The State and Local Records Commission rules regarding records management, production, retention, and disposal have undergone sweeping changes. These changes reflect an express intent to bring public bodies up to speed by accounting for new technologies for storing and managing records. The following provides a summary of some of the major changes. Public bodies should ensure their local records policies and procedures are up to date in light of these numerous changes.
The changes to the rules begin with a host of new, technology-focused definitions, including terms such as “analog records,” “born-digital records,” “digitization process,” “electronic micro-imaging,” and “meta data.” In an apparent recognition of the risks associated with destruction of records in the age of identity theft, the rules now include a new requirement to responsibly destroy records that are prohibited from disclosure to the public and contain personally identifiable information. Such records must be destroyed in a manner that prevents their reconstruction or reuse.
The rules also include two new sections titled Digital Reproduction and Management of Records. The first addresses how to maintain analog records leading up to the digitization process as well as technical standards for the creation of digital surrogates. The second focuses on how electronic records should be stored, maintained, and formatted.
Further, the rules contain a number of general changes, including distinguishing between public records, permanent records, and non-record material, as well as shortening the timeframe in which a public body must submit a disposal certificate to the commission, from 60 to 30 days.
A complete listing of the rules for the Local Records Commission (which governs public bodies in Cook County) can be found here while the rules for the State Records Commission (which governs public bodies in all other counties) can be found here.