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Oregon Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for Oregon State Agencies

Do you represent an Oregon 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 Oregon?

Oregon’s Public Records Law and Meetings Law (ORS 192.410 to 192.505) attempt to enforce standards to balance the need for efficient governance with the public’s access to information within the State of Oregon.

Do Oregon 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.

“Public record” as defined by ORS 192.410(4) makes it clear that records are broadly defined as including any writing that contains information relating to the conduct of the public’s business, including but not limited to court records, mortgages, and deed records, prepared, owned, used or retained by a public body regardless of physical form or characteristics.

This definition includes information stored on virtually any medium (ORS 192.440(2)). Computer data and printouts generated for use by the public body are public records.

The State e-Governance Board states that like other forms of communication, social media posts are public records and that if employees post comments on other social media sites, they should archive anything that requires retention.

The City of Portland utilises a Social Media Policy to guide agencies (defined therein as “bureaus”) in the retention and use of social media records subject to Oregon Public Record Laws, stating “[T]hose engaged in Social Media activities must be familiar with their Bureau’s record retention schedules and preserve records in accordance with those schedules. (Retention Schedules)”

What agencies are subject to these laws?

ORS 192.420 broadly extends the coverage of the Public Records Law to any public body in the state. ORS 192.410(3) defines the term “public body” as including; “every state officer, agency, department, division, bureau, board and commission; every county and city governing body, school district, special district, municipal corporation, and any board, department, commission, council, or agency thereof; and any other public agency of this state.”

All state and local government instrumentalities are subject to the Public Records Law, including “public corporations” and private entities that have the “functional equivalent” of a public body.

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

Agencies must hold public interest in disclosure in its primary interest when archiving and making available the relevant records. “Custodians” must take “proper and reasonable” steps to accommodate members of the public. Public bodies at every level of government use computers and electronic storage mechanisms extensively.

The public’s access to information depends on its retrieval by public bodies through the use of computer software, and so Public Records Law requires those efforts to retrieve and make available computer or electronically stored data and information, when requested. (ORS 192.440(2)).

When a public body uses computer software or programs to retrieve information for its own purposes, the public body must, upon request, use that same software to retrieve and make available existing data or information stored by the public body in computer or electronic form.

In 2009, the Oregon legislature enacted HB 2500, (codified at ORS 184.480 to 184.488), creating the Oregon Transparency Website to make certain basic information about government readily available to the public and should be maintained and accessible.

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 Oregon 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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Links:

Oregon Public Records
Oregon Records; Public Reports and Meetings
Oregon Public Records Manual

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