Under G.S. 121-5(d), public records certified by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as being of permanent value shall be preserved in the custody of the agency in which the records are normally kept or in the State Archives.
For state agencies, this means that a specific records series that a records analyst and the agency have agreed holds archival value may be scheduled for transfer to the State Records Center when the records become inactive. (For discussions of what constitutes archival value, read our blogposts here and here.) After storage in the State Records Center for an agreed-upon time period, we transfer the records, with the agency’s permission, to the custody of the State Archives.
During the inactive phase, state agency records in the State Records Center remain in the legal, official custody of the state agency. Access is restricted to the agency’s staff. Persons other than the agency’s staff must contact the agency and receive written permission prior to accessing the records. The agency is responsible for any redaction of confidential information in public records. Upon transfer to the custody of the State Archives, the State Archives is responsible for the preservation and administration of public records accepted into its custody, as found in G.S. 121-4(3).
Guidance for the transfer of paper records to the State Records Center may be found here.
The State Archives collects electronic records with historical value, too. Upon receipt by the State Records Center, the State Archives immediately transfers electronic records to the custody of the State Archives. Guidance for the preparation and transfer of archival electronic records is located in our guides Digital File Transfer Guidelines and Data and Electronic Records Transfer Standards.
State agency records accessioned by the State Archives become part of a large collection and are preserved permanently. For more information on what happens then, read “What does “transfer to the custody of the Archives” mean?” here. Working together, state agencies and the State Archives document the history of North Carolina and put valuable government records within the reach of North Carolinians. For more on using historical state agency records for research, read this.