Recently, the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings updated the Administrative Code for the Division of Archives and Records, part of the Department of Cultural Resources. Because Administrative Code is not updated often, we wanted to point out some of the changes—both little and big.
With regards to hours in the Search Room, the Administrative Code was updated to be more flexible about what hours we are open. Previously, the hours for all of the public research rooms were set in the administrative code. With this change, we now have more flexibility about when and how long we stay open in all of our facilities. Small changes were also made to the methods of records destruction—burial is no longer an acceptable or viable option.
For over ten years, the State Archives of North Carolina has been dealing with electronic records and has developed processes and work flows to ensure that electronic records hold the same integrity and authenticity as paper. We are pleased to have that reflected in the Administrative Code to ensure that records enjoy a high degree of trust and integrity. For the first time, the Code addresses electronic records. In 07 NCAC 04M.0503 (c), the code specifically addresses the transfer of electronic public records. It details what additional information is needed for the transfer of databases and discusses the responsibilities of the custodians prior to the transfer of the records and the staff of the Records Center once the records are transferred. The code also includes what types of information need to be destroyed when electronic records are destroyed per retention and disposition schedules.
These changes will help to ensure that electronic records remain authentic and trustworthy as they transfer from one machine to another. Additionally, it helps to ensure that once electronic records are destroyed, all connections or traces of the records are also destroyed. This is an important aspect of record keeping as electronic records contain more information that while hidden, needs to be destroyed along with the electronic file in order to ensure these records are purged per the records retention and disposition schedule.
Finally, the approved methods of destruction for public records in 07 NCAC 04M.510 has been updated. The option of destroying records by placing them in a landfill has been removed as an approved method of destruction. Also, the proper method for the destruction of confidential records is now addressed in the code.
You can access the Administrative Code at http://reports.oah.state.nc.us/ncac.asp. If you have any questions please contact the analyst assigned to your agency. Contact information at: http://www.ncdcr.gov/archives/ForGovernment/ServicesandTraining.aspx