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Electronic Records Management

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by Brad Houston on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of Electronic Records Management

Managing Electronic Records
General Tips
Thank you for your attention!
Brad Houston, University Records Officer
This presentation available at:
Thank you
Treat your e-records the same as "normal" records for retention.
Have a systematic way of finding/accessing your e-records.
Always be mindful of your security needs.
Have a plan to keep your long-term e-records accessible and readable.
These are the "basics"-- how to deal with application documents.
Digital imaging CAN be a great tool for records management, but proceed with caution.
New electronic paradigm, new challenges
E-records ID and management
Digitization of paper records
Cloud computing and social media
Everybody's doing it...
(And everybody has problems managing them!)
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
‘Out of sight, out of mind'
Limited control over organization
Information Security
Who’s looking at your records?
How to protect confidential e-recs?
Record Authenticity
Legal issues re: file changes
Long-term preservation?
File Format?
Physical Medium?
Some of these problems include:
Too many problems for one frame!
And then there's the social media problem(s)....
Is what I'm doing on social media a record?
If they are records, how do I manage them?
What are my rights and responsibilities for these records?
But first, some vocabulary:
Electronic Record: any record created/maintained in a computer-readable format.
Born-Digital: Records that were originally created in electronic format.
Application document: a document created by a desktop application (e.g. Word or Acrobat).
Yes, this means that most documents created today are "born-digital."
Even if you print the document out and file it in your paper system, the original file is still a record if you retain it!
These are the most common electronic records, but not the only kind.
Why keep electronic records at all?
It's easier to access and share your records.
E-records might have inherent qualities lost in conversion to paper.
The physical space requirements for storage are MUCH lower.*
*That said, robust electronic storage is neither free nor infinite.
It's easier to find older records.*
*if you have planned accordingly.
(Think databases or video.)
Wisconsin ADM 12
Electronic records must have these 6 qualities:
The records can be retrieved for reference or access within a reasonable period of time.
The retrieved file correctly reflects the original record.
The electronic record correctly reflects the input of creators and editors and can be substantiated.
The electronic record reflects the initial record each and every time it is accessed.
The letters, numbers, and symbols in the document are uniquely identifiable.
The records can be opened on an accessible program and easily read by any and all users.
Two factors at play:
Appropriate File Naming
Appropriate File System
(In other words, how do we know you actually wrote this document?)
Solution A: Legal Presumption
Solution B: File Protection
All three of these pertain to long-term records access.
Can you still read one of these?
Hardware considerations
Software considerations
What happens once I don't need an e-record anymore?
Two Paths:
Before you begin: Strategize
(In other words, why are you looking at implementing a digital imaging system?)
For your consideration...
Systems specifications
Information Security
Training and staffing needs
Storage and migration
...Not to mention the records/legal issues!
At MINIMUM, talk to these people first:
Your unit IT department
UITS (large/high-bandwidth projects)
Information Security Office
Records Management
Legal Affairs
Purchasing (if using a CMS)
See also Records Management Digitization Guidelines:
Include, at minimum, the following in your file names:
Date (e.g. "052912")
Type (e.g. "report", "minutes", etc.)
Unique Identifier (Project name, committee name, etc.)
Avoid "forbidden" characters (@#$&*%/?)
Bad: Minutes.docx
Good: ITPCMinutes050412.docx
The filing system you choose will depend on your needs:
Alphabetic: simple subject files, case files
Automatic Arrangement, Low Control
Chronologic: financial records, activity tracking
Good for keeping track of disposition periods
Subject: Administrative/Reference Files
Usually tiered organization
Most versatile, requires most vigilance
An example combining all three:
FY 2011
Smith, A
Smith, K.
Tagging is another option for organizing your files.
: assigning keywords to a document to assist with finding/retrieval.)
Build a "tag library" of a few main categories of documents.
Too many tags defeats the purpose of grouping documents together!
Coordinate your tag library with other people in your office.
This helps everyone find everyone else's documents more easily.
You can usually add tags through the creating program or via the file properties.
If your office relies on the record to conduct business, it is
to be authentic. (FRE 803(6))
This rule assumes that you're making good-faith efforts to maintain authentic records.
This may not be an option for you when dealing with records requests!
The easiest way to guarantee a file's authenticity is to
the file.
Most programs have settings to make a file read-only.
PantherFile has Versioning and Logging tools that show how files have been changed.
Note the problem, though: You can usually turn write-protection off again.
A designated space on your server or hard drive for "finished" records can help you maintain records authenticity.
Keep your files on robust, sustainable media.
Good examples: Dept. server; External Hard Drive
Bad examples: CD-Rs; DVDs; Flash Drives
Keep your media in good condition and check it periodically to make sure it still works.
You can also convert your documents to a "fixed" format, such as PDF, or apply a digital signature.
If it DOESN'T still work, it may still be possible to extract data with digital forensics... but this is very expensive.
Save record copies of archival documents in sustainable, open-source formats.
If your records will be kept for longer than 5 years,
them regularly.
In general, migrate records every two versions of the software that originally created them.
Migration: saving records in a more recent file format.
You should follow all applicable Records Retention and Disposition Authorities (RRDAs) when destroying records.
If a record belongs to a particular series in its paper form, its electronic form is part of that series as well.
Just hitting "delete" may or may not be enough!
If a record has been created or maintained digitally, the UWM Archives prefers to receive it in that format.
We can accept electronic records via a number of media:
Internal or external hard drives
Removable media (CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, Flash drives)
Direct transmission (E-mail attachments, PantherFile)
The procedure for transferring electronic archives is mostly the same as for paper records...*
*But you should be prepared to answer more questions about your e-records-- creation, arrangement, etc.
Will your digitized records supplement or replace your paper copies?
How does digitization improve your business processes?
What kinds of records are you digitizing? How does that change what information you need to provide?
How many records do you need to digitize? What is your annual accumulation?
How long must digitized records be retained?
Don't assume that digitization will NECESSARILY save your office money!
Formats such as images, maps, etc. will require additional metadata.
Storage is cheaper than it used to be-- but not free. Budget for future additions!
Do all digitized records have RRDAs? If these are long-term records, how will you keep them readable?
Your systems should include,
at minimum
Open Systems Architecture
Controls and System Auditing
Image Authenticity Tools
Appropriate Scanning Resolution
Indexing System Database (for access)
Most of the expense of a digital imaging system comes from training and staff operations.
Personnel should be trained on
aspects of using the system before they are granted access to add or dispose of records.
Only personnel who require access to digitized records for their daily job duties should have access to the digital imaging system.
Be aware of your data's security classification!
If you are digitizing student data, for example, you will need greater security than if you are only working with meeting minutes.
Restrict access to your digitized records.
Keep any physical media in a secure, locked area of your office.
Only allow trusted staff to have access to your digital imaging system.
Maintain a dedicated machine for confidential records. Minimize its connection to the network.
NEVER take storage media home or otherwise move them from their designated space.
Contact UWM Information Security before starting any digitization project to determine your network security requirements.
As with "born-digital" records, for most records with retention under 5 years, reformatting/migration is usually not an issue.
What kind of storage are you using for your digital images?
Local media?
Make sure you're selecting ROBUST media, such as removable hard drives.
Again, CDs, DVDs, etc. are not reliable for long-term storage.
Lean towards larger storage media if possible-- the better to not accidentally walk away with.
Distributed Media?
If you're using your departmental drive, make sure it can handle the storage load (plus any future additions).
Cloud drives are an option, but there are usage and security concerns (more on this in a bit).
For records with longer retention times, have a Migration Plan in place
digitizing records.
You should plan to upgrade hardware, software, and file format, as needed.
What do we mean by "Cloud Computing"?
Essentially, 'cloud computing' refers to any sort of distributed (i.e. non-local) computing.
Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.)
Cloud Utilities (E-mail, Scheduling applications, etc.)
Why should I care about the cloud?
The Good
The Bad
The Ugly
It becomes MUCH easier to collaborate on documents with officemates/team members.
You are able to reduce the storage burden on your personal hard drive or dept. server.
The distributed nature of cloud applications brings down the cost for any one person or office.
You sacrifice a certain amount of physical and intellectual control over your records.
Not all cloud applications are willing or able to provide the security you need.
The application you use may not be flexible enough for your particular needs.
Some cloud applications assert ownership of any records managed within.
Application employees may purposefully or inadvertently access your confidential records.
If the application/service goes away, so do your records.
The Cloud can be useful, but use it for the right things.
Use the cloud for:
Collaboration on
Informal communication with other employees
Sharing content/publications with the public
Services that have been provided through a contract with the provider
Avoid the cloud for:
Long-term storage of any university records
Official communication with specific members of the public
Storage of or collaboration on any confidential records (student, health-related, personnel, etc.)
What do I do with Social Media?
Social media posts are records!
This means:
You are responsible for managing content as records
Your content reflects on both you and the University
Your content is potentially discoverable through Open Records Requests
Social media etiquette
If you have a personal social media account, clearly identify it as such.
Make sure your tone reflects positively on UWM!
Post information that is helpful and useful to your followers and fans.
Be responsive to feedback and inquiries.
Social media management
Most* social media records are covered by RRDA UWBC0002 (destroy when superseded).
*Certain kinds of social media content, such as direct messages, may have longer minimum retention.
Social Media is a record when a post:
is unique and unavailable elsewhere.
contains evidence of your policies/procedures.
is being used to conduct work.
contains information for which there is a business need.
Non-UWM posts on UWM sites (e.g. a Facebook Wall post) are also records and must be managed.
Do not post any information to social media that is protected by FERPA, HIPAA, or other state or federal statutes.
Periodically export or download your office's social media content for backup and archiving.
Both Facebook and Twitter now have native export functions in preferences.
Most people won't notice records management for day-to-day social media use.
Having said that, awareness of social media as a record will help you remember to use it responsibly.
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?”
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!
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
UWM social media guidelines
E-records at UWM
Email Management (so complex, it has its own prezi):
UWM Information Security
"Maintained" is key-- if your paper copy is designated official, the electronic copy may be discarded.
(at least once every 3-5 years)
Examples of Sustainable Formats
Text Documents
Images (raster)
Presentation Files
Less Good
PDF, docx, odt
doc, wpd
TIFF, png
PDF, odp, pptx
mp4, AVI, mov
JPEG, psd
wmv, rv
odt, csv, xlsx
mdb, fp7
Tip: if you use the heading styles in Office 2007 or higher, they are automatically searched during a tag search!
The archives is capturing some--not all-- social media accounts in its web collection.
(We will add your department's feed on request.)
The flip side: if you keep them *too* long, they take up space and leave you at risk.
Copies of official documents in particular should be deleted when no longer needed.
In cases of particularly sensitive information, you may want to reformat, or even destroy, your hard drive!
As of October 2012, we have been archiving the UWM website (and some affiliate sites)
If you're putting records on the UWM domain, they're being captured (in theory)!
The flip side of this: if a document has been captured, it can come off the web server if not immediately needed.
"Yeah, but is this really an ARCHIVAL record?"
Yes! Provides a great record of how the university presents itself in informal settings.
Library of Congress is archiving all tweets, but mostly for Big Data purposes--it's not really useful for individual accounts.
There are a couple of ways to archive social media-- more in a bit.
"Is Storify good enough for archiving social media?"
Storify *curates* social media, which is not quite the same thing.
If you can get it out of the online Storify environment (even by printing!) it will suffice for archival purposes.
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