Website & Social Media Archiving for Alabama State Agencies

Open Records in Alabama

In the state of Alabama, expectations for records management and sharing of open records are laid out in the Code of Alabama 1975 .Title 41, chapter 13 – defines public records. Title 36, chapter 12 – gives every citizen the right to, “inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state.”

 

How Alabama Defines a Public Record
“Public records” shall include all written, typed or printed books, papers, letters, documents and maps made or received in pursuance of law by the public officers of the state, counties, municipalities and other subdivisions of government in the transactions of public business and shall also include any record authorized to be made by any law of this state belonging or pertaining to any court of record or any other public record authorized by law or any paper, pleading, exhibit or other writing filed with, in or by any such court, office or officer.

 

Social Media Guidance Documents
The Local Governments Records released The “Municipalities Records Disposition Authority” guidance document with additional details on how to comply with the Code of Alabama in regards to websites and social media. Key takeaways:

“In order to provide documentation of such records over time, the proposed disposition calls for a “snapshot” the site to be retained as often as significant changes are made.”“Preserve a complete copy of sites annually, or as often as significant changes are made.”

What is my agency required to do in line with Alabama regulations? Individuals and agencies subject to these provisions must monitor, record and archive in a suitable and easily accessible format all relevant writings, and “[A]t all times shall afford full and detailed information in reference to the activities or business required to be done or carried on by such officer or servant and from which the actual status and condition of such activities and business can be ascertained without extraneous information . . .,” Ala. Code § 36-12-2. There is a broad, two Stone standard of information required to be archived and made available in relation to relevant business and activities – that which is “required by law to kept” and “reasonably necessary”. (Walsh v. Barnes, 541 So. 2d 33, 35 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989).

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