1.) If our agency utilizes an optical image system, can I throw away the paper documents that were scanned and are stored on the system?
Records relating to any aspect of an optical imaging system may be disposed on only in accordance with approved retention and disposition schedules. All records relating to an imaging system, including input documents, additional paper or microfilm copies, and disk copies, must be scheduled in compliance with Management Directive 210.5: Records Management. The records requirement is a critical element in the planning of an optical imaging system. The length of the required retention period will determine the access, maintenance, and migration factors that must be considered while planning a system. G007.001 Data source records
2.) Will the State Records Center store security copies of disks I create as back-ups to my electronic records as they have for microfilm of my records?
No, the State Records Center does not take Electronic Records. The Commonwealth has a contract for off-site storage of backed-up media. See Information Technology Bulletin (ITBs) put out by the Office of Information Technology for the latest standard.
3.) Has the Archives accessioned any Electronic Records and how are they made available to the public?
Yes but, at the present time, the Archives has no available Electronic data for public view.
4.) How should electronic records of long-term value be cared for?
Presently, the best way to preserve electronic data is to store it in a human readable format, either paper or microfilm or both. Electronic records should be migrated as systems are up-dated. If retained on electronic medium, they should be copied every ten years.
5.) Are E-mail messages and attachments considered records?
Yes, if they meet the definition of a record: “Information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and that is created, received or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business or activity of the agency. The term includes a document, paper, letter, map,
book, tape, photograph, film or sound recording, information stored or maintained electronically, and a data-processed or image-processed ocument..”
6.) How long should I retain E-mail messages meeting the definition of a record?
E-mail messages are not a single record series. Retention periods for E-mail messages will vary depending upon the function and content of the individual message. E-mail messages and attachment that met the definition of records must meet the retention requirements for the same type of record (record series) as listed on an approved agency-specific or general records schedule. For example, if the E-mail message constitutes correspondence relating to a specific program activity, it would be retained for the same length of time as other records in that series.
7.) How should I retain E-mail for the full retention period?
E-mail messages and attachments that meet the definition of records may be maintained in an electronic or manual record-keeping system.
8.) Do you have suggestions concerning long-term or permanent preservation of E-mail?
If the records are of sufficient vital importance or have long-term (ten years or longer) or permanent value according to the retention schedule, it is highly recommended they be stored to a human-readable format (paper or microfilm). Otherwise, e-mail must be migrated as with other type of electronic record.