Records Management

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Records Management is the professional practice of identifying, classifying, preserving, and disposing the records of an organization, while capturing and maintaining the evidence of an organization’s business activities as well as the reducing the risks associated with it. 

Records Management includes three primary components:

  1. Records Management Program
  2. Forms Management Program
  3. Media Services

Together, these practices make state agencies more efficient, personnel more productive, minimize costs, improve storage and retrieval systems, and protect agencies from litigation risks regarding record-keeping practices.

Records Management Program

The Records Management Program is responsible for the supervision and administration of state records. This includes determining retention (based on legal, audit, historical and administrative values), selecting the appropriate medium (paper, electronic, etc.), choosing the best storage location, and selecting the best filing system for the records.

Forms Management Program

The Forms Management Program is responsible for maintaining quality state forms.  This includes maintaining the state form numbering system, maintaining design standards for state forms quality, designing forms that meet the needs of our customers, eliminating duplicate and bootleg forms, and reviewing and analyzing all forms used in state government.

Records Management System

Training

NDIT provides customized records management consulting to state agencies and city/county government offices. Training to groups is also available and has historically included topics such as:

  • Managing a Successful Records Management Program
  • Preservation of Evidence in the State's Records Management Process
  • The Basics of Open Records and Meetings
  • Records Management for Electronic Records
  • Forms Management-Basics
  • Electronic Forms

Records Management

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Records Management
Is it a Record?

Click here to help identify your information: Is it a Record?

Records Retention Schedule
Subject Classification System (RCN Categories)

NDIT Records Management recommends a subject classification system designed to meet the special and individual needs found within each office. This classification system can be used for managing any type of record, paper or electronic and to determine a Records Control Number (RCN) based on the content of the record. 

Currently there are 31 subjects of the State of ND Subject Classification System. They are defined here: Subject Classification System (RCN Categories)

Forms

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Forms
What is a Form?

A form is a tool to get a job done.  It performs a function in work communication.  The end result of any job is only as good as the tools used in performing the work.  A form typically does one or more of three things:  it initiates an action, records a transaction, or reports something.

The Century Code definition of a form is found in Section 54-44.6-02:  "Form" means any document designed to record information, and containing blank spaces and which may contain headings, captions, boxes or other printed or written devices to guide the entry and interpretation of the information.

Privacy Act Statement

As part of the Privacy Act of 1974, agencies are required to provide a Privacy Act Statement to all individuals asked to provide their social security number. The Privacy Act Statement must include the following information:

  • Authority: The legal authority for collecting the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;
  • Purpose:  The purpose(s) for which the information will be used; and
  • Effect(s) of not providing the information, if any. 

A statement that summarizes this information must be included on any forms requesting a social security number.

State Form Numbers (SFN)

To comply with the North Dakota Century Code, NDIT Records Management has a central numbering system for all state forms.  The state form number (SFN) must be printed on all forms in the title block.

A State Form Number (SFN) would be required in the following situations:

  1. Documents that contain fill-in-the-blank areas.
  2. Checklists that show a burden of proof that a process or procedure has been followed (prove an action or steps were taken) or if there are additional fields to be completed.
  3. Regardless if forms are distributed internally or externally to the department.
  4. Could be completed in hardcopy, electronic, or web-based format.

The following items would NOT require a State Form Number (SFN):

  1. Read and sign documents where only a signature and date are required (i.e. agreements, contracts).
  2. Checklists where the sole purpose is to check items off.
  3. Data capture screens developed as part of a web-based application or system.

Contact NDIT Records Management if you need assistance in determining whether a document requires a State Form Number.

Each state form number is unique.  The number is not duplicated on any other active form, either within a department or on the entire state form numbering system.  Agency forms coordinators are responsible to see that their agency uses the state form numbering system for indexing, inventory, and identification of their forms.  The state form number will be the permanent identification number for a form.

When a form becomes obsolete, the state form number will be retired. Agency forms coordinators are responsible for notifying NDIT Records Management about obsolete forms.

Keywords Used for Form Titles

Click here to view: Keywords used for Form Titles

Standards for ND Forms

TITLE BLOCK

1. All forms must be identified with a title block that contains: 

  • The title of the form to identify accurately the function or purpose of the form. 
  • The name of the agency that is the source responsible for the form. 
  • The state form number (SFN). 
  • The revision date of the form (not required for online forms). 

2. The title block must be placed in the upper left corner of the form whenever possible. 

3. The Great Seal of the State of North Dakota or agency logo must be part of the title block (not required for online forms). 

4. If the Great Seal of the State of North Dakota is not used, the words "North Dakota" must be included in the name of the agency in the title block. 

5. Forms must not be printed or reproduced on letterhead. 

PAPER AND INK

1. The standard size paper for state forms is 8 1/2 X 11 inches, and sizes that can be cut from that size with a minimum of waste.

2. The standard color for state forms is white (paper or background), unless volume of usage or other factors justify the use of colored paper.

3. The standard color ink/font for state forms is black.  Only one color of ink will be used on a form.

4. All state forms must be readily and clearly reproducible on copy machines and scanners.

5. If the printing process for a form requires collating or padding, all parts of the form will be on the same size paper.

6. Forms for senior citizens and persons with visual disabilities will be printed on matte finished paper with readable type style in black ink.

CAPTIONS

1. Captions must be brief, clear, and concise.

  • A caption must only cover one item or point.
  • Captions must be worded to avoid confusion.

2. Forms must be designed in a box format with upper left captions.

  • Type size must be 8-point or larger, where appropriate.
  • Type style must be sans serif, regular weight.
    • Bold type may be used for headings, but not for captions.
    • Italic type may be used for instructions, but not captions.
    • Script or cursive type style must not be used on any form.
  • Type must be in lower case with only appropriate capitalization.

SPACES

1. Standard vertical spacing (throw) on forms is:

  • Entry fields should be 3/8" in height.
  • Uniform layout over the entire form.

2. Standard horizontal spacing (pitch) on forms is:

  • Determined through forms analysis.
  • Designed to fit data to be gathered by the form.
  • Designed to fit the method or equipment used with the form.
  • Uniform layout over the entire form.

3. Routine space requirements are defined within Space Requirements for Forms.

APPEARANCE

1. All State of North Dakota forms must have a professional appearance.

  • No decorations or embellishments.
  • No more than two type styles on a form.
  • Shading or screening are not to be used for decorative purposes.

2. Forms must be simple and easy to read and complete.

  • Clear black ink/font.
  • Clean, neat, basic good design.
  • No typographical or grammatical errors.
  • Adequate "white space" to enhance appearance.
  • Economical use of space on the page without excessive white spaces.
  • No names of any person will be used on a state form.

 

Forms Design Principles

The North Dakota Century Code directs the state forms management program to develop and implement standards for design.

Click here to view the principles: State Forms Design Principles

 

Legal Requirements

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Legal Requirements
Records Management in ND Century Code

For more information on the North Dakota Century Code statutes, please refer to the North Dakota Legislative Branch website.

North Dakota Open Record Statute

  • NDCC 44-04-18. Access to public records – Electronically stored information

Confidentiality

  • NDCC 44-04-18.1. Public employee personal, medical, and employee assistance records - Confidentiality - Personal information maintained by state entities

Penalties

Records Management Authority

Forms Management Authority

Electronic Signatures

Reproductions Admissible in Evidence

  • NDCC 54-46.1-03. Reproductions admissible in evidence - Preparation of copies
  • NDCC 31-08-01.1. Certain copies of business and public records admissible in evidence

Archiving

Open Records and Meetings Guide

North Dakota’s laws state that all government records and meetings must be open to the public unless otherwise authorized by a specific law. The basic laws are found in North Dakota Century Code, beginning at §44-04-17.1. The public has the right to know how government functions are performed and how public funds are spent.

Click here for more information: Open Records and Meetings Guide

Media Services

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Media Services
Media Services Information

Electronic records are the predominant record type of the future.  However, the hardware and software associated with electronic media can become obsolete, creating a cycle that requires data migration in as little as 5-7 years.  To offset the obsolescence factor of electronic records, roll film remains a viable, low-cost media option for the long-term storage of records that are referenced infrequently when the cost of electronic or physical storage is excessive.

The Standards for Microfilming North Dakota Public Records and the media services offered by NDIT continue to play a part in the state's records management program.  While much of the work is outsourced, NDIT continues to coordinate media services that include:

  • Converting images to microfilm
  • Processing roll film
  • Duplicating roll film and microfiche
  • Creating paper prints or digital images from roll film and microfiche
  • Maintaining original microforms

Associations

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Associations
Records & Information Management Associations

The following are Records and Information Management Associations that provide helpful services and resources in the field. For more information, please contact NDIT Records Management.