New Policy Allows Municipalities to Keep Permanent Records Electronically

April 29th, 2019

New Policy Allows Municipalities to Keep Permanent Records Electronically
The Pennsylvania State Archives and Local Government Records Committee are pleased to announce a new policy on permanent electronic records has been added to the Municipal Records Manual. The policy allows municipalities to keep records with permanent retention exclusively in electronic form as long as certain format and storage requirements are met. Copies of the revised manual, a supplemental guidance document, and new FAQ page are now available on the State Archives website. The archives hopes that this policy will help municipalities meet the challenges of 21st century records management, and we are available to answer questions and provide training/assistance to municipalities interested in implementation.
What Does this Mean For Me?
All Pennsylvania municipalities can now maintain records with permanent retention in electronic format without an additional “human readable” (paper or microfilm) copy if they meet certain requirements. For example, permanent electronic records must be kept in the PDF/A file format (note that PDF/A is different from PDF) and must be stored in a live server environment with at least one backed-up copy stored separately. For each series maintained in this manner, municipalities must notify the State Archives using a form found in the manual. Unlike microfilm, the State Archives will not require inspection reports each time original paper copies are destroyed. For complete information about the policy requirements, see the links below.
The policy applies equally to records created electronically and to records that are scanned. This policy only applies to records with permanent retention; non-permanent records do not have any format/storage requirements as long as they remain secure and accessible for the duration of retention. For more information visit the Local Government section of the State Archives website or call 717-787-7330.
Revised Municipal Records Manual with Permanent Electronic Records Policy:

Guidance Document for the Permanent Electronic Records Policy:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Permanent Electronic Records Policy and Implementation Strategies: