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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

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:

Other Standards:

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

Additional Resources

The following resources provide general information on the laws, policy, and regulations that may affect your records.


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February 21, 2012; links updated March 29, 2013.

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