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Electronic Records Management


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

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

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