State Initiatives in Electronic Records Management
By Karla Black - Office of the Governor
David Blocher - Office of Information Technology
Donna Grant - Office of Secretary of State
Increasingly state records are generated, used and stored in electronic form, and our paper-oriented records management systems and procedures have not kept up with this shift in technology. Managing these digital records in a way that meets daily business needs, Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests and statutory requirements for records retention and archiving, has become an increasing challenge for state agencies and employees. The governor, secretary of state and attorney general have recognized these challenges and the need to address electronic records management in state government.
An executive-level steering committee consisting of Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Chief Legal Counsel to the Governor, Tom Federle, Attorney General Steven Rowe, State Archivist Jim Henderson, and Chief Information Officer Richard Thompson formed in January 2006, to explore an enterprise response to these business challenges. The committee appointed an Electronic Records Information Management (eRIM) Core Team to develop recommendations for both short and long term improvements to the state’s records management capabilities. That team has since commissioned two sub-committees, a Records Training Team and an E-mail Management Team.
The Records Training Team is presently developing an online training for state employees that will focus on identifying and retaining appropriate government records including email. An additional training may be necessary in the future to explain how to manage email at the desktop by using existing technology.
The Email Management Team is working to procure an enterprise email management system that it hopes will enable the state to capture, store, manage and retrieve appropriate email records according to defined policies and rules. This capability will ensure that government email records are managed and retained for the appropriate lengths of time and are either destroyed or permanently archived in accordance with state retention policies. The Team plans to issue an RFP this summer and implement a solution in early 2007.
The eRIM Core Team has recently issued a Request for Information for the purpose of gathering information to help prepare recommendations for a strategic plan to address digital archives and electronic records management. This plan will ultimately be used to define a series of projects for future development and to obtain funding requirements. A digital archive will be used by the State Archives to store those records maintained in perpetuity and to make them available in the future to authorized parties. Records management systems will improve the workflow of state workers, ensure that government records are stored and managed in a secure and safe environment, ensure compliance with state statutes and retention policies and provide a mechanism for delivering digital records to the State Archives when appropriate.
In June, the Email Management Team and the Core Team will be meeting with companies that responded to the Request for Information to learn more about the state of the art in electronic records management. Recent queries to other states indicate that Maine is already among the leaders in advancing this initiative.