Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go Ahead, Destroy Those Paper Records You Digitized!

It makes sense to digitize some of your organization's records. What are you doing with the paper records after they are digitized?

A Call for Modernizationa 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey by Cohasset Associates/ARMA International/AIIM, indicated that more than 43% of 
organizations retain paper source copies after they are digitized. 

My question would be, why? Why not just destroy the paper records and save your organization money and reduce discovery risks? Maybe a couple of my notes from a session I attended at the ARMA 2014 Meeting entitled Can You Destroy Paper Records That Have Been Imagedby Robert F. Williams of Cohasset and Ronald Hedges, J.D., will make you think different about retaining the paper copies. Following are just a few points they covered:
  •  Image copies have been deemed admissible in the United States based on The Federal Rules of Evidence, state equivalents and case law. 
  • The Uniform Photographic Copies of Business and Public Records as Evidence Act permits a reproduction (microfilm, image, duplicate) which accurately reflects the original, as admissible as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding as the original itself.
  • Imaged copies of information converted from paper are the legal equivalent to their paper counterpart.
  • Images are as admissible as the original paper records in any legal proceeding, regardless of whether the original is in existence or not. 
For additional information about the legality of digital records, please reference the Cohasset white paper on the Legality of Digital Image Copies.