“Transaction” in Records Management

Understanding what meets the definition of a “local government record” is important for a local government employee (especially a Records Management Officer). This is because your entity’s local government record is a record that you’re required to keep for a certain amount of time based on laws, rules, and standards associated with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). A.k.a., us! If you’re not familiar with these requirements, we recommend watching our Records Management Basics for Local Governments webinar.

There may be requirements for documents or objects falling outside of the definition, but those are not laws, rules, or standards for which TSLAC has advising responsibility.

During our trainings, we like to break up the definition of a “local government record” found in Local Government Code, Section 201.003(8.).

A Local Government Record:

  • Is created or received by a local government
  • Documents the transaction of public business
  • Is a record whether it is open or closed
  • May exist in any medium

To help understand the term better, I like to use the first two bullet points as steps to narrow down to what merits a “local government record” and the last two bullet points I use as a reminder that anything meeting the definition meets the definition. On a visual level, that would look like: 


  1. Did a local government create or receive this?
    1. If “no,” it does not meet the definition of a “local government record.”
    2. If “yes,” move on to step 2. 
  2. Does it document the transaction of public business?
    1. If “no,” it does not meet the definition of a “local government record.”
    2. If “yes,” it’s a local government record!


  • A “local government record” can be open/closed or confidential/not confidential. 
  • A “local government record” can exist in any format (paper, microfilm, electronic (social media, text messages), etc.). 

To master the first step, we recommend checking out our following articles:

  • How Long Do I Keep Email? has a 3-step flowchart that can be applied to any format and walks you through if your office is the custodian (record keeper) of a local government record.
  • Who is the custodian of this record? talks about what happens if you determine multiple people or entities are the custodian of a local government record.

Looking at those steps, I get stumped on the second step because what does “document the transaction of public business” mean? Specifically, I wonder how the term “transaction” is used in records management.

“Transaction” in records management means an interaction or exchange of public business. 

Expanding on those more familiar terms: “Interaction” means that you are interacting with someone, e.g., having a conversation, and “exchange” means that you are sharing, giving, or receiving information about a local government entity’s operations, functions, responsibilities, etc. 

E.g., If TSLAC was considered a local government, this blog article would be a local government record because we are sharing information that relates to our responsibilities as a government entity to consult Texas local governments and state agencies. If you were to comment below, e.g., “TSLAC is awesome and I want to request training,” and we responded “We have training available on these dates…” We are now interacting related to our responsibility as a government entity to provide training to Texas local governments and state agencies.

To help learn the concept further, so that your entity only keeps records you are responsible for, checkout our “Transaction” activity:

After you’ve mastered understanding how the term “transaction” is used in records management, you will be able to determine if this is a record you are required to keep. How long to keep the record can be answered by your entity’s Records Management Officer or your regional analyst at TSLAC

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2 thoughts on ““Transaction” in Records Management

  1. I think I need a better understanding of what constitutes an official government record. I have had several government records not honored in court proceedings and I dont understand why. A birth certificate and a Acknowledgement of Patenity were a couple of them.

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