Archived Newsletters: April 2007
Welcome to the April edition of the New York State Archives RMO newsletter! We’ve got a lot to cover this month.
Many assume they will never experience a disaster, so they never develop a strategy for preventing or responding to one. Even if they do have a formal disaster response plan, chances are it does not address the need to protect one of their most valuable assets: their records. A strong disaster management plan will help you avoid or manage events that can threaten, damage, or destroy your records. For more information about creating a disaster management plan, please check out our publication on the Archives website at http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/nysaservices/ns_mgr_pub82.shtml or contact Jennifer O'Neill at 473-2112 or email@example.com
Record Center News
We are very happy to announce that the asbestos abatement project at the state records center is expected to be completed the middle of this month. This will allow the records center to start destroying an estimated 35,000 boxes that came due over the past sixteen months. Assistant manager David Lovell (457-3172, firstname.lastname@example.org) will begin contacting agencies soon to resume scheduling the transfer of records into storage. Each agency will be given the opportunity to store some of their records as we work to catch up on a backlog of over 10,000 boxes. We have also begun to address thousands of routine reference requests that have had to wait while the warehouse was not accessible. If you know of requests for records that your agency no longer needs, please contact Larry Hubert at 457-8010 or email@example.com.
The lease for the satellite records center at Riverview Center took longer to finalize than expected. The landlord has begun preparing the space, by constructing walls, extending ductwork, improving lighting, painting and cleaning. This will enable us to have shelving added the end of May and to begin storing boxes in June.
The State Education Department is working with the Office of General Services to develop plans for an addition to the records center. OGS expects that an addition could be build in the next three years. This will enable the records center to meet your records storage needs for years to come. If you have storage needs that you have not informed us of because of our limited capacity, please contact manager John Welter (457-4801, firstname.lastname@example.org) because that information is needed now, during the planning phase. We look forward to renewing full operation and to expanding our services to you in the future.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil action procedures in the United States district courts. The FRCP are promulgated by the United States Supreme Court. States make their own procedural rules that apply in their own courts, but most states have adopted rules that are based on the FRCP. In April 2006, the Court revised those rules, and the new rules went into effect in December 2006.
The rules simply state that e-mails and other e-records are subject to the same evidentiary requirements in the event of litigation as are paper-based records. There is no requirement that governments must retain all e-mail messages, only that they be managed according to sound records management principles. This means the development of standardized policies and procedures, as well as the maintenance of recordkeeping systems that can preserve the data for the length of time required by law and provide that data quickly upon demand.
These rules only kick in when legal action is initiated or when there is a reasonable anticipation of litigation. The rules define the process by which electronic records should be made discoverable in the event of litigation, but they also seek to avoid putting undue burdens and expense on the party that maintains those records. Hence, there are no requirements that an institution must adopt certain measures or systems for the preservation of data on the off-chance that there may be legal action. Indeed, the rules seem to say that electronic records that are inaccessible (for instance, records that would require the purchase of expensive software to read, or that have been deleted), are exempt from many discovery requirements. Agencies do not need to worry about deleted e-mails as long as they were deleted “in good faith” (i.e. according to a schedule or to standard procedure) and as long as no litigation was pending. In other words, if an agency is already regarding electronic records and e-mails to be records and managing them as records (which is what the State Archives has been advising State agencies), then the revised FRCP provisions have no meaningful impact on current procedures.
For more information, refer to the recent Osterman Research White Paper, “The Impact of the New FRCP Amendments on Your Business,” available at http://www.prinsite.com/prinsite/DocLib/389/WebFiles/FRCP%20White%20Paper%20-%20Smarsh.pdf
Review of the General Schedule
The State Archives invites agency comments on a draft version of a revised General Retention and Disposition Schedule for New York State Government Records. After review of your comments and any needed revisions, the Archives will issue the revised State General Schedule by this summer. This new version will replace the 2002 edition now in use.
The draft version (which is not yet approved for agency use) is being posted to the State Archives website (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/nysaservices/ns_mgr_pub_general.pdf ) as a PDF file. A Microsoft Word version of the draft Schedule can be obtained by contacting Bob McDonnell at email@example.com or by calling him at 518-473-8498. Please note that we are requesting your comments on the draft schedule by May 11. Comments should be directed to Bob McDonnell at the above e-mail address, by phone, or by sending them to him at the State Archives, Room 9A34 CEC, Albany, NY 12230.
For your convenience, items that have been revised since the 2002 edition or are now being added are preceded by an asterisk (*). The final State General Schedule will also include introductory material as well as an index. Thank you in advance for your comments.
Upcoming Training Opportunities
Managing Electronic Records (LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER!)
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Managing E-Mail Effectively
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Preservation of Electronic Records
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
That’s it for this month. Remember that we want to hear from you! State Agency Services is here to help make your job easier by answering questions, doing site visits, and providing training.
Have a fantastic April!