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Apr 15 / Angela Ossar

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.

Feb 3 / Erica Wilson

Featured Question: How Long Do I Keep Red Light Camera Records?

photo-enforcedWe’re all familiar with red light cameras – those digital devices at intersections that record drivers running red lights. If you’re a local government with red light cameras, you are probably familiar with the records associated with these systems: photos and videos of potential violations, citations issued, and the information from the Department of Motor Vehicles that helps you match the license plate to the owner for correspondence purposes.

But if you go to Local Schedule PS, you won’t find a series called “Red Light Camera Records.”  That is because there just isn’t a series for those records…for now.  (We’ll talk more about how we at the State Library can remedy that in just a moment.)

So what should you do with them for now? We know that most local governments do not have the resources to indefinitely store the copious amount of records created by these systems, but can’t destroy the records if they aren’t listed on a TSLAC Local Schedule. So, we searched our local schedules to find the best fit for now.  Here’s how we recommend classifying each of the records associated with red light cameras:

  • Photos or videos that do not capture a violation:  PS4050-06: Surveillance Videos (AV)
  • Photos or videos that do capture a violation: PS4125-05b(1): Offense Investigation Records for Class C Misdemeanors and other violations of local ordinances that are punishable by fine only (6 months)
  • Information from the DMV used to match the license plate to the owner: PS4175-05c: Dissemination, Inquiry, and Receipt Records of Law Enforcement Information (AV)
  • Citations issued by law enforcement:  PS4125-05b(1) – see above (6 months)
  • Citations that have been cleared by payment, dismissal, or other action of a court: LC2350-05: Parking and Pedestrian Violation Tickets (6 months, unless the tickets are used as vouchers for direct posting to receipt journals or ledgers — then they must be retained for FE + 3 years.)

We’ve received a similar question about school bus passing violation videos – videos that capture vehicles passing school buses as they are loading or unloading students.  We recommended that the municipality follow the same guidelines as above.

About those records that don’t have a clear-cut classification on TSLAC’s schedules — or can’t be matched up with any TSLAC series at all.  Well, every time that we come across a record that needs to be included on a schedule, we add it to a list of suggested revisions.  We keep a list for each local schedule, and we keep any helpful documentation that may help us when we are revising the schedules: applicable bills that changed the retention rules, repealed laws, and emails from you guys who are actually creating and using the records.  When we start revising each schedule, we work to incorporate that information into the next edition.

Trouble finding a record on our schedules?  Contact your analyst for help!

Jan 27 / Erica Wilson

New Year, New System: Here Comes Infolinx

records-center-portraitThis is the first in a series of articles that will be written by different members of the team who are involved in the implementation of Infolinx.  This article was written by Erica Wilson, Government Information Analyst.

Hey, TSLAC, what’s new with you?

Lots!  Last spring, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission released a Request for Proposal (commonly known as an RFP) to acquire a new physical records management software solution for the State and Local Records Management Division. After what felt like eons of evaluating written proposals, assessing live demonstrations, and attending enterprise-wide discussions regarding the responding companies’ products, we are pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Infolinx System Solutions to provide many of SLRM’s services to state agencies and local governments.

A new system? I don’t like new things.

What’s not to like? Infolinx has been providing contemporary, cost-effective, and innovative records management software solutions to a wide range of clients since 1987. Their determination to explore the latest technology platforms, environments, and devices has enabled them to provide browser-based, thin-client solutions and kept them as an industry leader.

That sounds like a sales pitch.

Well, it did come straight from their website. But I assure you, they have many happy clients in many different settings. For us, they are creating a product that is customized to our needs, is user-friendly, and has burnt orange tabs in the interface. As someone who appreciates a system that is intuitive and is also a UT Austin alumni, I can tell you that this product is easy to use and Longhorn fan-friendly. (Note: They didn’t really customize the interface to appease UT fans; that’s just the color they’ve been using for all systems. The system will work for fans of all teams.)

But can their system handle all the records at the State Records Center? After all, everything’s bigger in Texas.

They can handle it. Their clients include hospitals, federal agencies, other state archives and records centers, local governments, financial institutions – shall I go on?

Just a couple more.

Pharmaceutical companies, libraries, insurance companies… In other words, lots of different entities with lots and lots of records.

Okay, so they have some clients with a lot of records. What are they going to do for you guys?

Glad you asked. It’s more about what the system is going to do for you guys, our clients. With Infolinx, you’ll be able to log into their web portal to schedule pickups and deliveries, propose changes to your agency’s retention schedule, and request destruction of stored records.

Anything else?

As a matter of fact, yes! It will allow us to simplify and streamline our billing process. It will allow you to create new boxes and request approval for storage at the State Records Center. You can track your boxes, files (if you want to), and orders. Your agency’s retention schedule will be available at any time in a database for easy searching. It will make you better-looking. (Note: System will not make you better-looking. You are good-looking and perfect the way you are.)

Sounds pricey. What’s it going to cost me?

Nothing, if you have an internet browser. If you don’t have an internet browser, how are you even reading this?!

But you guys will be raising your fees, right?

That’s not the plan. Our fee schedule should stay the same. But if you’d like to tip me…

Nice try. So, you’ll let us know when it’s ready, right?

I’ll do you one better. This will be the first in a series of posts updating you about our progress with the new system. In mid-October, we began building the architecture: what fields need to be included, how the tabs will be organized, what needs to be a simple list and what needs to be a checkbox (Note: I’ve learned more about databases that I ever thought I would need to in the past few months. My degree in English did not prepare me for this project). So right now, it’s really difficult to give you an overall picture of the product – it’s kind of like trying to imagine a color you’ve never seen, like blorange. In the coming months, we’ll have updates about the progress we’re making, how we’re developing training, interim procedures, and other fun and informative stuff. Stay tuned!