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Contact the State Archives & Public Records Administration for more information or to schedule a workshop.

"Just What DO Agencies Need to Know About Keeping Records?"

This workshop offers an overview of state or local government agencies’ record keeping responsibilities under Rhode Island General Law, as well as information on records retention and disposition scheduling, legal records destruction, electronic records, and the roles of the Public Records Administration and the State Archives. Duration: Approximately 1 hour.

"Essentials of Records Retention Schedule Development"

This workshop is meant for agencies that want to learn more about what’s involved in the development of records retention schedules. Rhode Island General Law requires that state agencies have approved records retention schedules to dispose of records. Find out how to comply with these laws, become more efficient with your information, and save money! Duration: Approximately 1 hour.

"The Importance of Getting It Right the First Time: Applying Records Retention Schedules"

This workshop offers information to those agencies with approved records retention schedules. The workshop focuses on the process for making retention schedules work for agencies in an efficient and effective manner. Duration: Approximately 1 hour.

"Records Management: A Snapshot for Busy Managers"

This workshop is designed to provide senior-level state and local government managers with an overview of state records law as well as a look at current records and information management issues. Find out how the Public Records Administration and State Archives can help your staff to become knowledgeable, effective, and cost-efficient managers of your agency's records. Duration: Approximately 45 minutes.

“Identifying, Organizing, and Preserving Electronic Records: An Introduction”

State agencies are creating and maintaining an increasing volume of records in electronic format. Proper management of these records is essential to ensuring that they will remain reliable and accessible over time. Improper records management can lead to legal liability, lost business information resources, and lost state history.

This workshop provides an overview of relevant statutory requirements, principles, and practices for actively managing electronic records. The workshop begins with a discussion of what “record” and “electronic record” mean in Rhode Island state law, and then briefly reviews the records management challenges and benefits presented by electronic information technology. The focus then shifts to what responsibilities state law entails with respect to employee creation of electronic records, the management of electronic mail, proper electronic records storage, and compliant retention and destruction of electronic records. Duration: Approximately 45 minutes.

Intended Audience: This workshop is intended for agency administrative, supervisory, and line staff using computers to carry out their agency’s responsibilities.

“Electronic Records: Characteristics, Management, and Responsibilities”

Under RI General Law, every state agency is required to “establish and maintain … a program for the economical and efficient management of public records” (RIGL § 38-3-7), to make and preserve records “containing adequate and proper documentation” of its organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions, and also to “furnish the information necessary to protect the legal rights of the government and of the persons directly affected by agency's activities…” (RIGL § 42-8.1-17).

This two-part workshop addresses these requirements with respect to agencies’ electronic records. The first half of the workshop broadly highlights the status of electronic records in state and federal law, reviews the unique challenges and benefits of electronic records, describes the characteristics of electronic records, the meaning and importance of “metadata” and trustworthy information systems. The second half of the workshop focuses on specific technologies: email, websites, cloud computing services, and records digitization, as well as issues related to the preservation and destruction of electronic records. Duration: Approximately two hours.

Intended Audience: This workshop may be of special interest to agency IT staff, legal counsel, and program managers.

“Managing Electronic Mail”

At all levels of state and local government, electronic mail systems have become indispensable tools for the transaction of public business. It is important for government agencies to recognize that when they use email to conduct public business they are creating and receiving public records. Under Rhode Island General Law, state and local government agencies bear certain responsibilities for the management of public records, including email. This workshop is designed to provide advice on meeting those obligations. It does this by covering topics that address the legal and technical ‘why and how’ of electronic mail management. Included are discussions of the following questions.

  • What exactly is email?
  • How do you know when email is a public record?
  • What does the law require with respect to the management of email when it is a public record?
  • What kinds of email policies and measures can help your agency to meet the requirements of the law, and also your agency's business needs?
  • Who in your agency is responsible for ensuring the legally compliant management and retention of its email records?
  • What is metadata, and why is it important for electronic mail management?
  • How can your agency meet the challenges of preserving the integrity of electronic mail that requires retention beyond the life of the technology used to create it?

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes.