Electronic Records: Defensible Disposition

Washington State Archives
Defensible Disposition:
Electronic Records Management
Presented by:
Scott Sackett
Electronic Records Management Consultant,
Eastern Washington
May 24, 2012
Electronic Records Management:
The Wild West?
• Volume of records created and received
• Number of employees creating and receiving
• Variety of formats/platforms: emails, texts,
websites, social media…
• …Less likelihood that electronic records will be
treated as “records” in the way that paper is
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
What is a Public Record?
• For the purposes of retention and destruction,
two criteria:
1. Made or received in connection with the
transaction of public business (Chapter 40.14
2. Regardless of format
• For public disclosure, refer to chapter 42.56
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
When Can Records Be Destroyed?
• Per chapter 40.14 RCW, no public records shall
be destroyed until approved for destruction by
the Local Records Committee.
• Per chapter 434-630 WAC, the Local Records
Committee grants disposition authority for
public records in the form of records retention
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
Why Not Keep Everything?
Digital storage may seem cheap, but:
• Records remain subject to public records
requests, litigation, discovery
• Harder to find what you need (the Google effect)
• Ongoing data migration costs; need for
monitoring of system/application/version
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
Agency Goal:
Defensible Disposition
• Bring consistency to the records management
(RM) and disposition process for all records
• Be able to demonstrate that records are lawfully
and systematically destroyed/transferred
– Paper
– Born-digital
– Scanned records
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
First Key: Development of
RM Policies/Procedures
• Clarity for employees – RM roles and
• Basis for training, compliance checks
• Crucial evidence that agency is aware of and
following retention requirements on ongoing
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Second Key: Collaboration Between
IT, RM and Legal
• Silo effect – separate mandates = divergent
understandings of the problem/solution
• Policy/procedure development must involve all
three groups
• Cross-training is GOLD
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
Third Key: Building on What
You Have
• Retention schedules already exist
• Focus on end users of system, creators of
• Mirror your business workflow, rather than
creating a new business process
• Mirror successful paper RM filing structures
throughout electronic environment
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
Other Strategies and Trends
• Implementation - Pilot project in one
office/department (usually Finance)
• Automate as much as possible – de-duplication,
• …But auto-delete and auto-classification are
blunt instruments
Washington State Archives Documenting Democracy
Defensible Disposition and
Scanned Records
Agencies wishing to scan paper records and then
destroy them before their required retention has
been met must meet or exceed State Archives
requirements as set forth in the document
Requirements for the Destruction of NonArchival Paper Records After Imaging.
You Are Not Alone
For advice and assistance:
[email protected]
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Thank You!
Washington State Archives:
Partners in preservation and access.

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