A Blog Post By Jessica Hills
The mission of the Department of Archives and History is to preserve the documentary and cultural heritage of the state of South Carolina. An important avenue to accomplish this is through records management. Our Records Analysts work with state agencies and local governments to ensure all government entities are maintaining their records properly, and in accordance with state law. The Department of Archives and History offers training on-demand to any state agencies or local governments that have questions, but, once a year, records analysts host an annual training session at the Archives.
In recent years, the focus of this annual training has been on electronic records and the ways electronic records change records management procedures. In celebration of National Electronic Records Day, the Records Management Division staff hosted a morning of training on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018. The purpose of the training session, geared toward state agencies, and state colleges and universities, was to aid records management employees from across the state in gaining an understanding of the principles of public records management.
The first presentation was entitled: “Records Management and You” and was presented by Erin Lowry, State Records Analyst. This session focused on records management best practices, including records inventory, retention schedules, storage, and disposition, as well as the services offered by the Archives to assist state agencies with records management concerns. It featured hands-on activities, including actual examples of state agency public records and a sample records inventory process, to provide a “real-world” practice of records management.
The second presentation was entitled: “Electronic Records Retention”. Electronic Records Analyst, Jessica Hills, focused on the issues surrounding records that are maintained and produced electronically. These issues include the strengths and considerations of imaging paper records, and the best methods for managing e-records. There was special focus on e-mail and social media management. E-mail and social media are vital tools for government; Ms. Hills explained how everyday records management procedures apply to these ballooning platforms. There was also an emphasis on the transfer of permanent electronic records to the Archives. The South Carolina Electronic Records Archive (SCERA) is designed to collect, house, and permanently preserve the permanently valuable electronic records produced during the normal operations of state government.
The third presentation was entitled “Electronic Records and Disaster Planning”. In this presentation, Electronic Records Archivist, Morgan Jones-King, offered vital information on how to protect electronic records. This session discussed important strategies to prepare for, and prevent, disaster to your electronic records. For the final presentation, the Archives invited representatives from the South Carolina State Library to briefly explain their responsibilities to acquire state publications and make them available to the public. This presentation also explained how their role differs from the Archives, and the purpose of the State Library’s South Carolina documents collection. The speakers also reviewed how publications, both physical and electronic, are collected and stored, and how agencies can ensure their publications are provided to the State Library.
The 68 attendees brought with them plenty of good ideas and questions for an interesting discussion. The over-arching goal of this training was to explain how the Archives is equipped to help state agencies properly manage their records. Proper records management preserves agency resources, while preserving the documentary heritage of South Carolina.