Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 5, 2004
1:30 p.m.
Governor's Residence, Lower Level

  1. Archiving

    There was a long discussion on archiving. Web sites are covered under Schedule 124 and thus may require saving. However, the section124-1-44 is a general guideline. Ultimately, the records contained in web sites should be in an agency's specific retention schedule and/or Schedule 124 State Agencies General Records. The records officer should sit down with the webmaster, and someone from the Records Management Division if needed, to look at the web site, and determine what will need to be added to the retention schedule, based on the agency's requirements. Each Agency should develop their own Policy on records retention responsibility, but it is most often the records officers task to ensure that the retention rules are followed. While a webmaster may assist them, in terms of web site retention, it is not recommended that the webmaster determine what is, and is not, a Record.

    A major consideration is "what is a Record?" For many web sites, the majority of information on the site is already available in another form. For example: pamphlets, newsletters, minutes, and regulations are available in print form. The print form is the official Record, not the web site. A web page would be the Record only if the item did not exist elsewhere, residing solely on the web page. If that were the case, that page would need to be saved to a durable medium, such as CD, paper or microfilm , etc. for the time required for retention. Standard retention of web items is five years, but this can be changed on an agency's specific retention schedule. The durable medium should be kept off site, for safety reasons.

    After the retention period is over, one of two things will happen. If the Records are on the retention schedule, then it will already be known whether the Records must be saved permanently or not. If they must be saved, they will need to be put onto paper or microfilm, and sent to the State Archivist. If they do not need to be saved, the Records may be destroyed.

    The other thing that may happen is that an item is not on the retention schedule. In that case, the durable medium would be sent to the State Archivist. The Archivist would review the contents to determine whether the Record needs to be saved permanently in the Archives. The Archivist decides whether the Record has an enduring cultural value; is evidence of activities, procedures, and activities of an agency; or if the Record preserves the institutional memory of the agency. Essentially, the Archivist decides whether the Record is of enduring historical value.

    If the Archivist determines that the web pages have no historical value, the durable medium is returned to the agency for disposal. If the Archivist decides that particular web pages are to be saved, the durable medium is sent back to the agency and it is the agency's responsibility to transfer it to a permanent medium. At this time, the Archivist accepts only paper and microfilm as permanent mediums. Audio and visual mediums (such as movie footage) will be brought into the Archive in their original form, under such rules set forth by the Archivist.

    Both the Archivist and the State Records Administrator understand the extreme challenge that transferring information to paper or microfilm can be. They would welcome any realistic suggestions on how to improve it. At this time, however, it is not economically feasible to create a huge digital storage system, to have items added, upgraded, and transferred in perpetuity. CDs and DVDs are not an option for several reasons, including whether the equipment to retrieve the data will be around in 50 years, as well as that neither medium has been proven to be incorruptible and safe from data loss.

    Should an agency put forth that it would be impossible for them to transfer their data to a permanent medium, they may handle perpetual archiving themselves, but they must ensure that the data will be migrated to new platforms without data loss, forever.

    A summary of the above in bullet point form:

    • Work with your records officer. It is their task to make sure agency records are properly handled.
    • A web page would be a Record only if the information exists nowhere except the web page.
    • It is acceptable, and advisable, to store web site Records on durable medium such as CD or DVD. Alternatively, paper or microfilm can be used at the start.
    • Unless otherwise specified in your agency's retention schedule, you must retain the information for five years.
    • It is preferable to get everything onto the retention schedule, so that the decision as to whether an item must be saved forever is decided in advance.
    • After that time, send that durable medium to the Archivist. If the Archivist wants certain items saved, you will be told to print or microfilm them.

    Lastly, webmasters may wish to consult with their agency's records officer along with their legal counsel to see how long items should be saved for legal reasons. This may mean having a backup on CD should someone claim they saw information on the web site in the past. The backup would provide the answer.

  2. Chair-Elect Elections.

    Greg Votava of HHSS was nominated and elected unanimously.

  3. E-Government Conference.

    Cat Souliere will be attending a planning meeting for the next E-Government conference. She called for suggestions as to sessions the webmasters would be interesting in attending and/or presenting. Items included standards, accessibility, branding, archiving, and forms automation.

  4. Branding

    Discussion began on the subject of branding. Results of the Brown University study, where Nebraska ranked 48, various things said at the E-Government Conference, and comments by Steve Schafer, CIO, have indicated that state web sites need some sort of identifier. Whether it's a phrase or a logo, there needs to be something on each site that clearly identifies the site as a part of the state. We also know from Steve that such a thing would be better to come from us than imposed upon us. To that end, there were several volunteers to look into options. Jeff Pabian, Laura Larson, Mary Ann Norton, Curt Peacock, Loraine Epperly, Ryan Duffy, Deena Kumpke, and Cat Souliere all volunteered to discuss this issue. Cat requests that those individuals e-mail her, so a meeting can be set up.

  5. Intranets

    What people want to know about Intranets was discussed. We will discuss intranets, and perhaps extranets, at the July meeting. Anyone willing to offer their intranet for examination and discussion should e-mail Cat.

  6. Miscellaneous.

    There were no Miscellaneous items of note.

  7. Adjourn.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, July 7, 2004
1:30 p.m.
Governor's Residence, Lower Level