
XML http://www.thexmltoolkit.org/guides.asp(metadata and interoperability)
DoD 5015.2-STD compliant system
Nebraska State Records Guidelines
Whenever possible seek the
Open, documented solution!
Remember WordStar and DBase II ???Archival Software and File Format Standards
Allows hard coded rules and information exchange
BUT still requires a strong knowledge, understanding and implementation of basic records management
Second Immutable Law of Digital Archiving:
“Data is Data, a Record is a Record, It is the content that drives retention, not the media”Content Management
Wrap original file in native format
Wrap XML copy
Apply metadata & XML for indexing, searching & retrieval
Provide chain of custody & authenticity
Open source, non-proprietary file storage
Applies metadata ‘tags’ to save information about record
creator, date, agency, subject, etc.
Provides chain of custody & authenticity of record
Allow search and retrieval of archival records through a web pageArchive Database
Technology and industry changing at unprecedented rates… But, more records are ‘lost’ every day!
Key is to be flexible and address with systematic forethoughtThird Immutable Law
The Law requires preservation of certain public records – it doesn’t specify whether those records are paper or electronic. All records must be given the same care.
Avoid loss of legal & historical records
As technology changes, the older media (5 ¼” floppy disks, for instance) become harder to read.
Centralization means uniformity in maintenance
‘Trained professionals’ serve as caretakers
Preserve rare and ‘at-risk’ paper records
Improved access for citizens
By centralizing historical electronic records in one location, ‘one-stop shopping’ will provide the information quicker and easierWhy a Digital Archives?
Dr. Ed Papenfuse, State Archivist for the Maryland State Archives.
Andrea Falling, State Archivist for the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Cathy Danahy, Assistant Director of the Nebraska Records Management Division.Acknowledgements