Skip to content
Apr 18 / Nanette Pfiester

Request for Comments – Educational Material for State Agencies and Legislators

In the spirit of promoting records management and helping others understand why it’s so important, the Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council (RMICC) assembled a committee to create two easy-to-read, eye-catching, and information-rich documents for state agency records managers to distribute to staff at all levels. One is a brochure intended for state agencies and state universities, the other is a flyer for state legislators.

The materials are still in draft form, however, and now the Council seeks your feedback. Do the materials effectively communicate why records management is important? Do they explain the responsibilities and resources available to Texas state agency records managers? What else do they need to say?

Keep reading for more information about RMICC and the project, or click the images below to view the materials. Instructions for submitting feedback are at the bottom of this post.

Draft Flyer for State Agencies and State Universities

Draft Brochure for State Agencies and State Universities

Draft Flyer for State Legislators

Draft Flyer for State Legislators

About the Council

RMICC is the Records Management Interagency Coordinating CouncilThe Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council (RMICC) plays a significant role in the management of state government records. RMICC was created by the Legislature in 1995. The Council reviews the activities of its own member agencies, studies other records management issues and makes biennial reports to the Governor and Legislature. It also adopts policies (which are adopted in turn as rules by each member agency) that coordinate the members’ records management activities and make other improvements to state records management.

About the Educational Information Project

The Council identified a need for broadly disseminating information about records management requirements at state agencies and universities. Also, the Council determined a need for a second document to address legislators’ and legislative records. Two committees of volunteers from agencies and universities drafted the two documents that are now available for comment. Volunteers represented multiple perspectives (state agencies/universities of different sizes and type) and disciplines (including records management, information technology, legal, and more).

The intent is for the material to be simple, eye-catching, appropriate to all staff, and explain the responsibilities and resources available, including the interconnected roles of the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Information Resources, Texas State Library and Archives Commission (State and Local Records Management and the Texas State Archives), RMICC, and your own agency or university.

The final versions might be posted on agency Intranets, hung on bulletin boards, passed out at training or new employee orientation, and used in other innovative ways.  The key ideas can encourage conversations early and often about record creation, retention, and disposition.

Request for Comments

Comments about the draft educational materials may be submitted to Jill S. Ledbetter, RMICC clerk, by email at Comments should be submitted no later than May 1, 2014.

Draft educational materials for legislators (.pdf)

Draft educational materials for state agencies (.pdf)

Explore RMICC’s website to learn more about the council.

Apr 17 / Marianna Symeonides

Compliance 101 for Local Governments: Records Management Policy

compliance101If you work in a local government and you’ve attended our trainings or called us with questions, there’s a good chance you’ve heard us talk about whether or not you’re “in compliance,” or the three steps needed in order to “be in compliance.” In this series of posts, we’re going to talk about what compliance actually means and how you can get there.

In the first post, we discussed that “compliance” means complying with the Local Government Records Act (LGRA). Now, we’ll begin getting into the nitty-gritty of each of the three steps of compliance. First up: filing a records management policy (RMP).

Why do you need a policy?

The Local Government Records Act (LGRA) requires that local governments file a records management plan with the Texas State Library (TSLAC). When we at TSLAC talk to you about submitting a records management policy, we are referring to what the LGRA calls the records management plan. In this document, a local government states that they will follow the provisions set out in the LGRA for how to manage their records.

Looking at the requirements in the LGRA and translating that language to your own policy can definitely be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created four different policy models/templates that you can use, depending on what type of government you are. Each policy includes the language necessary to show that your government is complying with the LGRA. But which policy model should you use?

Policy Models

Note:  all of the following policy model templates can be downloaded from our website here.

If you are an elected county official, then you should submit Policy Model 1 – Records Management Policy Statement for an Elected County Official. This form tells us who will be responsible for records management in your office: you, or the countywide records manager? By law, an elected county official is automatically the Records Management Officer (RMO) for his or her office, but the official can elect to designate the countywide RMO (a position designated by the Commissioners Court) to oversee records management for his or her office.

If you are a county or a large local government, then we recommend Policy Model 2 – Suggested Policy Model for Establishing a Records Management Program by Ordinance, Order, or Resolution. This is our most detailed policy model, reflective of the operations of larger organizations. It will include responsibilities of departmental records liaison officers, for example, as well as provisions for records storage centers.

If you’re a small municipality, then Policy Model 3 – Suggested Policy Model for Establishing a Records Management Program by Ordinance in a Small Municipality — is for you. This policy is similar to Policy Model 2, but does not include references to records liaison officers, storage centers, or a records management committee.

And Policy Model 4 is recommended for any other small local governments. This is a pretty bare-bones policy statement, acknowledging that the records of your government are public property and you will adhere to applicable records management laws.

Each of these templates contains the necessary elements to show that your government will comply with the LGRA.

Drafting your own policy

Of course, you are not limited to these templates—you can also craft your own policy. If you decide to go that route, just make sure that your policy covers all the elements required by the LGRA.

If you are an elected county official, Section 203.005 requires that your policy covers the duties and responsibilities of elected county officials as Records Management Officers (as set forth in Section 203.002)

If you are a non-elected official, Section 203.026 requires that your policy covers the:

  • Duties and responsibilities of governing body (as set forth in Section 203.021)
  • Duties and responsibilities of records custodians (as set forth in Section 203.022)
  • Duties of Records Management Officers (as set forth in Section 203.023)

Who submits the policy & when?

If you are an elected county official, then you must submit the policy, even if that policy will designate the countywide RMO as your RMO (Section 203.005).

If you are not an elected official, then you must show that your governing body has adopted your policy (Section 203.026).

What’s a governing body?

Section 201.003 of Local Government Code provides the following definition: ” ‘Governing body’ means the court, council, board, commission, or other body established or authorized by law to govern the operations of a local government. In those instances in which authority over an office or department of a local government is shared by two or more governing bodies or by a governing body and the state, the governing body, for the purposes of this subtitle only, is the governing body that provides most of the operational funding for the office or department.”

Some typical governing bodies include:

  • County:  Commissioners’ Court
  • Municipality:  City Council, Town Council, City Commission
  • School District:  Board of Trustees / School Board
  • Appraisal District:  Board of Directors

How do I show my governing body’s approval?

There are a few ways you can do this. Some governments add language to the policy itself indicating that the policy was approved by the governing body, along with a signature and/or seal. Others submit the minutes of the meeting in which the policy was approved.  Others attach a signed letter to the policy stating that the governing body approved the policy. Basically, we don’t have an established rule about how to show your governing body’s approval – but we do need something documenting that your governing body has indeed adopted the policy.

When do I need to submit a policy?

Finally, whether or not you’re an elected official, the policy – or any amendments to the policy – should be filed with us within 30 days of the policy’s or amendment’s adoption. You also need to make sure you file your policy before you send us your RMO form or your records control schedule/declaration of compliance. We can’t process those items unless we know that you have a records management policy that has been approved by your governing board.


Your records management policy is the first step to ensuring compliance with the LGRA. It’s where your government states its acknowledgement that records are public property and that you will ensure the efficient and effective control of those records. It’s also where you specify what position or person will serve as your records management officer – watch out for our next post in this series to learn more about that!

Apr 15 / Nanette Pfiester

Call for Presentations: e-Records Conference 2014 – Austin, TX

erecordsslogo-300x261We are currently accepting presentation proposals from government organizations (state agencies, universities, or local governments), vendors, and subject matter experts from various organizations to share both their challenges and successes with managing electronic records.  This event is organized by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and co-sponsored by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR). Visit the conference website for more details.

Possible formats include 1-2 presenters or a panel for 45-, 60- or 90-minute sessions.

Topic areas suggested are:

  • Collaboration (internal or external) with emphasis on information technology and records management areas
  • E-mail management: policies, classification (manual or auto-classification), outside-of-the-box ideas
  • Auto classification maturity
  • Building records management capabilities into technology solutions at the very beginning
  • Collaborative government solutions (projects with other experts, internal or external)

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the online form, Presentation Proposal. Please forward this announcement to others who might be interested. The deadline for submitting presentation proposals is MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2014 e-Records Conference.

Apr 11 / Sarah Jacobson

Register Now for Regional Workshop in Canyon, TX

City of Canyon RM Training 2014-05-15Records Management Assistance staff is hitting the road!  Join us in Canyon, TX, as we conduct records management training for local governments on Thursday, May 15th.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to get some basic information in records management whether you’re new to your position or just need a refresher. Classes are open to Records Management Officers, records liaisons, or anyone else working with local government records.

DATE: Thursday, May 15, 2014

TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Cole Community Center – Adobe Room, 300 16th Street, Canyon, TX 79015

PRICE: $40 per individual


  • overview of records management laws and rules
  • compliance with the Local Government Records Act
  • using records retention schedules to dispose of records
  • legal obligations for electronic records
  • email management
  • digital imaging projects
  • social media records management
  • and more!

See flyer for more detailed information about this workshop.

To register, submit a Training Registration Form.

Questions? Please contact us at or 512-463-7610.

Apr 7 / Marianna Symeonides

Compliance 101 for Local Governments: Overview

compliance101If you work in a local government and you’ve attended our trainings or called us with questions, there’s a good chance you’ve heard us talk about whether or not you’re “in compliance,” or the three steps needed in order to “be in compliance.” In this series of posts, we’re going to talk about what compliance actually means and how you can get there.

In this first post, we’ll give a general overview of what you need to comply with and why. In subsequent posts, we will go into each of the three steps to compliance in greater detail.

Compliance with what?

When we say something like, “It looks like you’re not in compliance,” you might wonder what exactly you’re supposed to comply with. And the answer is: the Local Government Records Act, which we publish as Bulletin D. This law was passed in 1989, and according to Section 201.002(e), part of the purpose of the law was to establish “uniform standards and procedures for the maintenance…of local government records.”

According to the Local Government Records Act, local governments are required to file certain information with the “director and librarian.” “Director and Librarian” refers to TSLAC’s Executive Director, the position held by Mark Smith.

What needs to be filed and where does the paperwork go?

Now, obviously, Mark Smith does not personally keep thousands of local government compliance files in his office. When you submit the required paperwork, you mail it to the State and Local Records Management division, which is overseen by our division director, Craig Kelso. And no, Craig doesn’t keep thousands of files in his office either. The responsibility of accepting compliance documents for filing falls to our unit, Records Management Assistance.

So, what are these compliance documents exactly? The law requires that you file three things with us:

  1. A records management policy;
  2. A records management officer – or, more accurately, a piece of paper showing us who your RMO is; and
  3. Your retention schedule(s) or a declaration of compliance indicating that you’ll follow our local government schedules.

If you want a quick overview of how to complete these steps, take a look at our “Fast Track to Compliance” post. But if you’re still a bit confused or you’re just curious about the details of any of those steps, we’ll go over each of them in detail in the rest of these Compliance 101 posts.

Are we in compliance?

The analysts in TSLAC’s Records Management Assistance unit are here to help you comply with the law. (If you don’t know who your analyst is, find out here by looking up your county name.) We are always happy to check your compliance status, email you a copy of your compliance file, and to guide you through the process of getting in compliance if it turns out that you are non-compliant for some reason. And don’t worry, we won’t yell or wag our fingers at you if that’s the case! Stay tuned for future Compliance 101 posts to learn how we’ve made the process as hassle-free as possible.

Mar 11 / Sarah Jacobson

e-Records Conference 2014: Save the date!

erecordsslogo-300x261e-Records Conference 2014 – Austin, TX

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) are pleased to announce plans for this year’s e-Records Conference. The two agencies have co-sponsored the conference since 2000. The event promotes improved electronic records management in Texas government by bringing together staff responsible for and interested in records management and information technology.

Mark your calendar and plan on being at The Commons Learning Center in Austin, Texas. Online registration will begin in August.

Check this page periodically for updates. As information becomes available, this is where you’ll find the agenda, registration, logistics, and other conference details.

Mar 4 / Sarah Jacobson

Registration Open for Local Government Classes in Austin

Darryl Tocker Learning Center, TSLAC

Darryl Tocker Learning Center, TSLAC

How long has it been since since you attended records management training?

Registration is now open for our classes for local governments. Classes are being held in March and May. To register for any of the classes listed below, visit our local government class registration page.

Classes are being held at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building at 1201 Brazos Street (to the east of the Capitol).

March 18-19

  • Tuesday, March 18, 8:30 – noon: Introduction to Records Management - Learn why records management is important and required, what constitutes a record, how to ensure you are in compliance and how that benefits your organization, ways to ensure you have an active and continuing program, tips on outsourcing and valuable resources for you and your records management program.
  • Tuesday, March 18, 1:30 – 4:30: Managing Electronic Records – Learn how to apply records management principles to electronic records. This course looks at the definition of electronic records (e-records), applicable laws and rules with corresponding best practices and recommended standards and procedures. It also discusses email, digital imaging, and social media, and how to address the various challenges of these types of e-records and how to best manage them.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 8:30 – 11:30: Emergency Preparedness – Learn how to identify, protect, and ensure access to your vital records, the records necessary to continue operations in the event of an emergency. The course will also cover how to prepare, respond to, and recover from a records emergency.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 1:00 – 4:00: Improving Shared Drives & Filing Systems - This class provides an overview of files management, characteristics of good filing systems, common filing problems, and a six-step program to improving your paper filing system. The course offers strategies and best practices for managing shared drives and developing e-mail file plans.

May 6-7

See class descriptions above.

  • Tuesday, May 6, 8:30 – noon: Introduction to Records Management
  • Tuesday, May 6, 1:30 – 4:30: Managing Electronic Records
  • Wednesday, May 7, 8:30 - 11:30: Emergency Preparedness
  • Wednesday, May 7, 1:00 – 4:00: Improving Shared Drives & Filing Systems


Click here to register:

Feb 20 / Michael Shea

Who’s on First?


Guest post by Michael Shea, Manager, Records Center Services

State Employee#1: “I’m sending these records to the Archives.”

State Employee#2: “The Records Center or the Archives?”

State Employee#1: “Yes.”

State Employee#2: “Well, which one – are you sending the records to the Records Center or the Archives?”

State Employee#1: “Right…them, those people at the Archives in the Records Center.”

State Employee#2: “Is it Friday yet?”

I’m pretty sure this conversation has happened more than once…today. At the Records Center, we have accepted “Archives” as a synonym for “Records Center” most of the time. As in “We’re sending these records over to you at the Archives.” However, there is an actual distinction. The Archives and Information Services (ARIS) Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC)  is a unit of the same agency but they do some different work than we do at the Records Center.  According to their landing page on the TSLAC website: “The Texas State Archives preserves and documents the heritage and culture of Texas by identifying, collecting, and making available for research the permanently valuable official records of Texas government, as well as other significant historical resources.”

However, we do have work that intersects with the State Archives. When you send your records to the State Records Center, we make sure they are classified as a record series on an approved retention schedule on file with our division at TSLAC (SLRM). That document tells us when the records are eligible for disposal. Now, to the average Joe on the street “disposal” means “throw away” but in Records land disposal is not necessarily the final resting place of your records.  Undead Zombie records?  Angel in heaven records?   No, they are records that have been deemed to have archival value, and therefore collected, maintained and preserved by the State Archives. Basically records that are coded for either Archival Holdings (AH) or Archival Review (AR) as their method of disposal may have life at the Archives after “death” at your agency (note: on a state agency retention schedule those codes would be Archival Transfer (A) or Archival Review (R), respectively). So, yes – undead zombie records do exist (sort of). Your accounts payable ledger will likely not fit under this designation and will die a gruesome and tragic death by shredder teeth and pulping “things” (Whatever it is that pulps paper – I know I can look these things up).  Those ledgers will be pulled aside, pointed at, chided, kicked, verified, palletized, vulcanized, pulverized, shredded, terminated with extreme prejudice and certified d.o.a. (Some of these are true).

So, when disposition time arrives, your records may have a chance to survive. However, the catch is, that those records will no longer be yours. The records are actually transferred to the possession of the State Archives (NOT SLRM!). The Archives staff then organizes, describes and presents those records forever. If someone decided they wanted to see those records, they would contact the State Archives. If a record series is categorized as “Archival Review” the Archives usually requests a few files or boxes from a records set to see (i.e. do research) if that particular batch of records has archival value. While the Archives assess a records series the records are still the property of the owning agency until the Archives makes an official decision on the fate of the records.

So now there should be no issues understanding the difference between the State Records Center and the State Archives… right? TSLAC oversees the State Records Center AND the State Archives. SLRM gets to destroy things and ARIS keeps things. That’s one of the reasons why I like working at the Records Center. I guess it goes back to fond memories of when I was a toddler who destroyed random sand castles at the beach.  Don’t tell anyone, but I still destroy sand castles when nobody’s looking.

Feb 14 / Angela Ossar

New Webinars: The 5 W’s of Planning an Imaging Project

Planning a successful imaging project requires careful decision-making.  A planning misstep could lead to high costs, wasted time and effort, poor quality, or even trouble in court.  This two-part webinar series will cover the “5 W’s” of digital imaging*.  In Part 1, we will discuss the “what, when, and why” of imaging – what digital imaging entails, when you’d want to image records (and when you wouldn’t), and why imaging is often instrumental to improving an office’s efficiency.  In Part 2, we will delve into the “who and how” of imaging – should you Do It Yourself or outsource?  If you do it yourself, how should you set up the project?

*Okay, there’s actually 4 W’s and an H. But this was already a pretty long webinar title for us.

Part 1: What, When, and Why

imagingpart1-titleslide-screenshot-300Title: The 5 W’s of Planning an Imaging Project, Part 1: What, When, and Why

Description:  What does digital imaging involve?  When (and why) is digital imaging beneficial, and when is it a waste of money and time?  In the first webinar of this series, we will introduce the benefits of a digital imaging project – quick access, efficient searching – and also discuss cost considerations.  We will also discuss the issue of source document destruction – should you destroy the original document after scanning, and if you do, how can you ensure that the scanned image meets Bulletin 1/Bulletin B requirements for authenticity?

Part 2: Who and How

imagingpart2-titleslide-screenshot-300Title: The 5 W’s of Planning an Imaging Project, Part 2: Who and How

Description:  After examining the what, when, and why of an imaging project, you’ve decided that digital imaging is right for your records, and you want to make sure that your project will be successful.  In the second webinar of the series, we will explore the “who” of imaging – do it yourself or hire a vendor?  We will discuss components of an in-house project (the “how” of the project), such as selecting software and equipment, handling fragile or oversize material, staffing and training, metadata, file formats, ensuring quality control, and more. Then, we’ll delve into special considerations for using a vendor before concluding with some imaging project case studies.


Reserve your seat today!

Part 1

Title: The 5 W’s of Planning an Imaging Project, Part 1: What, When, and Why

Instructor:  Angela Ossar, Government Information Analyst

Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CST

Part 1 Registration:

Part 2

Title: The 5 W’s of Planning an Imaging Project, Part 2: Who and How

Instructor:  Marianna Symeonides, Government Information Analyst

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CST

Part 2 Registration:

Feb 10 / Angela Ossar

Featured Question: “Do I need a DoD 5015.2 Compliant EDRM/ECM System?”

EDRMS alphabet soupThis is a guest post by Ryan Ellis, CIP, PMP, Records Management Officer for Galveston County. We wrote here about Ryan’s presentation on Galveston County’s ECM system implementation at our e-Records 2012 conference. Ryan attended our recent webinar “Automating Records Management with EDRMS” and emailed us his thoughts on the importance of choosing a DoD 5015.2 compliant vendor when selecting an EDRMS system. He graciously agreed to let us repost his thoughts here on the The Texas Record. Thanks, Ryan!

DoD 5015.02-STD RMA Design Criteria Standard:

It’s common to look for all “best of breed” qualifications and list them out when putting together requirements for a new software system, but “DoD 5015.2 Compliant” might not really be one of them. In fact, depending on your situation, it may eat up a chunk of your project budget when you don’t even need it. It may even prevent you from accomplishing what you’re actually setting out to do.

Here’s another surprising fact: buying a certified DoD 5015.2 compliant software doesn’t automatically make your organization DoD 5015.2 compliant. “Records Management Applications,” as they are referred to in the standard, are not the only participants facing requirements in the standard; the people in it do too. And to be honest, trying to make your employees follow some of these standards would not make any sense in the typical workplace, for instance following labor-intensive guidelines to declare e-mails as records. When I was an Airman managing classified records in our squadron’s tactics unit, it made sense that the processes I followed adhered to included a chapter on “Management of Classified Records.” It also made sense that my agency would spend additional dollars to make sure our software did too. But as a County Records Management Officer, it would not have made sense to spend additional dollars on software that could perform functions we would never use. It would also not make sense to reject time-saving functionality and require users to follow complex steps that have been simplified through advances in technology in the decade since the current version was on the drawing board.

DoD 5015.02-STD includes 6 chapters. The first is an introductory chapter. Three of the following chapters form the “baseline” for certification, focusing on Mandatory Requirements, Transfers, and Non-Mandatory features. The other two chapters set the standards for Classified Records, and FOIA and Privacy Act Records. Because of the complexity and slow pace of modifying the standard, there is even debate on whether DoD 5015.2 is in the best interest for Federal agencies. (Both sides can be viewed here: For,, and Against, A good rule of thumb is if your organization regularly transfers records to a Department of Defense agency, or to the National Archives and Records Administration, you should consult with your liaisons in those organizations to see if DoD 5015.2 Compliance is a requirement for you. Otherwise, you should keep your options open, and focus on the business requirements of your organization.

The good news is, many EDRM and ECM software suites offer DoD 5015.2 as an optional component. Alfresco, Laserfiche, OnBase, and SharePoint, just to name a few, all can be implemented as a DoD 5015.2 compliant package, though you don’t to pay the additional dollars to make it so if it’s not needed.

For those considering an EDRM or ECM solution, here’s my recommendation:

  1. First, talk to similar federal, state, and local entities, and partners with whom you share processes and content. For example, if you have records and information you share with law enforcement agencies, understanding CJIS requirements will lead to a better starting point for technical specifications.
  2. Talk with each of your prospective vendors about how their products handle security, and learn their strategy for DoD 5015.2 compliant customers.
  3. Join an industry organization like AIIM or ARMA, and subscribe to the TSLAC SLRM blog. It’s much easier to navigate the maze of complex and evolving standards when you have experts ready to guide you.

To access an archived recording of our “Automating Records Management with EDRMS” webinar, click here.