By Eira Tansey, Digital Archivist/Records Manager
Public-sector archivists, records managers, and other information professionals across the country share similar challenges: electronic records are getting more complex, public institution budgets are leaner (and sometimes cut to the bone), and citizen’s interest in access to public records grows. In Ohio, we are addressing some of these challenges through the Ohio Electronic Records Committee (OhioERC).
The OhioERC was established in 1998, and the membership is drawn from archivists, records managers, IT professionals, lawyers, and staff from Ohio’s public agencies, including state agencies, local/county governments, universities, and school districts. The Committee’s mission “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” (http://ohioerc.org/?page_id=330)
I was appointed to the OhioERC as a representative of the University of Cincinnati shortly after I began as UC’s Records Manager in 2013. My predecessor, Janice Schulz, was also an important member of OhioERC. The OhioERC meets four times a year at the Ohio History Center (which houses the state archives) in Columbus. At our meetings, we review the best practices documentation we are working on, identify new areas to work on, and discuss current records legislation or news happening across the state.
The OhioERC periodically hosts workshops for Ohio’s public employees. Past workshops have included the challenges of using social media in Ohio’s public institutions, and improving the procurement process for electronic records systems. The OhioERC also just released a simple spreadsheet tool to help institutions determine the total costs of converting paper records to an electronic format, and whether such efforts are worth the expenditure. One of the most common questions I receive when I teach records management workshops at UC is “should I scan my paper records?” Now we have a tool that helps staff make smart decisions about this expensive procedure.
To access the wealth of OhioERC resources, see the following links:
Total cost of paper to electronic conversion (see the “Scanning Feasibility Tool” download link at the bottom): http://ohioerc.org/?page_id=530
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