The Ohio Electronic Records Committee identifies best practices and develops resources concerning the creation, maintenance, long-term preservation, and access to the electronic records of Ohio’s public entities. The Committee advocates for implementation of, and educates its constituencies regarding, these best practices. Approved 6/6/2011
Electronic records present unique challenges for archivists and records managers. As society continues to shift from traditional methods of recordkeeping to electronic recordkeeping, the issues surrounding the management of electronic records become more significant. Although the nature of electronic records is constantly evolving, these records are being produced at an ever- increasing rate. As these records multiply, the need for leadership and policy becomes more urgent.
The goal of the Ohio Electronic Records Committee (OhioERC) is to draft guidelines for the creation, maintenance, long term preservation of and access to electronic records created by Ohio’s state government.
One of the primary concerns of the OhioERC is to ensure that its work results in a practical, implementable policy for agency electronic records in Ohio. Thus, this web site has been created to inform, as well as update, the public about the Electronic Records Committee and its work.
Given this need, in 1998 the State Archives under the leadership of Charlie Arp, in conjunction with the former Office of Policy and Planning (OPP), formed the Ohio Electronic Records Committee (OhioERC). OPP was a part of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Computer Services Division. As part of its mission, OPP developed statewide policies, policy bulletins, and operating guidelines on the appropriate use of information systems.
The goal of the OhioERC was to draft policy for the creation, maintenance, long term preservation of and access to electronic records created by Ohio’s state and local government. Considering the importance of this policy, committee members were drawn from a variety of backgrounds, academic libraries, historical societies, state agencies, and universities. It is believed that this diverse membership offered a wide range of experience, perspective and outlook, which best served the committee and the resulting guidelines.
Initially, the State Archives drafted a proposed Electronic Records Policy, based largely on the Policy on Electronic Recordkeeping from the Archives Authority of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state. The original committee was convened three times: 2 June 1998, 16 June 1998, and 30 June 1998, to review, discuss and revise this draft policy. In addition an electronic discussion list was created for non-committee members to discuss the policy points.
Two technical focus groups were conducted 16 July and 22 July 1998. These were open meetings, but technical personnel were particularly welcome and invited to provide input on the technical aspects of implementing the proposed policy. Representatives from state agencies included:
- 16 July 1998
- Daniel Beck and Jim Westlake, Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
- Greg Mountz and David Crecelius, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
- Susan Sloan, Ohio Tuition Trust Authority
- Melissa Winesburg, Office of Criminal Justice
- 22 July 1998
- Pete Bates, Ohio State Library
- Charlie Corbato, Board of Regents
- Daisy Crockron, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
- Cynthia Hall and Connie Ostrove, Ohio Department of Health
- Camille Maurer, Data Processing, Ohio Historical Society
- Krish Srivastava, Sun Microsystems
- Tony Yankus, (LIS) Legislative Information Services
Some of the main points of the discussion were:
- They are not overly concerned with storage space, nor do they perceive the need to weed through materials to preserve a smaller amount of records. They do not have problems with saving marginal records to ensure that all records are preserved.
- They would prefer to schedule databases in their entirety. Our previous committee discussions had been heading towards not preserving whole databases. We had been thinking that we should identify transactional records within databases and seek to isolate and preserve only those elements. The focus group participants pointed out what the public really needs is access to the raw data in its entirety. The public wants to check on the validity of those reports and conclusions. The way to do that would be to have access to all the information which went into forming those conclusions.
- They are eager to resolve email issues and work on some viable solutions.
- Most participants seemed very interested in the status of the policy and asked to be kept informed on the status of the policy and to be subscribed to the OhioERC discussion list.
In November 1998, the proposed policy was submitted to the Office of Policy and Planning for review, endorsement and possible implementation. The draft policy was accepted and became policy OPP-030 effective May 1, 1999. This policy has been subsequently superseded as of 21 January 2005 by policy ITP-E.30.
The Ongoing Work…
This high-level policy was only the first step toward an integrated solution. In the course of the OhioERC’s work, the need for more guidance on specific issues and technologies became increasingly self-evident. Thus, it was proposed to continue the work of the Electronic Records Committee, primarily through subcommittees and/or working groups developed to address specific electronic records issues that are common not only to state agencies, but also local government. The OhioERC is now comprised of members from libraries, archives, historical societies, state agencies, local government, elected officials and higher education.
Subcommittees have been created to consider issues in-depth and develop technical guidelines that help enable agencies to implement an electronic records policy. The initial subcommittees first met in early 1999 and reported back at the 5 May 1999 meeting of the OhioERC.The resultant guidelines developed over the past decade include:Databases as Public Records, Digital Document Imaging,Electronic Records Management , Managing e-Mail, Managing Web Content, Ohio Trustworthy Information Systems Handbook’ and our most recently adopted Hybrid Microfilm guidelines in September 2009.
We currently have a subcommittee addressing the recordkeeping issues related to social networking tools and subcommittees reviewing existing guidelines for databases, electronic record management, and web content management. To learn more about the subcommittees, visit the Committees|OhioERC Committees page.
Additional information about the history of the OhioERC can be found in:
- Society of Ohio Archivists Newsletters: