Author Archive

Can I Send Records Stored on Non-Paper Media to the State Records Center?

September 18, 2017 Comments off

We received the following question from a records officer, and thought it might be helpful for all records managers to hear the answer. So here it is in ‘Dear Abby’ form:

Dear Records Analyst,

I am in the process of preparing boxes to send to the Records Center, but heard that I should not send cassette tapes, VHS, DVDs, CDs, or flash drives. I have all of these, one or the other, in almost all of my files, some of which are from as far back as 1995. How am I supposed to archive these? Do you have any recommendations?


Ms. Multimedia

Dear Ms. Multimedia,

Thank you for your question; I’m sure you are not alone in wondering how to manage non-paper media. Although it is possible for you to send records on electronic storage media to the State Records Center, it may not be advisable.

You should consider a few factors when deciding:

  • The law requires that you maintain the records in a manner that allows full access for the length of the retention period (Utah Code 46-4-301 and 501; Utah Code 63G-2-604). That means that you must be able to view or hear the recordings on DVDs, open the data files stored on flash drives, etc. for the amount of time specified by the retention schedule.
  • Paper is a very stable medium, but other storage media such as DVDs, cassette tapes, and flash drives tend to degrade faster when not kept in a climate-controlled environment. The Records Center is not a climate-controlled archival repository.
  • The bigger concern, is media and format obsolescence. For records that need to be kept longer than 9 years, you need to convert file formats before the file type disappears, and regularly move the files onto more reliable storage media. This is referred to as data migration; having and implementing a data migration plan is an essential part of maintaining electronic records.
  • If the records are scheduled to be destroyed after the retention period ends, then the responsibility to maintain the records begins and ends with your agency, and your agency is assuming all of the risk when choosing how and where to store the records.
  • If the records are scheduled to be transferred to the State Archives after the retention period ends, then the State Archives also has a responsibility to maintain the records and needs to be consulted as you are deciding how and where to store the records. The State Archives may want to take further measures to ensure their preservation. Contact your records analyst with any questions or needs that you may have.

If you are sending non-paper media to the Records Center or to the State Archives, please notify a member of the Archives staff at the time of transfer.

It is very easy to do. Just check the box on the online Record Transfer Sheet form that says “Transfer Includes Non-Paper Records” (shown below):

RTS_Non-paper media included

Thank you for your question, and best of luck to you!


Records Analyst

Utah Division of Archives and Records Service


Public Service Recognition Week: Meet the Records Analysts!

May 11, 2017 1 comment

As part of Utah’s Public Service Recognition Week, we want to honor the employees of the Utah Division of State Archives and Records Service, Records Analysis section, who assist Utah governmental agencies in the efficient management of their records.

Records analysts provide customer service to records officers and training for government employees—in person, via the phone or email, and through our websites. We supply certification training and guidance regarding records management issues, help records officers update or create retention schedules, and offer free classes, webinars, and conferences centered around records management and GRAMA issues.

Lorianne-Ouderkirk editedLorianne Ouderkirk is coming up on her five-year anniversary of working at the State Archives in July! She is the records analyst for all local governmental agencies, as well as law enforcement (including Highway Patrol), and the Utah Department of Health. Lorianne is a skilled listener and pays a lot of attention to detail. This serves her both in assisting customers and in coordinating and planning training events that draw hundreds of attendees from all over the state.

Her favorite part of the job is “The people that I get to work with across the state. The records officers and chief administrative officers that I work with are all very invested in caring for their agency’s records and mindful of the impact maintaining government records has on their agency and their community. I enjoy working and meeting with records officers to understand their needs, and then connecting them with relevant resources and helping them to achieve their goals.

“I also get to coordinate learning opportunities (conferences, webinars, etc.) to provide training on topics not covered in our standard training classes. I enjoy hearing from records officers about what topics they would like to learn about most, and I use those ideas for planning the next event.”


Rebekkah Shaw

Rebekkah Shaw reviews, updates, and creates general retention schedules, which requires gathering input from stakeholders and trying to build consensus. She also serves as the analyst for all education governmental agencies—school districts, charter schools, state education offices, and higher education. Rebekkah has a gift for being able to review and understand vast amounts of data, and has been leading a major Division of Archives initiative to clean up data about record series in our content management system. She has been with the State Archives since 2010 and is a fantastic team player!

When asked what her favorite part of the job was, Rebekkah answered: “I love the relief I hear from records officers when they contact us feeling completely overwhelmed with a task, but feel prepared after talking with us. I love the satisfaction of a retention schedule approved by the State Records Committee after months of work. I suppose my favorite thing, if I must choose one–Picture this–There’s a “problem series.” Something about it doesn’t make sense and needs to be fixed. You know that moment when you’ve figured it out and now you can fix it? Those moments are my favorite.”


2015 Electronic Records Conference

Renée Wilson has worked at the State Archives for 3.5 years, most of which was spent developing and administering the Open Records Portal. She currently is the records analyst for most state governmental agencies. She is passionate about putting our customers first and giving them the best possible experience while using our services. Renée excels at exploring new software applications, technology-related problem-solving, designing user-friendly tools, and providing stellar customer service. She has made it possible for us to broadcast our conferences live and post the recordings on our website, thereby reaching records officers unable to make the trip to Salt Lake City.

She says “My favorite part of my job is when I get to run a webinar or update a webpage or test new features of the website, or otherwise be helpful in some technology-related way. I love helping people find information! I like the people with whom I work, both within the Archives and at the agencies.”


We are so fortunate to have Lorianne, Rebekkah, and Renée on our team! Please join the State Archives in recognizing them along with other employees in blog posts throughout the week, both here and on our blog, Researching the Utah State Archives.


Our Website got a Makeover!

February 10, 2017 2 comments

The Utah State Archives’ website,, has a fresh new look! This design is made for all kinds of devices–from mobile to widescreen.

Can’t find something or see an error? Let us know!



Categories: Records Management

Free Workshop on Preserving your Collections During a Disaster!

October 24, 2016 Comments off

Wednesday, October 26, at the Utah State Archives: Register HERE


1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center where an estimated 80% of army records from 1912 to 1960 were lost.


Randy Silverman is a Preservation Librarian at the University of Utah and founding member of WESTPAS, a project that focuses on preserving cultural collections in the West.


At the two-part workshop on Wednesday, October 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Randy Silverman will teach you how to:


  • Create a disaster response & collection salvage plan

  • Train staff to implement your plan effectively

  • Set pre- and post-disaster action priorities

  • Understand practical decision-making skills needed during an emergency

  • Practice salvage procedures for books, documents, photos & objects

Categories: Records Management

Sign Up for Training on the Open Records Portal

January 7, 2016 1 comment
  1. Go to and click Login.Sign up for training_1


  2. Login using your UMD (Utah Master Directory) account. If you have a Public Notice Website login using your records officer email, you may use that; if not, create a new UMD login. Please be sure to use the same email address for your UMD account that you use as a records officer in our system.
  3. Click the Dashboard button on the navigation bar:
    Sign up for training_2


  4. Click the Training button on the sub-navigation:
    Sign up for training_3


  5. Click the Register for Training button:Sign up for training_4


  6. Sign up for your desired training session by clicking Register for this Class. You may sort classes by date, location, class name, or status.Sign up for training_5


If you have any questions, please contact Renée Wilson at or 801-531-3842.

Categories: Records Management

New Chief Administrative Officer Agency Review Interface

December 3, 2015 Comments off

We are launching a new interface for chief administrative officers (CAOs) to review and edit their agency and records officer information. All chief administrative officers should receive an email with the subject line “Annual Review of Agency Information.” The email requests that they open the link, review their agency and records officer information, make corrections if necessary, and then acknowledge that their review is complete. Below are detailed instructions for navigating the new interface. 

 Instructions for Updating Records Officer Information


1      Click on the link provided in the e-mail

You will be taken to the Chief Administrative Officer Review main page where you will see a list of agencies that you are responsible for, and a corresponding list of records officers assigned to each agency for which you are responsible.

2      IF everything looks correct:

Select the “Review Complete” button at the bottom of the page.

You are done.

3      IF you need to edit records officer information (name spelling, phone number, etc.):

***Note: Do NOT use this procedure to change the person that is assigned to the agency. Each person has a unique profile ID that must remain their own. To remove the listed records officer and assign a new records officer, proceed to subsequent sections of these instructions.***

Select records officer’s name from the list.

Input updated information.

Select the “Submit Edits” button.

Select the “Proceed” button. You will be taken back to the main page.

Select the “Review Complete” button when you have finished making all changes and are ready to end the review.

4      IF you need to remove a records officer or change the agencies to which he/she is assigned:

Select records officer’s name from the list.

Select the “Agency Assignments” button.
You may Add or Remove the records officer from any agency for which you are the chief administrative officer by selecting the appropriate link.

CAOreview_Add or Remove

Then select the “Done with assignments” button at the top or bottom of the page.

Select the “Back” button when you have finished editing the individual’s assigned agencies. You will be taken back to the main page.

Select the “Review Complete” button when you have finished making all changes and are ready to end the review.

5      IF you need to add a records officer that is not listed:

Select the “Designate Records Officers” button.


Select the desired individual from the drop-down list.

If the person is not listed in the drop-down list, choose “Add someone new to the list.”


Input the new person’s name, email address, telephone number, address, and assigned agency (from the drop-down menu).

CAOreview_AddNew_choose agency

Select the “Submit” button. You will be taken back to the main page.

Select the “Review Complete” button when you have finished making all changes and are ready to end the review.

Instructions for Updating Agency Information


1      IF you need to change the agencies over which you are the CAO:

Contact a records analyst at the State Archives at 801-531-3863 or


2      IF you need to correct the name, address, website URL, or phone number of your agency:

Select the agency in question from the list of agencies on the main page.

Input the updated information.

Select the “Submit Edits” button. You will be taken back to the main page.

Agency name changes will not be immediately implemented in the database as they must first be reviewed by a records analyst at the State Archives.

Select the “Review Complete” button when you have finished making all changes and are ready to end the review.

3      IF you need to correct the organizational hierarchy of your agency:

From the list of agencies on the main page, select the agency that is incorrectly placed.

Open the dropdown menu in the Parent Agency field.

Select the parent agency under which the agency should be situated.

Select the “Submit Edits” button.

Select the “Proceed” button. You will be taken back to the main page.

Hierarchy changes will not be immediately implemented in the database as they must first be reviewed by a records analyst at the State Archives.

Select the “Review Complete” button when you have finished making all changes and are ready to end the review.

*      IF you have questions or concerns:

Please contact a records analyst at the State Archives at 801-531-3863 or


Categories: Records Management

Wondering what to do with your social media accounts? Texts? Emails?

October 9, 2015 2 comments

Happy Electronic Records Day!

Are you wondering what to do with your social media accounts, texts, or emails? On this Electronic Records Day, consider these points to help keep your agency out of legal trouble and to ensure that critical records are preserved.

electronic records logo_2015_ns_native_png

Tips for Managing Electronic Communications in Government

  • Content, not format is important. Just as you wouldn’t keep a letter on yellow paper longer than one on white paper just because of its color, you wouldn’t keep or destroy communication based solely on format. Whether a message is sent via email, text, social media or other means, the content of the message is what determines its value and retention.
  • If public business is being conducted, it’s a record. There are three general schedules to help you assess whether the correspondence is transitory, administrative, or executive, and how long it needs to be kept.
  • Public business on private accounts is still public. As recent news stories and court cases have shown, private accounts or personal devices are subject to public records laws if they are used to conduct public business. This helps ensure transparency in government and ensures accountability of public employees and officeholders.
  • Avoid combining public & private communications. In the event of a records request through GRAMA or e-discovery, someone may search through your correspondence. Keep personal and business communications separate if you wish to protect your privacy.
  • Is there a policy for that? Government agencies should have policies in place that clearly lay out how each communication technology should be used, set limits on what content may be transmitted by such technologies, and outline procedures for retention, retrieval, preservation and disposition of communication content. Both record and non-record communication should be addressed.
  • Understand third-party tools. Using social media or text messages for government communication complicates the process of capturing and preserving records, since these platforms are typically operated by parties outside of government. Agencies must clearly understand the limits and user agreements of the technologies being used and plan for records management before information requests come in.
  • Consider how frequently you will need to capture information on your agency’s social media sites. This will depend on how frequently the content changes, the quantity of the content, the stability of the networking site, and the functionality of the tools available for extracting the information from the site.
  • Think hard about BYOD. Both records management and information security can be a challenge when allowing employees to use their own devices for public work. Clear policies regarding the use of such devices are essential, as are plans for retrieval of record information from those devices. Mobile Device Management software can help, but only if implemented properly.

electronic records logo_2015_native

Thank you to CoSA for their hard work and their support in raising awareness of the importance of electronic records management.