Category Archives: Electronic Records

Sunshine Week 2017: Text and Instant Messaging Guidelines Update

Visit our records management blog for an update on text and instant messaging guidance.

The G.S. 132 Files

The State Archives of North Carolina has released an update to its Best Practices for Electronic Communications Usage in North Carolina: Text and Instant Message document. Released in February 2017, this document is an update to the 2012 guidance document for state agencies using text and instant messages in the workplace, including employee responsibilities according to general statutes and records retention and disposition schedules.

IM and texting are methods of communication that can make communication fast and easy regardless of when or where the participants in a conversation are. They can be quick exchanges to arrange meeting for lunch, or they can be long exchanges about complex topics. But while IM and text messaging can make day-to-day communications easier, when they are used in the conducting of public business—and therefore the creation of public records—they can also make records management more complicated. GS 132 defines public records by content, not…

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Electronic Records Day 2015

October 10 (10/10) is Electronic Records Day!

Electronic Records Day 2015 logo

Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists, Electronic Records Day is intended to raise awareness among state government agencies, the general public, related professional organizations, and other stakeholders about the crucial role electronic records play in their world.

To learn more about what records managers can do to help preserve electronic records, see this post on the G.S.132 Files blog.

If you are on Twitter, you can follow the conversation about Electronic Records Day via the hashtag #ERecsDay.

The staff of the Digital Services Section has also created two Vine videos to remind everyone that digital preservation takes time and planning.

Making Digital Memories Persist

[This blog post was written by Kelly Eubank, head of the Digital Services Section.]

A whole generation has grown up with their lives recorded in digital form–photos, videos, class assignments, social interactions. For the digital files that are important to last, the creator must actively manage them. Digital files are vulnerable to loss from either human error (failure to be vigilant), natural disaster (hard drive failure or bitrot) or just plain neglect—unstable file formats, poor file naming, or failure to have multiple copies or move a file from a device before replacing that device.

People get new phones and new devices on average every two years. In order for digital files to persist, people can take some common, relatively painless actions. Firstly, because machines or devices may break, you should always keep multiple copies of files on different devices. If your phone has an option to back up your files to a cloud provider e.g. icloud or GoogleDrive, you should opt to do that. Additionally, we suggest you back up your device to a computer. As you run out of space on your device, you can transfer those to another machine that to delete them from your device. Second, not all file formats are equal. In the world of digital persistence, some file formats are more universally supported and can be read by different types of machines while others are closed and require a specific piece of hard ware and software to read them. For a list of recommended file formats, please consult our guidance document, “File Format Guidelines for Management and Long-Term Retention of Electronic Records.”

Last, when a machine or device saves a file, it typically either assigns it a name or will ask you to name it. If you don’t consciously name it something that will make sense to you now and in the future, you risk losing important files because you cannot remember the name of the file. This is particularly true with digital photos which inherit the name assigned to it by the SIM card. By renaming the file and organizing it according to function or event, you will better be able to discover it in the future. For more guidance on File Naming, please consult our guidance materials, “Best Practices for File Naming” or video tutorials on File Naming at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi_A4Ywn4VU&feature=youtu.be.

For more tips and tricks, we invite you to take a look at our Digital Preservation Best Practices and Guidelines website at: http://www.digitalpreservation.ncdcr.gov/

10/10 = Electronic Records Day

October the 10th is Electronic Records Day, a time to share information and tools related to the management, access, and preservation of digital records.  This year Lawrence Giffin wrote our Electronic Records Day post, while Francesca Perez and Jeremy Gibson created two Vine videos to remind everyone that threats to electronic records come in many forms.

Other handy links include:

  • Learn more about Electronic Records Day from the Council of State Archivists (CoSA).
  • North Carolina electronic records guidelines are available on the Digital Records page of our website.
  • A digital records FAQ is also available on our website.
  • See what other institutions have posted about 10/10 on Twitter by following the hashtag

Upcoming Events and News at the State Archives

As you may have seen from previous posts, next week is North Carolina Archives Week. The State Archives has several events planned including:

  • Oct. 20 – Triangle Home Movie Day
  • Oct. 22, from 10:00-3:00 – Civil War to Civil Rights in North Carolina; a display documents and photographs relating to the Archives Week theme, “Journeys to Justice: Civil Rights in North Carolina.” This free event will be held on Monday in the State Archives Search Room at 109 East Jones Street.
  • Oct. 22, from 10:30-11:30 – Armchair Historians: tools you use at home or on the go; archivist Ashley Yandle guides you through online tools and social media including the State Archives’ catalog and the North Carolina Digital Collections. This free event will be held On Monday, October 22,  in the auditorium at 109 East Jones Street.
  • Oct. 25 – Workshop: Digitizing and Remote Sharing of Family Materials

We’d love for you to join us as we take part in this week-long celebration of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our state.

In other news:

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has started a new blog called “This Day in North Carolina History” dedicated to a day-to-day history of the people and places of the Tar Heel state. Several recent blog posts there have included items of interest to readers of this blog, including:

In recent news from the Government Records and Electronic Records Branches, as recorded on the G.S. 132 Files blog:

Records Management Gets a New Blog

[This blog post comes from Becky McGee-Lankford of our Government Records Branch.]

It is my pleasure to announce that the official Records Management blog of the State Archives of North Carolina will go live Monday, July 16th. The “G.S. 132 Files: North Carolina Public Records Blog” is our newest form of communicating and interacting with you; the custodians of North Carolina’s public records. It will be available at: http://ncrecords.wordpress.com/. Through this blog, we intend to expand on our records management services by providing you all with an information portal for news, events, training opportunities, and discussion.

Every day, the analysts and archivists at the State Archives of North Carolina answer your questions, consult you for advice, and consider the trickier issues of public records law. Now you will have the opportunity to engage with us collectively. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but we want to hear from you! As always, please feel free to email or call me with any questions, input, or concerns you have.

Awards!

We’ve gotten a lot of good news in our inbox today.

First, the Society of American Archivists Preservation Publication Award subcommittee has selected the Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Partnership (GeoMAPP) publication, Best Practices for Archival Processing for Geospatial Datasets, to receive this year’s award. To quote their announcement:

“The subcommittee found Best Practices for Archival Processing for Geospatial Datasets to be a valuable contribution to the field of digital preservation for a common but complex type of electronic record.  Among the strengths of the publication is the clear organization according to the steps of a detailed geospatial archival processing workflow.   The inclusion of recommended metadata elements to capture, checklists such as the Quality Assurance Process Workflow Checklist, and especially the list of key questions to ask at each stage of the process should be particularly helpful to programs setting up their processes for the first time.  This publication comes at a time when many archivists are eager for practical guidance as they begin to collect more complex types of electronic records like geospatial data.  The GeoMAPP work provides practical explanation and advice for the archival management and preservation of geospatial data and can help advance the practice of digital preservation in this important field. “

The award will be given on August 10, 2012 in San Diego during the SAA Annual Meeting. Congratulations to Lisa Speaker and Kelly Eubank of our Electronic Records branch who worked so hard on GeoMAPP! It’s great to see their work rewarded with national praise.

We also heard that the National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Working Group selected the State Library and State Archives of North Carolina for an innovation award in recognition “for their work educating state employees and information professionals on digital preservation…” You can read the full announcement on the Library of Congress blog The Signal (and you should go read it because it is very good). Congratulations again to Kelly Eubank, our Electronic Records branch, and to all the staff of the State Library’s Digital Information Management Program (better known as DIMP).