Electronic Records Management


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Presentation on Electronic records management, originally presented at UWM January 16, 2008

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Electronic Records Management

  1. 1. Electronic Records Management Identifying, Organizing, and Preserving your e-records
  2. 2. The Problem with Electronic Records <ul><li>Massive Volume of e-Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases by 30% per annum </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Volume of unnecessary e-Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30-60% of all stored documents are copies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Electronic Non- records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“90% of what I get is Spam…” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ephemeral Nature of e-Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘Surrogacy’ issue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited control over organization </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Problem, cont. <ul><li>Information Security </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who’s looking at your records? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to protect confidential e-recs? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Record Authenticity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal issues re: file changes ( Zubulake) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Long-term preservation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File Format? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Medium? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Part I: Identifying and Authenticating your e-Records
  5. 5. What is a record? <ul><li>Records : Recorded information, in any format, that allows an office to conduct business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does NOT include unofficial records: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duplicate Copies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drafts and Informal Notes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Routing Slips </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Correspondence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Does this document help me perform the duties in my job description?” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Electronic Records <ul><li>Value of a record determined by content , not format ! </li></ul>Student paper submitted in class or via mail Student paper (e-mailed or D2L-submitted) Memorandum of conversation Instant message log Accession card catalog Museum accessions database Form master copy E-Form template Memo, typed letter E-mail message Paper Analog Electronic Record
  7. 7. Is it an Electronic Record? <ul><ul><li>Does your file: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Support or document a transaction? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Document the formulation or execution of a policy, interpretation of a policy, or change of policy? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Document Actions taken in response to an inquiry? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relate to the substantive business of your office or work unit? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide information regarding the historical development of UWM programs or people? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If “yes” to any of the above, it is a record! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Record vs. Non-Record: Examples <ul><li>E-mail to contractor clarifying terms: Record! </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail from department head to staff giving committee assignments: Record! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sender must retain as record; recipient(s) may delete as appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Draft of a report: Non-Record! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The final report will be a record, however </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Copy of Record <ul><li>The official record, for business and legal purposes, of a business transaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you take any action on a document, that document becomes YOUR record, even if other copies are maintained elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EXCEPTION: Convenience copies may be discarded freely </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Copy of Record: Examples <ul><li>If you create a document as part of your everyday work, you are the record holder </li></ul><ul><li>If you manage or lead a committee, project, or program, you are the record holder </li></ul><ul><li>If you are holding a received record for reference, you are NOT the record holder </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sender usually record holder in these cases </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The Authenticity Problem <ul><li>Electronic records are inherently malleable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be modified after creation (esp. desktop!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Electronic records are inherently surrogate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The actual ‘record’ the magnetic pattern on server or hard drive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Electronic records are inherently unstable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for migration, etc. often damages integrity of file </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The Authenticity Solution? <ul><li>FRE 803(6): Authenticity is presumed if University relies on the records </li></ul><ul><li>Some possibilities for verifying authenticity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Versioning? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read-Only Protection/Digital Signatures? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Form/Stable Content conversion? (e.g. save as PDF) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, these solutions only as useful as records creators are vigilant </li></ul>
  13. 13. Part II: e-Records Creation and Maintenance
  14. 14. Not All Records Are Created Equal <ul><li>Desktop Application Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Word documents; databases; imaged copies of paper documents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-mail Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Transitory messages; routine correspondence; policy/procedures correspondence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web Information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: HTML files; CSS style sheets; blogs </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What’s In A Name? <ul><li>File names should be as descriptive as possible </li></ul><ul><li>In case of email or other machine-generated titles, use subject as descriptor </li></ul>PurchasesFY07.mdb Purchases.mdb Subj: Project X Contact Info and wiki address Subj: Helpful Info ITSecurityMinutes1-08.doc Minutes.doc Better/Descriptive Poor/Confusing
  16. 16. Tagging and Classifying <ul><li>Benefits of ‘tagging’ and ‘folksonomy’ </li></ul><ul><li>Develop office-wide categories to describe documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with other departments on this allows categories to work on broader scale, more consistently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From there….? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tag/Categorize documents as they are created </li></ul>
  17. 17. Filing System: Desktop/Web <ul><li>Your computer/server is your filing cabinet; the directories are your drawers/folders </li></ul><ul><li>Advantage over paper filing: multi-level hierarchy! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows greater control over organization– if you keep up with it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep record series (groups of functionally-related records) separate </li></ul>
  18. 18. Desktop Filing Suggestions <ul><li>Alphabetically </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for student files, personnel, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Automatic arrangement, but low org. control </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chronologically </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for activity tracking, financial recs, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful for keeping track of disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subject </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for administrative/reference files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most versatile, requires most vigilance </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Hybrid Filing <ul><li>Combining one or more of the filing archetypes to fulfill reference/retention needs </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reference Correspondence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FY2006 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>November </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, A </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, K </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Filing System: E-mail <ul><li>Keep all emails in your inbox </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: Easy; computer-aided searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: Inbox clutter, manual searching </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Foldering Scheme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: retain context; manual searching; reduces inbox clutter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: Large implementation and maintenance requirement </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Hybrid System for Email <ul><li>Delete non-record email as needed </li></ul><ul><li>Manually file emails for reference/retention, OR set up filters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Filter by sender, subject line, recipient, etc. partially automates filing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leave emails in inbox that require quick follow-through </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File appropriately once responded to </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. The Cardinal Rule of Filing/Naming <ul><li>Be Consistent!!!! </li></ul>
  23. 23. Part III: E-Records Retention and Disposition
  24. 24. Why do I need to keep e-recs? <ul><li>To document the operations of your office </li></ul><ul><li>To document important programmatic decisions </li></ul><ul><li>To preserve the history of your office and UWM </li></ul><ul><li>To provide legal protection for your office </li></ul><ul><li>To comply with Wisconsin state law! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wis. Stats. 16.61; Wis. Stats. 36.19 </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Why do I need to DESTROY e-recs? <ul><li>To use less server space </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce the clutter in your inbox and on your desktop </li></ul><ul><li>To avoid confusion about which file is the record copy </li></ul><ul><li>To provide legal protection for your office </li></ul>
  26. 26. RRDAs to the Rescue! <ul><li>Records Retention and Disposition Authority (RRDA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention period (minimum) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final Disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Record Series description </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When followed, RRDAs, or Records Schedules, simplify decision-making process on keeping/destroying records </li></ul><ul><li>Required by state law! </li></ul>
  27. 27. Sample RRDA
  28. 28. What if an RRDA doesn’t exist? <ul><li>Non-record files and emails (drafts, notes, etc.) may be deleted immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Official Records may not be destroyed without a schedule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many records, such as fiscal recs., scheduled under General Records Schedules (GRSs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contact Records Officer to arrange for e-records survey and scheduling </li></ul>
  29. 29. General Disposition Tips <ul><li>Set aside a little time each day/week as ‘purge time’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘Purge day’ at end of FY or in slow times? </li></ul><ul><li>If using Outlook or Thunderbird for email, set up date search for archiving </li></ul><ul><li>If records are unscheduled, organize them in preparation for scheduling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Function, Date, Creator? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, hold on to it! </li></ul>
  30. 30. Exception: Litigation Holds! <ul><li>Applied by official in advance of lawsuit potential </li></ul><ul><li>If a litigation hold is placed on a record series or email group, no records from that series may be destroyed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supersedes all existing records schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records outside scope of hold follow normal disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also applies to Open Records Requests </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Records Management or Legal Affairs with questions </li></ul>
  31. 31. Long-Term e-Recs Preservation <ul><li>UWM Archives does not currently have a dedicated E-Records Repository </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On short list of projects for 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preservation problems: Medium </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CD-ROMs? Magnetic Disks? Server? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preservation problems: Data Format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obsolescence? Proprietary Formats? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current Recommendation: Keep in office </li></ul>
  32. 32. Geof Huth’s ‘Three Ms’ <ul><li>Message : Is the content of the document adequately preserved? </li></ul><ul><li>Media : Is the storage medium durable enough to retain its integrity over time? </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata : Is there enough supplementary info to contextualize the document? </li></ul><ul><li>If you lose even one of these components of an electronic record, you have not adequately preserved it . </li></ul>
  33. 33. A Brief Sidenote on Metadata <ul><li>Metadata : A characterization or description documenting the identification, management, nature, use, or location of information resources (data) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherent metadata (email headers, date of creation, document author, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User-supplied metadata (tags, categories, abstracts, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Critical for document search, context </li></ul>
  34. 34. Preservation Solution #1: Printing e-Records <ul><li>Avoids problems of obsolescence, mutability </li></ul><ul><li>Most office managers better equipped to deal with paper records </li></ul><ul><li>UWM Archives can accession paper records more easily </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : No searchability or reusability; onus to print on user; wasteful </li></ul>
  35. 35. Preservation Solution #2: Native Format Storage <ul><li>Storing documents as created by applications </li></ul><ul><li>Easiest option for most users, particularly if well-organized </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : Requires constant migration (every new version); no backup puts data at risk; media may degrade </li></ul><ul><li>UWM Archives is NOT equipped to handle this method of storage </li></ul>
  36. 36. Preservation Solution #3: Neutral Format Storage <ul><li>Files converted to non-proprietary format (TIFF, XML, PDF/A) and stored remotely </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PantherFile, LOCKSS Box </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reduces/eliminates need for migration or emulation </li></ul><ul><li>Provides backup and transfer options </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : Conversion may be labor-intensive; onus on user for now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UWM Archives, UITS searching for mass-conversion tool </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. A Few Special Notes on Email <ul><li>Archive your email on your computer or server space , not on the email server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about it: do you check out books from the Post Office? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convert archived email to neutral format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TXT files are easiest; XML files preserve metadata better </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep attachments associated with email files </li></ul>
  38. 38. Email notes, cont. <ul><li>Include original message and reply inline when possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for complete documentary record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only need to save last message in thread </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Include all relevant information in printout: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Header information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Body Text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attachments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signature blocks </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Personal Email? <ul><li>Two Rules of Thumb: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Try not to send personal e-mails from your university account; if you do, though, keep them separate from your work e-mails. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Never send work-related e-mails from personal e-mail accounts! </li></ul>
  40. 40. Above all else… <ul><li>As much as is possible, consider electronic records to be ‘normal’ university records, and treat them as such! </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on top of managing your e-Records, and they won’t spiral out of control! </li></ul>
  41. 41. For More Information <ul><li>UW System Policy on Use of University Information Technology Resources http://www.uwsa.edu/president/communications/publicat/itpolicy.htm </li></ul><ul><li>UITS Short Courses (The Email Management course is particularly useful) </li></ul><ul><li>https://www4.uwm.edu/uits/services/training/courses/index.cfm </li></ul>
  42. 42. Wisconsin Information <ul><li>State of Wisconsin E-Mail Policy and Guidance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// enterprise.state.wi.us/home/email/Default.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wisconsin DOA Electronic Records ( See especially the training links) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://enterprise.state.wi.us/home/erecords/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ADM Ch. 12: Electronic Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/adm/adm012.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. UWM Records Management <ul><li>New Records Management Home Page! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/arch/recordsmgt/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes links to UWM and UW-System General Records Schedules, webcasts, this presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or, Contact Records Management directly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] (Brad Houston) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>414-229-6979 </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Questions?