SAA/NAGARA/COSA 2018 Recap: Session 305

Making Policy Work: Creating and Implementing Information Guidance in the Age of Open Government

Christopher Magee from NARA kicked off the session by discussing the importance of policies: they can help you improve consistency across your organization. When creating policies, be sure to include as many users as possible and be transparent about your work and overall purpose. Be sure to consider immediate as well as long-term business needs.

Gail Snow from King County Records and Archives in Seattle, Washington spoke on promoting transparency during the policy creation and implementation process. King County is a large and complex local government where it is extremely difficult to get any policy adopted across the entire county. Some of the challenges include having policies which technically only apply to the executive branch of government as well as providing policy guidance to employees who are not stationed at a traditional desk. One solution that worked for them involved prioritizing the overall records management policy, an on-boarding policy, and an exiting/transferring employee policy, as these were common functions throughout the entire county. They also leveraged services provided by the RM program to get buy-in from other government branches and elected officials. In addition, they used the county’s Public Records Committee to sponsor policies. To increase transparency and accountability, they have pushed all RM policies to the web.

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SAA/NAGARA/COSA 2018 Recap: Session 201

Email Archiving Comes of Age

This session was composed of lightning talks about various email archiving projects, including the first NHPRC electronic records case studies focused on email archiving.

Chris Prom from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported on the CLIR Report on Technical Approach on Email Archiving (CLIR 175). The report is available here. The purpose of the report is to document how archivists are currently preserving email as well as to frame email preservation in terms of what technology is available and how it can be used. The report includes topics such as why email matters, technical definitions, lifecycle models, tool workflows, as well as an agenda for email archiving moving forward.

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Revising a Retention Schedule: Lessons Learned

This spring, Michigan State University completed the first phase of a multi-year records retention schedule project by revising the Human Resources Records Retention Schedule. The new schedule, which is the first major revision since 1990, aligns with regulations and best practices, is easier to read, and clearly identifies a number of active and legacy business systems as well as offices of record for each record series.

The first phase of the project took over two years to complete and involved significant support from a number of critical stakeholders, including Human Resources, Academic Human Resources, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, and General Counsel. Before jumping into the next phase of the project (Fiscal Records, here I come!), I wanted to reflect on some lessons learned regarding retention schedule revisions. Continue reading “Revising a Retention Schedule: Lessons Learned”

SAA Session 409: Working Together to Manage Digital Records: A Congressional Archives Perspective

At this session, panelists discussed the transfer and preservation of digital congressional archives, providing perspectives from a variety of records professionals who work with congressional archives in both a records management and archival capacity.

Elizabeth Butler, Deputy Archivist for the U.S. Senate Historical Office, described the basic functions of the Senate Historical Office and focused on their interest in capturing electronic records. The Senate Historical Office is working on developing guidance for Senator’s offices in order to better assist them with managing their electronic documentation. Elizabeth sees a significant need for stronger collaboration with IT Administration, particularly with the increase in born-digital records. Continue reading “SAA Session 409: Working Together to Manage Digital Records: A Congressional Archives Perspective”

Documenting Records Destruction in a Decentralized World

Last year, our university implemented a new procedure for documenting in-office records destruction. As the one year benchmark approaches, I have been thinking about our organizational approach to documenting records destruction, especially in a decentralized environment.

Procedures for documenting records destruction may depend on state laws, regulations, and institutional polices. For some organizations, declaring that employees are following records policies, including those requiring records destruction, may be enough to adequately “document” the destruction of records.  Continue reading “Documenting Records Destruction in a Decentralized World”

“We have a RM program?”: Reaching Out to Users

Records management programs can provide great value to units and offices, assisting them with identifying, storing, and organizing their documents. However, to use these services, users have to be aware of them, and records management awareness­­–or lack thereof– can be a major stumbling block for a program.

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Location, Location, Location: Where Does Your RM Program Live?

A question was posted recently to a college and university listserv: Where does your records management program report? What is your program’s administrative location? While many of the responses indicated that records management programs were still located in university archives, as would be expected in a college and university environment, some programs now report to general counsel, information technology, and business services units.

The variety of responses raised this question for me: what is the “best” place to manage your records program and develop relationships with stakeholders? Where can your records management program grow, thrive, and be the most effective for your organization?

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