"Public Records in e-Mail and Winning Strategies for Managing Them"
Amy Moran, WI Dept. Administration
Nancy Kunde, retired UW-Madison Records Officer - starting as adjunct professor for SJSU in Fall
- Open Records/Sunshine Law: "...all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs..."
- What needs to be retained? Public record = documentation of public decisions and transactions.
- Gets into area of "appraisal" - setting value of records
- Why save? Administrative, legal, financial, historic, and research reasons
- May only be disposed when authorized by an approved RDA (Records Disposition Authorization)
- Most public records now generated electronically
- Program area determines retention needs - IT has custodial responsibility
- Content determines record status:
- does it: interpret or execute policy? record important meetings? document accountability? facilitate department actions/processes? convey an action? support a transaction? support or convey a decision?
Email in the workplace:
- Continues to grow
- Attachments getting larger
- ~93% of all incoming email is unsolicited
- Most may not be public records - can be deleted right away
- In the past, every department had a "file room" managed by the secretary
- Now, we're all data managers / records custodians - everyone's business
- Focus on major functions of the department (communicating with faculty? students?)
- Email retention is the same as for hard copy (public records, FERPA, HIPAA, other privacy acts, etc.)
- May be an overall appropriate use policy for organization - differs from one to another
- Subject to open records requests
- Subject to discovery - federal rules changed recently
- California is the state pushing the bubble
- Legal world just starting to consider metadata (largely invisible)
- For authenticating, metadata are critical (to/from/subject/less visible parts)
- Harder to tell when electronic materials have been tempered with
Saving too little:
- violation of public trust/responsibility,
- not available when needed,
- opposition has copies that we don't,
Saving too much:
- Davy Jones' locker
- cost for storage/migration/retrieval/redaction - CD degradation after 5 years
- "Working in the cloud" - online repository = helps with migration problems
- "Smoking gun" - $2.2 million in damages awarded to women suing for sexual discrimination, when found "10 reasons why beer is better than women"
- Not everyone who receives an email needs to save - sender should always save if meets criteria; receiver should receive if it is actionable
- Delete: transitory material, unsolicited, personal, copies, captured in later messages - weekly
- Personal? Delete
- Work related? Reply or Retain or Delete
- Outgoing? Retain or Delete
- Retained? For current use, Archive, or Delete
- Appropriately named folders
- Either within or outside the client - not both; ex: Thunderbird allows setting # of days to keep
- File related records in the same folder
- Each year, close old folder and start new
- May be able to incorporate retention schedule into metadata
- Administrative Rule 12 - protect access to e-only records over retention life (retrieval/redaction/etc.)
- Xythos - pilot project to use; UW-Madison has records module
- Maximize use of email software "folders" - instead of using "inbox" as a catchall
- Online storage isn't appropriate for secure access
- "Near line"
- Offline - printing to paper, or print to PDF file (still manipulatable, except for PDFa)
Information Life Cycle:
- Designing > Record created > Use of record > Dormant > Long-term storage
- Must maintain accuracy, accessibility, retrievability, reliability throughout life cycle
- Conflicting life cycles of information vs. media
- Consult Wisconsin Department of Administration Public Records Board website for general records retention information - http://www.doa.state.wi.us/section.asp?linkid=127&locid=0
- UW System General Counsel - all that apply to university - http://www.uwsa.edu/gc-off/records
-- new! webcasts on records management
-- challenge: 40,000 UW System employees
- UW Archives & Records Management - http://archives.library.wisc.edu/records
- who can make requests? Answer: Anyone; federal open records/sunshine law was modelled on Wisconsin's - you don't have to say who you are, or why you want it - ex: WI State Journal requested salaries of all employees
- Another example: all the email from one of our deans - you can petition for this to be narrowed, but have to respond in timely manner. "All" might really be "all."
- does this affect non-UW System institutions? Answer: Yes, not just issue for biggest schools.
- other technologies? Answer: Some say "don't use IM for official communications" - but this may not be possible. Some gadgets allow synching, backup, etc. - don't want people walking around with records. Could summarize chat in email or print for offical record. Telephone conversations aren't normally recorded, but exceptions: calling in for unemployment benefits.
- Disintermediation - very few secretaries anymore; no one training and overseeing records management responsibility
- can we ask IT to be responsible? Answer: Backup isn't record retention - they have a role, but can't be the sole managers.