Computers and other electronic devices create many of the records we use today. These records, although electronic in format, are the same as records in other formats.
Electronic records show how you conduct business, make decisions and carry out your work. They are evidence of decisions and actions and are subject to the same retention and disposition requirements as their paper counterparts. Fundamental records management principles apply to all record formats including electronic records.
The technical nature of electronic records makes managing them a challenge. Electronic records are created in a variety of formats including email, voicemail, webpages, word-processed documents, spreadsheets, databases, digital images, and video and audio files. They can be stored on departmental shared drives, hard drives, UBbox, removable media (e.g., DVD, CD, thumb drive) and an increasing number of other media. Electronic records are under constant threat from technological obsolescence - the rapid advancement of computer technology that can render records inaccessible due to lack of planning.
There are ways to minimize the risks inherent in digital materials and promote long-term preservation and future access.
An electronic signature is data, in digital form, attached to an electronically transmitted document as verification of the sender’s intent to sign the document. This is the equivalent of a handwritten signature, and is used to confirm approval of an action or the terms of a document.
While some segments of the campus are operating from an alternate work location, the use of electronic signatures is acceptable for internal transactions, approvals and authorizations. SUNY does not currently accept electronic signatures as legally binding on state contracts and appointment letters.
For further guidance on attaching a digital or electronic signature to documents, please consult your departmental IT support.
Digitization is the process of converting information into a computer-readable format.
The SUNY Records Retention and Disposition Policy provides SUNY campuses the authority to digitize all records, with very limited exceptions, and destroy the paper files prior to the end of their retention period.
The UB Record Retention and Disposition Policy provides additional guidance on digitizing records.