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Montana Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for Montana State Agencies

Do you represent a Montana State Government Agency and wondering how you should archive all your web and social media content? Are you trying to determine what you need to do both from a legal and a technical point of view? Here’s a guide to the different Laws and processes you should follow.

What Laws govern Records Management in the State of Montana?

The Montana Public Records Act governs open and social media records in the State of Montana. (Montana Public Records Act (Montana Code Annotated, Title 2, Chapter 6)).

Do Montana Records Laws include Website and Social Media content?

Yes, they do. NARA state that there is a “[P]ublic expectation that all web content is both permanently valuable and accessible” – and so social media and web records are subject to these standards as well as the relevant metadata being pertinent to these laws.

Subject to this state legislation, records are defined as, “any paper, correspondence, form, book, photograph, microfilm, magnetic tape, computer storage media, map, drawing, or other document, including copies of the record required by law to be kept as part of the official record, regardless of physical form or characteristics…” This definition covers communication to or made by the relevant agencies and governing bodies on official websites and social media accounts as public record. (§ 2-6-110, MCA)

What agencies are subject to these laws?

Montana Public Records Act applies to records and communication (unless protected from disclosure by other legal or authoritative measures) made by or concerning; “the sovereign authority, of official bodies and tribunals, public officers, legislative, judicial, and executive, whether of this state, of the United States, of a sister state, or of a foreign country”.

What is my agency required to do in line with these regulations?

Your agency website must be retained in electronic format and remain usable, searchable, retrievable and authentic for the length of the designated retention period as established by the agency and/ or form of record in question and content placed on state agency social media should be moderated by an authorized, trained staff member.

In addition to these regulations, Montana Secretary of State’s General Records Retention Schedules states any Montana agency using Social Media platforms must post a disclaimer or statement on the site in question stating that communications from that social networking site are presumed to be public records, and could be disclosed to third parties upon request.

In which form do I need to archive my records?

Web sites must be retained in their original format: HTML, CSS, PDF, etc.

How can we transfer website archives made with PageFreezer to the Montana Digital Archives?

PageFreezer exports all data on request in the original file format including the required metadata. This data set can be transferred by FTP or by other means to the Montana State or Agency Digital Archives.

How can PageFreezer help our agency?

PageFreezer has been working on our Archiving technology and processes since 2006 – We know how to properly archive Web Sites, Blogs and Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. Just ask any of our over 500 clients including US Cities, Counties and other Government Agencies as well as Multinationals, Financial Service Firms, Healthcare Providers …

Our clients know our technology is secure, reliable and authenticated. More importantly they appreciate the ease-of-use.

That’s why our complex technology is simple to use – The archiving is automatic and retrieval is a matter of signing in, going to the date you want, and browsing your site just like you did when the content was just published.

If you have questions about any of this or about how to actually implement effective Online Public Records management start a free trial, schedule a demo or contact us directly.

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