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North Dakota Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for North Dakota State Agencies

Do you represent a North Dakota 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 North Dakota?

North Dakota Open Records Statute (N.D.C.C. §44-04-18 et seq.) and North Dakota Open Meetings Statute N.D.C.C. §44-04-19 et seq. govern social media and open records in the State of North Dakota.

Like other states, North Dakota has “Sunshine Laws” which provide that all government records and meetings must be open to the public (unless a specific statute requires or authorizes a meeting or record to be closed).

Do North Dakota State Records Laws include Website and Social Media content?

Yes they do. NARA state that that 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.

Any communication with a North Dakota public agency or official relating to public business and other information relating to official business or public funds, regardless of format or location are subject to these regulations.

North Dakota law defines records as, “recorded information of any kind, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which the information is stored, recorded, or reproduced, which is in the possession or custody of a public entity or its agent and which has been received or prepared for use in connection with public business or contains information relating to public business.”

What agencies are subject to these laws?

All North Dakota public entities are subject to both open records and open meetings laws. The definition of public entity includes state and local government agencies, rural fire and ambulance districts, public schools, private businesses or non-profit organizations that are supported by or expending public funds, and contractors, if the contractor is providing services in place of a public entity rather than providing services to that entity. Courts are not subject to open records and meetings law.

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

In this technological age, as public entities increase their use of and dependence on electronic recordkeeping, they must provide reasonable access to records electronically maintained and must ensure that exempt or confidential records are not disclosed except as otherwise permitted by law. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18(3).

An agency must also establish procedures for providing access from an outside location to any electronically filed or stored information maintained by the entity. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18(5).

In which form do I need to archive my records?

The requestor has the option of accessing an electronically stored record in either a printed medium or through any other available medium. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18(4). A computer file is not considered an available medium if no means exist to separate or prevent the disclosure of any closed or confidential information contained in the file. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18(4).

North Dakota legislation states that an entity does not have to convert its records to another format, create or compile records that do not exist, or obtain records originating from another public entity that it does not have in its possession.

How can we transfer website archives made with PageFreezer to the North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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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