What is Electronic Records Management?
Electronic Records Management is a means by which to systematize the format, content, and administration of data processed by electronic means. As with other Records Management mediums, Electronic Data Management increases the efficiency of record maintenance and disposition in accordance with the South Carolina Public Records Act of 1973, as amended in 1990.
What Constitutes an Electronic Record?
Electronic records, as defined by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, are records created, generated, sent, communicated, received or stored by electronic means. The term can refer to both analog (i.e., audio and videotapes) and digital formats. Electronic records include all documents, applications, databases, spreadsheets, and other materials made by any microcomputer, minicomputer or mainframe.
Why Electronic Records Management?
South Carolina law and federal rules mandate that public records must be treated as official records regardless of their format. Electronic records of state and local governments are subject to the same controls and legal requirements as paper documents and information on other media.
Due to the relative economy of electronic data storage, there is a tendency to keep volumes of unnecessary files indefinitely. Left unchecked, this practice ultimately creates an inefficient and costly system to maintain. Aside from expenditures on equipment and media, electronic data storage requires continuing maintenance and upkeep. Devising a records management plan that keeps only those records needed to meet agency and legal requirements is vital.
If properly managed, electronic records are also an effective vehicle for preserving historical information. Because an agency's records reflect the means by which it accomplishes its mission and goals, researchers, both internal and external to the agency, may want to reference them over time.