Digital archiving is becoming increasingly popular. However, there is still a lot of ambiguity in its regulations which can lead to problems during legal proceedings, when you need to show the archives as proof of action.
Here are some rules you should keep in mind when using digital archiving:
- Archive all Platforms
Up until now, professional digital communication was limited simply to emails. However, while emails are still an important means of digital communication, several new platforms have emerged through which a lot of professional information is being shared.
Social media platforms like Instagram are being used on a large scale by several organizations. Communication through official websites and blogs is also increasing. When you archive your digital data, you must ensure that you archive every single platform where you’ve communicated with someone. There are several regulations that don’t require it but there are also quite a few that do, so, it’s better to stay on the safe side and keep a record of all your digital communications.
- Store Archived Data based on your requirement
Once you archive all your communications on every platform, you need to decide upon the time period till which you will retain the records. For cultural institutions, it is common to store the archived data for long periods of time, even indefinitely. For business organizations, it depends on their own estimates and when it comes to government organizations, there is almost always a pre-specified time limit. For this, you might need to find some alternatives for a traditional Wayback Machine.
If the data you are storing is not something that needs to be saved indefinitely, you should make sure that you preserve it for at least about three years. While it is recommended that you don’t shorten this time period, you can surely increase it depending on your organization’s requirements and policy.
- Use Original file-formats to store archived data
According to most recordkeeping laws, a simple screenshot from your archiving system should be considered an admissible proof in any legal institution. However, some laws do specify that certain industries need to present the archived data in a particular format to make it legal.
The first thing you should do is look for any specific file format that the laws require your industry to maintain. If you don’t find anything specific to your industry, you can maintain screenshots. Though, to make sure that you never get into a legal pickle over the screenshots, you should store the data in the original file formats. Doing this will ensure that whenever you need to present these records in a legal proceeding, no one will be able to point out any flaws.
- Collect Metadata from the archived pages
In any legal proceeding where you have to show the archived data, the most important thing will be to be able to prove that they are authentic. If you fail to do so, there will be little use for the data. That is why we asked you to store the data in its original file format. Not just that, you also need to store the metadata of every archived page.
Metadata is a detailed description of different aspects of a piece of digital data. For example, any social media post’s metadata would include the name of the person who posted it, the time, the date, the account name, the server address and so on. You should also include a timestamp to every archived screenshot. All of this will help you present an accurate picture of what happened on the archived pages on a given day.
- Ensure Records Are Indexed and Searchable
The foremost reason why digital archiving gained popularity in the first place is that it makes it much easier to find out any information from the records which is not the case in physical archives. You should make sure your work is further reduced by ensuring that all of the archived data is properly indexed.
To ensure that all of your archived data is following the legal regulations, you should use Stillio. It will automatically archive all the pages you want to and will store the screenshots on a cloud-based system in a way that fulfills all the legal requirements so that you never have to worry.