Imaging Records

The guidance on this page gives an overview of digitizing records for state and local agencies and adopting imaging systems.  For information on creating trustworthy digital scans, see our Guidelines for Managing Trustworthy Digital Public Records document available on the Digital Preservation and Access page of this site.

The North Department of Natural and Cultural Resources requires any agency that images its records or maintains electronic records with retention periods of ten or more years to create and sign an Electronic Records and Imaging Policy. The Electronic Records Policy is designed to be used as a self‐evaluation tool to ensure that electronic records produced by county and municipal agencies are able to be retained for the designated retention period and are created, reproduced, and otherwise managed in accordance with the above guidelines and with other guidance produced by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Electronic Records and Imaging Policy replaces the former Self-Warranty Form.


Human-Readable Duplicates

Offices with permanent records shall create a preservation duplicate of those records as described in §132-8.2: "Preservation duplicates shall be durable, accurate, complete and clear..." It is the Department's policy that preservation duplicates should be either a paper or microfilm copy of the original records. Permanent records with certain characteristics require preservation duplicates that are human-readable. The "Human-Readable Preservation Duplicates" policy outlines these characteristics and appropriate formats for human-readable preservation duplicates.


Digital Imaging Systems

This series is intended for state and local agencies considering an imaging (digitization) project and adoption of an imaging system. It was published August 2003. The series is divided into five chapters.

Guidelines for Digital Imaging Systems

  • Phase I: Project Planning
  • Phase II: Technology Assessment and Selection
  • Phase III: System Implementation
  • Suggested Reading
  • Scanning Glossary


Scanning Contracts

This document provides a list of considerations for state and local government agencies as they negotiate contracts with scanning vendors. For tutorials on the Sample Electronic Records and Imaging Policy and on implementing a digital imaging program, see the Records Management Tutorials section of this page. 


Conversion to Microfilm and Destruction

This document describes the fee-based service that the State Archives is able to offer state and local agencies for converting digital records to archival microfilm for low-cost, long-term storage and access. This service is available for both imaged records and born-digital records. The document above indicates which records are eligible, requirements for submission, and the results agencies should expect.


Local Governments

The Request for Destruction of Original Records Duplicated by Electronic Means form is used by local governments to request approval from the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to dispose of non-permanent paper records which have been scanned, entered into databases, or otherwise duplicated through digital imaging or other conversion to a digital environment. This form does not apply to records which have been microfilmed or photocopied, or to records with a permanent retention.


State Agencies

If state government agencies have paper records you wish to scan and retain electronically rather than on paper, in addition to having an approved electronic records policy, you must also get your agency’s Chief Records Officer to approve the Authorization to Destroy Paper Records. For more information, please see the Electronic Records in State Government Agencies page.