Center for Archival Resources On Legislatures (CAROL)
Foundations: Legal Requirements
You are responsible for following legal requirements and mandates that apply to the records you manage. Current legislation can be used to guide best practices for records management specifically in regards to freedom of information, privacy concerns, electronic records, and the importance of retention schedules. Be aware that both federal and state laws may apply to your records and the data within them.
There are consequences to not following the legal requirements as stated by law. E-discovery over the past few years has become commonplace. More and more case laws provide insight into what happens to organizations who do not follow through on 'legal hold' responsibilities or who are charged with spoliation (intentional or un-intentional destruction of items involved in litigation). Decisions made by many states tend to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure rulings.
Select State Laws in Minnesota
- Official Records Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 15.17)
- Records Management Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 138.17 and Chapter 138.19)
- Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13)
- UETA: Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 325L)
Many individual states also have sites dedicated to this topic.
Select Federal Laws
- COPPA: Children's Online Privacy Protection Act 1998
- E-Sign: Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce
- FOIA: Freedom of Information Act (2007)
- GPEA: Government Paperwork Elimination Act 2003
- SOX: Sarbanes Oxley, Financial and Accounting Disclosure
- NAGARA: National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators
- AIIM: Providing education, research, and information on best practices to organizations to help find, control, and optimize their information.
- ANSI: American National Standards Institute
- ARMA: Records management professional association
Case Law Examples
Blogs and other Resources with description of case law examples:
- Practical E-discovery
- Electronic Data Records Law, How to Win E-Discovery
- Electronic Discovery Law, E-Discovery Case Database
- Annotated case law on Electronic Discovery, updated 2006
ISO 15489:Information and Documentation Records Management; covers authenticity, reliability, integrity, and usability
DOD 5015.2: Electronic Records management Software Application Design Criteria Standard (April 25, 2007)
ISO /TS 23081: Information and Documentation, Record Management Processes, Metadata for Records, 2007
The following resources provide general information on the laws, policy, and regulations that may affect your records.
- Search current and past federal legislation at: THOMAS
- National Archives Information on Federal Laws, Policy, and Regulations for Record Management
- Laws, Statutes, and Regulations listed by state as compiled by COSA (Council of State Archivists)
- Legal Information Institute (LII) Cornell University Law School; provides general background information on legal topics as well as links to individual laws
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February 21, 2012; links updated March 29, 2013.