Electronic Document Imaging Systems Guidelines - Part Three
The records retention requirement, the period of time the documents must be stored and maintained accessible, is a critical element in the planning of an imaging system. The length of that retention period will determine in part the access, maintenance, and migration activities that must be factored as part of the imaging system's ongoing costs. Those costs will continue to accrue for as long as the documents must be retained.
Georgia's government agencies, state and local, are required by law to have a State Records Committee approved records retention schedule (records life-cycle plan) for each records series (file group) created, maintained, or received (See the "Georgia Records Act": O.C.G.A. 50 - 18 - 90 et. seq.).
Many, if not most, agency programs considering the application of imaging technology will already have approved records retention schedules for the program records. Most of these schedules, however, will have been approved for the program's paper-based records series; the aggregation of documents to be stored in an imaging system likely will not correspond to the file groups (records series) on which the existing retention schedule was based.
Therefore it is recommended that a re-evaluation of the retention requirements be done as part of the required feasibility study for an imaging system.
The Georgia Records Act mandates that the records retention schedule shall be determined by the values the information in the records has for administrative, legal, fiscal, and historical purposes. To develop a retention schedule, the agency will analyze the values of the information in the records for the following purposes:
The interests of the program, the agency overall, the state, and the public will be considered in this analysis:
Once the agency has determined the retention values of the records/documents file group(s), the findings together with the agency's proposed records retention schedule (life-cycle plan) will be submitted to the State Records Committee, through the Georgia Archives.
The Committee will then review, approve, disapprove, modify, or amend the proposed records retention schedule. The agency head has the right to appeal the decisions of the Committee.
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