With each passing year, electronic records become more and more prevalent within both state and local government. As a result, effectively managing these records can be a daunting task. The Council of State Archives has declared October 10 to be Electronic Records Day (#ERecsDay), which provides the opportunity for archivists around the country to promote awareness concerning the management and preservation of electronic records and the challenges inherent therein. Although there are a great number of challenges, there are many resources available on the Digital Records section of the Archives & Records website which can help you along. I will share a few of the most important ones in this post.
The first document is our Guidelines for Managing Trustworthy Digital Public Records. This document focuses on ensuring the admissibility and authenticity of digital records, particularly when they are needed for legal proceedings; defining characteristics associated with trustworthy electronic records; and establishing methods and procedures for establishing trustworthy digital records through scanning and other forms of digital imagining.
The second document is our Sample Electronic Records and Imaging Policy for Use by Local and State Agencies. This document provides a template or starting point for those state and local government agencies which are creating their own electronic records and imaging policy. An up-to-date policy is required for those government agencies retaining digital records for an extended period of time (five years or more) or those planning on implementing a scanning program. Among the topics addressed within the policy are availability of the system in question for outside inspection; the maintenance of the digital records in question; the components and documentation of the IT system charged with storing the digital records; and a description of the digital imaging program and procedures.
The third and final document I would like to bring attention to is the File Format Guidelines for Management and Long-Term Retention of Electronic Records. The premise of this document is fairly straightforward but its importance cannot be over-stressed. It provides recommended file formats for the long-term preservation of a number of different types of records. This is important because certain file formats are more favorable towards long-term preservation because of their wide adoption, transparency, self-containment and use within the archival community.
These are just a few of the many resources which are available concerning the management and preservation of electronic records in state and local government. Again, the Digital Records section of our website provides many more links which can assist you, and, of course, you may always contact any one of the number of records analysts on issues relating to electronic records.