Working with Digital/Electronic Records
Records & Archives records retention policies apply to all official records generated by the University regardless of the media used (paper, digital, or any other media).
That said, there are many important aspects to consider when first working with digital records so that records retention policies can be properly implemented and observed.
The following two categories of digital records require additional information because while similar in nature, they have different requirements:
- Converting an official paper record to an official digital scanned record
- Creating an official digital record from the outset (i.e. born digital)
Converting Paper Records to Digital
To set up a system to convert official paper records (official physical record copies) to official digital scanned records (official digital record copies), departments are required to submit an application that provides details about the records to be converted, the anticipated quality of the scans, the scan audit plan, etc. Download the application to your computer so it can be filled out electronically.
Upon approval by the State Library, the approved application will remain in effect for a period of five years. Once the approval period has elapsed, departments are required to submit a new application if they wish to continue with their document conversion project.
- Contact Records & Archives for assistance with filling out this application, for more information about the application process, the value of scanning versus not scanning, the records retention implications, or any other related questions.
- Completed Document Imaging of Public Records requests should be sent to FNSV-RECORDS-ARCHIVES@arizona.edu for review and University approval. Records & Archives will then forward the application to the State on behalf of the department for final approval. Once approved, the signed application will be returned to the department so the digital conversion process may take place.
- Once the digital scan becomes the official digital record copy, the records retention policy for that record type will apply to the official scanned copy, and the paper copy will assume the role of being a convenience copy with its own modified records retention policy.
- Note: The State Library determines the minimum standards for scanning textual documents. At the present time, records deemed "permanent" can only be converted to digital scans for access purposes and not for replacement purposes.
Creating Outright Digital Records
To set up a system to create official digital records from the outset (i.e. born digital), departments are free to set up their systems in any manner deemed suitable to their digital records needs and requirements (no application required). However, Records & Archives, in conjunction with the State Library, strongly recommends that records retention policies are considered and incorporated into their system designs so that system users are able to apply records retention policies to their official digital records with relative ease. See the system design considerations provided by the State Library for more information.