Posts Tagged ‘electronic records’

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


Columbus E-Records Day

October 10, 2016 5 comments

It’s Columbus Day AND Electronic Records Day.

In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. After that it’s best guess. The log of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage has not survived the journey of time. When he returned to Spain in 1543 he gave his log to his patrons Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in Barcelona. The queen ordered the log to be copied to create what is now referred to as the Barcelona Copy. Today no one knows what happened to the original. Columbus kept the Barcelona Copy until his death. It then passed to his son, Fernando, who used it to write a biography on his father.

Around 1530, the Barcelona Copy was abstracted by Bartolome de las Casas as part of his work on the history of the “Indians.” Shortly thereafter, around 1555, the Barcelona Copy went missing. The Las Casas abstract, known as the Diario, survives today as what is considered the best historical records of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, though some believe the distance conversion from leagues to miles is unreliable. This means that our best record of that famous voyage is three degrees away from the original log!

The original biography Fernando wrote also has not survived. However, there is an old translation of the biography into Italian known as the Historie, which has since been translated to English and can be purchased under the title of “The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus.”


Do you have multiple copies of your records? What do you define as the original? Have you lost original work and been left to interpret what was done or decided based on second- or third-hand accounts? As part of your records management plan, be sure to identify which copy is the record copy. If it’s a permanent record, be sure to create a preservation copy that will not be used so your original record is not lost in the journey of time!

Photo: Pickering, Keith A. Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria. Digital image. Land of Legends. Data Wales, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.

You won’t believe what we’re doing to the GRS! Hear all about it…..

September 7, 2016 Comments off

You won’t believe what we’re doing to the General Retention Schedules!


Hear all about it at our fall conference!

Rebekkah Shaw from the Utah State Archives will discuss her work in updating the General Retention Schedule, the vision going forward, and why her team needs your team! Rebekkah will be part of a panel discussion on managing electronic records. Check-out the flyer below for additional details, and stay tuned for more conference highlights!

Join us on October 6th! Attend in-person or participate online! The conference will be held at the Miller Free Enterprise Center, 9750 S. 300 W. in Sandy, UT in an auditorium with stadium seating. Online participants will join using Adobe Connect, instructions will be sent out closer to the event.

To register visit our website, and select “Training and Events” under the “Quick Links Section”. Registration instructions are also available on the Open Records Portal’s “Help Center.


Dreaming of your dream team? Find out how to bring key players together at our annual fall conference!

August 31, 2016 Comments off

Dreaming of your dream team? Find out how to bring key players together at our annual fall conference! This year’s theme is “Everyone Wins! Records Management Teamwork”. We chose this theme because we have received a lot of records management questions about how to:

  • get started managing records
  • build a records management team
  • train coworkers
  • use retention schedules
  • build a relationship with IT
  • transferring electronic records to the State Archives

All of these questions are about working as a team! Whether it is your chief administrative officer, records officer, or IT support, or office staff, everyone in your agency has a team role in records management. You cannot do it alone!

Bring your team on October 6th to get ideas on how to win more as a team! Attend in-person or participate online! To register visit our website, and select “Training and Events” under the “Quick Links Section”. Registration instructions are also available on the Open Records Portal’s “Help Center“.

The conference will be held in an auditorium with stadium seating at the Miller Free Enterprise Center, 9750 S. 300 W. in Sandy, UT.


Dreaming of your dream team? Find out how to bring key players together at our annual fall conference! This year’s theme is “Everyone Wins! Records Management Teamwork”.

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.

Upcoming Training Events

November 3, 2014 Comments off

To register for a training event, please click here.

Logan, UT

  • November 21, 2014

Management and Care of Historic Records 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

This training will cover topics such as appraisal, retention, preservation, and access to historic records.

Utah State University Library
Conference Room 101

Salt Lake City, UT

  • November 7, 2014
  • December 5, 2014

Basic Records Management I: Records Management 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

This class educates participants about legal responsibilities of government agencies in managing records and information. The legally assigned roles of records officers, chief administrative officers, and the State Archives will be discussed.

Utah State Archives Courtyard Training Room
346 S Rio Grande St

ARMA, Salt Lake City Chapter

Essential Elements of an IG/Electronic RIM Program 11:45 am to 1:00 pm

  • November 20, 2014

Speaker: Howard Loos, CRM

BYU Harold B Lee Library “Friends Room”, Provo

RSVP: Susan Mumford

Electronic Records Conference Materials

October 3, 2014 1 comment

Thank you to everyone who attended the Electronic Records Conference. We had a great turnout and fantastic presenters! Thank you to Terry, Howard, Ron and Amy for sharing their experiences and expertise with us! You can now view the slides as well as Terry’s Technical Bulletin  on our website at: