Records Management Guide to Electronic Records MU stacked logo in yellow and black -- links to main university of missouri at columbia web site MU Libraries -- links to home page of the University Libraries of the University of Missouri at Columbia University Archives -- links to home page of the University Archives of the University of Missouri at Columbia MU stacked logo in yellow and black -- links to main university of missouri at columbia web site University Archives -- links to home page of the University Archives of the University of Missouri at Columbia University of Missouri -- links to home page of the University of Missouri at Columbia spacerHeader graphic


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Note to Researchers: The following text is adapted from Electronic Records, a brochure published by the University of Missouri System Records Management Division, 1997.
Additional information is available here

What Are Electronic Records

Any University information created, retained, or maintained in any digitized configuration on a mainframe, PC, hard disk, tape, cassette, floppy disk or any other magnetic storage format electronic image (optical disk, CD-ROM) or other optical technology, or any other type of electronic technology.

Legality of Electronic Records

Missouri Statutes, Chapter 109, Section 109.120 specifically permits the use of electronic records for the retention of public records, This section specifies that records may be, "microphotographed, photostated, or transferred to other materials using photographic, video, or electronic processes and that such reproducing materials shall be of durable material and the devise used to reproduce the records shall be such as to accurately reproduce and perpetuate the original records in all details and shall be admissible in evidence in all courts or administrative agencies."

Electronic Records Accessibility

Departments must safeguard all electronic records to insure that individuals do not alter, erase or in any way change the content of the record for fraudulent purposes. In addition to safeguarding against deliberate tampering of records, departments must also guard against storage media deterioration and rapid technology changes that can leave electronic records inaccessible over a period of time because of hardware or software obsolescence. To eliminate the possibility of creating a situation where information can no longer be retrieved, departments must make provisions for future accessibility by:

Migrating all electronic records when there are major upgrades to the next generation of hardware or software; or

Migrating only current electronic records to new hardware or software, and converting records not migrated to "human readable form.''

All University electronic records that are considered vital records, archival records, or other information requiring long-term retention must be retained in a manner that will insure availability for as long as needed in future years.

Retention of Electronic Records

Electronic records serve the same functions as paper records, as such, they must be evaluated by Records Management for University retention requirements. Electronic records, like paper records, must be retained and disposed of as outlined in approved University Records Retention authorizations.

Electronic Records Backup

To insure the University always has available the necessary electronic records to meet its academic and administrative business requirements, University departments must backup all electronic records and databases at appropriate time periods and in an appropriate manner to insure that electronic records and databases are always protected from accidental or deliberate loss.

Electronic records and databases should be backed up on a regular basis. If frequent changes or additions are made to these records or database groups, backups should be made more frequently. THE MORE ACTIVITY, THE MORE FREQUENT THE BACKUP! Electronic records or databases that are seldom changed or updated need to be backed up only as major changes to the information occurs.

Different backup media (floppy diskettes, reels, cassettes, optical disks, etc.) retain information for different periods of time before deterioration of the information may begin. The longer the backup media will be retained without replacement of information, the more stable the backup media needs to be.

E-Mail Records

E-mail messages that fit the definition of a record (information created, executed or received by any University employee in connection with or transaction of University business) are to be retained and disposed of according to the retention authorization for that type of record.

Electronic Records Tips

Use the same filing structure and naming convention for the electronic files you store on your hard drive and floppy diskettes as you use for your paper file.

Transfer records that must be retained but are seldom used to diskettes or tapes to free up space on your hard drive for active records.

When storing records on diskettes or tapes, store logically related records with like retention periods together.

Perform backups on a regular basis, storing the backups at an off-site location. Keep two or three generations of backup.

Regularly run a virus-scanning program on your hard drive and ALWAYS scan diskettes for viruses before uploading information from the diskette to your hard drive.

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Published by: University Archives
Revised: 02 December 2005

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