The General Statutes of North Carolina, Chapter 132, provides this definition of public records: "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data- processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government.
There may be federal or state statutes or regulations that designate a public record as confidential. While this record is still a “public record” according to the definition of N.C. Gen. Stat. 132, it is not accessible via a public records request.
After you have signed and approved your records retention and disposition schedule, records should be destroyed in one of the ways listed below, depending on the nature of the records:
Paper records should be destroyed in one of the following ways:
- burned, unless prohibited by local ordinance;
- shredded or torn so as to destroy the record content of the documents or materials concerned;
- placed in acid vats so as to reduce the paper to pulp and to terminate the existence of the document or materials concerned; or
- sold as waste paper, provided that the purchaser agrees in writing that the documents or materials concerned will not be resold without pulverizing or shredding the documents so that the information contained within cannot be practicably read or reconstructed.
Electronic records should be destroyed in this way:
- the data and metadata are to be overwritten, deleted, and unlinked so the data and metadata may not be practicably reconstructed.
Confidential records or records containing confidential information, whether paper or electronic, should be destroyed in this way:
- the data, metadata, and physical media are to be destroyed in such a manner that the information cannot be read or reconstructed under any means.
The short answer is yes, but there are a number of boxes your agency must check before being able to dispose of the paper.
- You first need to approve the current retention and disposition schedule.
- You need to get an electronic records policy approved by DNCR.
- You need to get specific authorization to destroy the paper records you have scanned. Look under Forms and Templates to find the appropriate form for your office.
Detailed information about how to store records temporarily at the State Records Center or transfer archival records to the State Archives, along with a link to a video about boxing records, can be found on the State Records Center page.
Local health departments should mail disinterment/reinterment permits to:
Records Description Unit
Government Records Section
NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
4615 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4615