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New Jersey Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for New Jersey State Agencies

Do you represent a New Jersey 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 New Jersey?

Open Public Records Act P.L. 2001, CHAPTER 404 N.J.S. 47:1A-1 et seq. commonly known as the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) governs Open Records Laws in the State of New Jersey, replacing the old “Right to Know Law”. This Act expands public’s access to records, creates an administrative appeals process and defines records.

Do New Jersey State Records Laws include Website and Social Media content?

Yes they do. NARA state that it 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.

Record” means “any paper, written or printed book, document … information stored or maintained electronically … or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file in the course of his or its official business by any officer, commission, agency or authority of the State … or that has been received in the course of his or its official business by any such… authority of the State or of any political subdivision.”

A public record is required to be kept by law, to serve as evidence of something written, said, or done by an agent authorized to perform that function, or a writing filed in a public office. The elements essential to constitute a public record are that it be a written memorial, that it be made by a public officer, and that the officer be authorized by law to make it.

What agencies are subject to these laws?

Only “public agencies” are subject to the provisions of OPRA. OPRA defines a “public agency” as: The executive branch of state government and all independent state agencies and authorities.

This includes all state colleges and universities; The Legislature of the State and any office, board, bureau or commission within or created by the Legislative Branch; All counties, municipalities, school districts, fire districts, planning and zoning boards and other county and local boards or agencies, and all independent county or local agencies and authorities established by municipal or county governments. N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1

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

OPRA’s definition of a government record expands the old Right to Know Law definition (which was limited to records required by law to be maintained on file). OPRA states that an agency must permit access to records and provide a copy of the record(s) in the medium requested, if the public agency maintains the record in that medium. If the custodian does not maintain the record in the medium requested, he/she must convert the record to the medium requested; or provide the record in some other meaningful medium.

In which form do I need to archive my records?

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

How can we transfer website archives made with PageFreezer to the New Jersey State 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 Oregon 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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Citizen’s Guide to OPRA