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Document Retention in the digital age

Document Retention in the digital age

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Document Retention in the digital age

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  1. Document Retention in the digital age Brandy tunmire | Electronic records Archivist Missouri office of the Secretary of State

  2. SOS records Management division • “The mission of Records Management Division is to promote the efficiency and continuity of government, document the rights of Missouri citizens, hold state officials accountable for their actions and preserve our state’s heritage by providing state agencies with the necessary instruments to develop effective and efficient information control.” • Providing the right information at the right time, to the right people, effectively and efficiently at the lowest possible cost.

  3. SOS Records management division • We work with State agencies specifically (not the public). • SMART System • Consultation • Records storage • Records retrieval and delivery for those agencies in the Jefferson City area • Agencies outside of Jefferson City are responsible for own drop-off/pick-up via: • Parcel delivery service (UPS, FedEx) • Truck/ automobile • http://www.sos.mo.gov/records/recmgmt

  4. Local Records • Missouri State Archives • Preservation of permanent records with enduring value • Public outreach • Research • Conservation Lab • Repair of fragile or deteriorating historically valuable documents • Imaging Services • Microfilming • Digitization • Grants Program • Consultation • Free services for State agencies • http://www.sos.mo.gov/records

  5. Managing Electronic Records Why bother?

  6. What is an official Record? Do electronic records count?

  7. Official record: Definitions • “A record created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.”– ISO15489(1) • A “document, book, paper, photograph, map, sound recording or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official business.” • Content is what makes an official record, not format.

  8. Official Record: Regulations • Federal: • Rule 34, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure“…any designated documents or electronically stored information—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form…” • Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Protocol = comprehensive, national procedures for cases involving ESI. • State: • Section 610 (Sunshine Law)“All meetings, records, and votes of public governmental bodies are open unless otherwise allowed by law.” 610.010-610.028 RSMo.

  9. Bottom line: • Electronic records are records according to international, federal, and statutory definitions. • They are subject to the same rules and regulations as analog records. • They are “Sunshine-able” and can be subpoenaed for litigation cases. • Includes email, which is considered correspondence and must be retained for varying lengths of time depending on the content of the email and who sent/received them. • We have legal, ethical, and professional obligations to maintain them according to normal records management practices.

  10. Official Records: Expectations Official records (analog or electronic) must: • Be retrievable/ accessible - must be able to be located, retrieved, presented , and interpreted • Be authentic - is what it purports to be • Have integrity – is complete and unaltered • Be secure and private (if applicable) • Be maintained for the duration of their lifecycle (creation/reception, active, inactive, disposition) • Differences lie in how we go about achieving these expectations, especially in the case of long-term preservation. • Most financial records not kept long-term • A major difference between analog and digital: • Need IT assistance and input to effectively manage electronic records

  11. Managing Electronic Records The records retention schedule

  12. Records Retention Schedule • A records retention schedule is a policy document listing all record categories (series) produced, received, or maintained by an organization. It defines how long records must be kept and provides guidelines for how records should be dispositioned. • Documentation of the functions of the office, why records are created or received, what they are used for, and may even include how they are filed; • Provides institutional memory of the what, who, how, when, where, and why something was done in an agency; • Helps staff determine how long records need to be kept instead of throwing documents out prematurely or hoarding; • Shows that an agency is complying with its legal duties. • All records must be on a Records Retention and Disposition Schedule to be legally destroyed in Missouri. • It is the cornerstone of an effective records management program.

  13. Missouri General Retention Schedule (Fiscal portion), page 1

  14. Record series • “A series is the basic unit for organizing and controlling files. It is a group of files or documents kept together (either physically or intellectually) because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific type of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, maintenance, or use.” – National Archives

  15. Pro tips: • Retention time is based on business use and state, federal, or professional regulations –whichever is the longest—to ensure that records are kept long enough to satisfy all requirements, but not so long as to waste resources or to pose a legal risk. • Record series should be format neutral to cover all types of records (analog and digital) including future formats.

  16. Records Retention Schedule • Retention schedules should be periodically reviewed and updated (just like other policy and procedure documents). • Recommend: annually • If your agency has a proper retention schedule with current, format-neutral series, and is using it accordingly, then you are well on your way to managing your electronic (and analog) records.

  17. Records Retention Schedule Other benefits: • Ensuring that your agency is complying with state and federal regulations; • Reducing your agency’s liability in litigation matters; • Keeping staff informed about when and how to properly dispose of records; • Increasing office productivity through more efficient management of records; • Freeing up space and resources by allowing you to send inactive records to the State Records Center or Archives.

  18. Records retention schedule • The Records Management Division can help you create or update a records schedule. • An Agency Retention Schedule probably already exists for your particular agency. • http://www.sos.mo.gov/records/recmgmt/retention/agency • Any state agency can use the General Retention Schedule. • http://www.sos.mo.gov/records/recmgmt/retention/general

  19. Managing electronic records Management tips and considerations

  20. Management tips and considerations • Electronic files are easily duplicated, which can complicate retrieval and dispositioning of records. • Mitigate this problem by creating policies that mandate how and where records are stored. • Communication with your IT department is VITAL for developing these policies. • They have the technical knowledge; you just need to be able to communicate your needs and expectations for your records to them. • They will be the ones implementing and overseeing these processes.

  21. Management tips and considerations • A central file repository for official records simplifies retrieval and dispositioning of records. • A shared network drive is recommended for storage. • Maintained centrally by your agency • Single copy of records that is easily accessible • Backed up regularly and held securely • Optical, flash, or external hard drives are options • More easily lost or stolen. • Quantity and size of files, frequency of access, and resources available are factors that help determine the best option for your agency. • Consult with IT.

  22. Management tips and considerations • Use an organized file structure that parallels your analog filing structure • Poor file structure organization makes records hard to locate and may prevent records from being discarded when dispositioned. • Treat your digital records like you treat your analog records. • Use the subfolder feature.

  23. Examples of poorly-organized file structure

  24. Examples of well-organized file structure

  25. Management tips and considerations • Standardize how files are named. • Labelled in a systematic way so that files are both identifiable and accessible for current and future users. • Distinguishable, locatable, easily sorted • Makes the naming process easier for everyone because no need to re-think the process every time. • Helps ensure that files are not accidentally overwritten or deleted. • Helps you to identify and distinguish the different versions of an electronic file. • Creates a clear audit trail of for tracking the development of a file. • There are softwares to help with the renaming lots of files.

  26. Management tips and considerations General rules for file naming: • Keep file names short and relevant (~25 characters or less). • Long file names sometimes do not work well with certain types of software. • Don’t use special characters (!@#$%). • Use underscores instead of spaces. • Example: file_name.jpg instead of file name.jpg • Format dates consistently if used in file naming standard. • Use all lowercase. • Avoid using terms like “final revision” because it can difficult to perceive order if several versions exist. • Consider using numbering system instead: ordinal numbers for major changes; decimal numbers for minor changes. • Example: 2.3_file_name.pdf • Key take-away: Whatever you do, be consistent!

  27. Management tips and considerations • Back-up your files. • Backing-up is the single-most important electronic records management task. • Multiple backups • LOCKSS = Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe • Multiple locations • 3-2-1 Principle of Backup = 3 copies of a file on two different media with 1 off-site. • IT Department is likely handling this for you, but you should be aware of what their backup schedule is, how long backups are retained, and the procedure for recovering lost e-recs if any data loss occurs. • Electronic data recovery should be part of your Disaster Plan.

  28. Management tips and considerations • Deleting an electronic record (moving it to the Recycle Bin) does not completely remove the file from a computer. • It only removes the pointers to the disk sectors where the file is stored. The record still exists and can be retrieved • To permanently remove, use one of these methods: • Data erasure software (leaves medium operable) • Reformat (leaves medium operable, but erases everything on it) • Degaussing (magnetic media; erases everything on the medium and may it completely unusable) • Physical destruction of the whole medium • Remember that backups (and any copies) of the records should be destroyed at time of dispositioning, too. • This shouldn’t be an issue if records management policies are being followed. Backups should be getting destroyed on schedule and files should be centrally stored.

  29. summary • Electronic records are records; they are subject to the same regulations and requirements as analog records. • Including email! • Retention schedules are an essential aspect of managing all records and should be regarded as important policy documents. • Creating and implementing policies and procedures with your IT department about how electronic records should be maintained by your agency ensures that your agency will satisfy its legal and professional obligations for electronic records management. • Questions?

  30. Contact info Kim Moseley (573) 751-3319 kim.moseley@sos.mo.gov • SMART training, general inquiry Christina Miller (573) 751-4502christina.miller@sos.mo.gov • Courts, Governor, Legislature Larry Barrett(573) 751-2944larry.barrett@sos.mo.gov • Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Labor and Industrial Relations, Revenue, Social Services Amy Dinkins(573) 751-7299amy.dinkins@sos.mo.gov • Treasurer, Agriculture, Corrections, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, Highway and Transportation, Natural Resources, Office of Administration Brandy Tunmire(573) 751-4219brandy.tunmire@sos.mo.gov • Auditor, Conservation, Economic Development, Health and Senior Services, Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration, Mental Health, Midwest Special Needs Trust, Missouri State Employee Retirement System, Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, Public Safety http://www.sos.mo.gov/records/recmgmt/contact