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Records Program

Electronic Records

General Statement

In today's university environment, employees create and maintain an increasing portion of their records using computers. Electronic records must be managed as well as traditional records to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and to preserve institutional history. In fact, Kentucky's definition of a public record includes any possible media: "all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, disks, diskettes, recordings and other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of or retained by a public agency" (KRS 171.410 [1]).  Employees must be aware that Kentucky’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (KRS 369. 101-120) pertains to all electronic records. 

The management of electronic records follows many of the same principles used to manage traditional records. As with all university records, the first step is applying the State University Model Records Retention Schedule. The Model Schedule lists types of records and their appropriate retention period. Retention periods listed in the Model Schedule apply to records regardless of their medium.

Examples of common electronic records:

  • electronic mail
  • databases
  • websites

In this rapidly evolving electronic age, there also exists records whose creation and existence cannot be separated from the media in which they were created. For example, such records would be a system database or computer operations file. Record series under the sector entitled Electronic and Related Records pertain to these type of electronic and related records (record series U2100s).

The University Archives and Records Program recognizes that electronic records present special challenges, and program staff will work with University units to help them apply the Model Schedule to their electronic records. Once the proper retention periods have been determined, UK's Computing Center will assist units by retaining, migrating, or destroying data as instructed.

For assistance with electronic records, call (859) 257-5257.

Electronic Mail

Work-related e-mail is a university record, and must be treated as either record series U0100 or U0101. Each e-mail user must take responsibility for sorting out personal messages from work-related messages and retaining university records as directed in the Model Schedule. E-mail users should arrange their e-mail folders to simplify this process:

  1. personal folders for non-work-related messages for items covered by U0123
  2. non-permanent work folders for items covered by U0101
  3. permanent work folders for items covered by U0100

E-mail may also be printed and retained as a paper record. Be sure that print-outs retain complete header information (to, from, date, subject). E-mail print-outs may be filed with other paper correspondence or separately. If messages have been sent using a distribution list (email group name), the sender must maintain a record of the distribution list for as long as the message is retained.

When e-mail is used as a transport mechanism for other record types, the record being transported must be administered according to the Model Schedule (as noted above, the media of the record does not affect its retention).

Please see the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) Understanding Records Management: E-Mail Records for more information concerning the management of e-mail records.

Websites

Websites are also an electronic records concern, particularly as more and more records are being created and "published" on-line via the World Wide Web (WWW). Many of these records, which include policy and regulations are not produced in paper format or are updated and/or edited on a regular basis. Still, these records need to be retained according to the state's records retention policies.

For information on website record-keeping, see the following Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives: Websites.

Automated Record System (SAP)

Those responsible for entering and maintaining the data in these systems are responsible for managing that data in accordance with the Model Schedule. Records, regardless of their media or format, must be accessible for the duration of the retention period stated in the Model Schedule.

In addition to meeting the retention requirements stipulated by the Model Schedule, each automated record system, including imaging systems, must be documented to standards set by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Call (859) 257-5257 for complete information.

Imaging

The issue of optical imaging systems is in Reformatting.

WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. The University does not review, control, or take responsibility for the contents of those sites.