Report Now Available: Toward a Common Understanding: Insights on Inter-Agency State Electronic Records Transfer

Jan 27, 2020

Report Now Available:

Toward a Common Understanding: Insights on Inter-Agency State Electronic Records Transfer


The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) announced today that its newest report, Toward a Common Understanding, which documents the genesis, implementation, and findings of a research project targeted at shedding light on current practices associated with the inter-agency transfer of permanent electronic records, is now available for free download.

The report was undertaken by CoSA and sponsored by Preservica. Support and feedback from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) was instrumental to the success of the survey and report. Spurred by research undertaken in direct response to the call for action issued by CoSA in A National Risk: The State of State Electronic Records Report, 2017, this latest study aimed at identifying the backlog of electronic records appraised for permanent retention and transfer to the state archives -- but still within the custody of the records owning agency or in centrally managed systems.

“Our goal was to identify gaps in processes, guidance, and accountabilities impacting records transfer between state agencies and state archives,” said Michelle Gallinger, CoSA’s State Electronic Records Initiative coordinator. 

Added CoSA Executive Director Barbara Teague, “The CoSA board’s vision was to use research findings to further engage state and territorial government officials in recognizing and addressing the risks to state government electronic records as well as strengthen ongoing collaborative efforts with allied professional groups.”

Research was based on a survey probing activities and capabilities used by electronic records-producing agencies (with support from internal or external IT) to transfer custody of state government records appraised for permanent preservation to the state or territory archives for preservation and access. NASCIO assisted in refining lists of common records/storage systems and transfer protocols. The survey was targeted toward three key stakeholder groups:

  • Records Producers – agencies that produce electronic state government records that are appraised for permanent preservation and have an obligation to transfer the records to the archives
  •  IT Support – internal agency, central state IT, or third-party information management and technology support units that manage records or storage systems used by state agencies and/or the communications systems that must be used during inter-agency records transfers
  • Archives – agencies with mandates to appraise, describe, ingest, preserve and provide access to permanent archival state government records

“The survey identified significant gaps in understanding and coordination between the responding agencies regarding the requirements, timing and methods for transferring permanent electronic state government records,” said Lori Ashley, Preservica’s Industry Market Development Manager. Preservica supported the project's concept, data collection, and publication of the final report.

The report cites a number of opportunities for proactive communication and collaboration in the identification of records systems containing permanent records. Likewise, there are a variety of opportunities to support agencies and work with IT to develop more automated ways of transferring permanent records. Said Teague, “We hope state and territorial archives will share the report with their state agency leaders and CIOs as a way of starting or expanding the dialog about records preservation.”

Download Toward a Common Understanding: Insights on Inter-Agency State Electronic Records Transfer


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