A local government that wants to scan and then destroy non-permanent paper records, thus converting paper records to electronic records, can do so only with permission of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Government Records Section. (Permanent records may be scanned, but are retained always in the original paper format.)
For permission, we require a local government create and sign an Electronic Records and Imaging Policy. In its Electronic Records and Imaging Policy, a local government says it is following our principles for the management of trustworthy digital records. As we say in the Policy, “Complying with this policy will increase the reliability and accuracy of records stored in information technology systems and will ensure that they remain accessible over time. Exhibiting compliance with this policy will enhance records’ admissibility and acceptance by the judicial system as being trustworthy.”
The steps in this process are:
- Ask a records analyst whether you already have an approved Electronic Records and Imaging Policy on file.
- Read our Guidelines for Managing Trustworthy Digital Public Records for an explanation of the principles behind our policy.
- Download the Microsoft Word version of our Sample Electronic Records and Imaging Policy and Procedures. Use our sample policy as the foundation for your policy.
- Watch these 2 online tutorials that explain how to edit and adopt the policy:
- Edit our Sample Electronic Records and Imaging Policy and Procedures to describe your electronic records management policies and procedures.
- Submit a final draft of your policy to a records analyst for review and comments. Make any changes.
- Have the records custodian or a project manager, a representative of your IT department, and your director check off and sign the Electronic Records Self-Warranty in Section 9 of your Electronic Records and Imaging Policy.
- Mail, or scan and e-mail, the signed Electronic Records and Imaging Policy to a records analyst.
- The records analyst will prepare a cover letter for the signature of Becky McGee-Lankford, head of the Government Records Section. Ms. McGee-Lankford will sign the letter, the Policy, and the form. We will mail the signed original to you and retain copies in our files.
We also require local governments fill out our Request for Destruction of Original Records Duplicated by Electronic Meansform, listing the specific record series being scanned, and send the form for us for approval. Write the Standard name, Item number, and records series name from the relevant local records retention and disposition schedule for each records series you wish to digitize and destroy. Then mail, or scan and e-mail, the signed Request for Destruction of Original Records Duplicated by Electronic Meansform to a records analyst for Ms. McGee-Lankford’s signature.
Once you receive the signed originals, you may scan and destroy the non-permanent records that you listed on your Request for Destruction of Original Records Duplicated by Electronic Means form. If you wish to digitize and destroy a new series of non-permanent records not listed on the form, you must submit a new Request for Destruction of Original Records Duplicated by Electronic Means form for our approval.
Finally, we recommend that you reevaluate your Electronic Records and Imaging Policy at a
minimum of every 5 years, or upon implementation of a new information technology system. Technology changes, and you will ensure that your Electronic Records and Imaging Policy stays up-to-date.
You can find the digital records policies, procedures, and forms mentioned above here.