Case Study: Suffolk County, NY, Records Management
COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, NY
Tagence visited our records storage facility and took the time to understand our system before suggesting improvements. With their help, we reorganized our shelf numbering system, and created a workflow to allow remote offices to print their own barcode labels and request records pickup online. — Chris Naples, Suffolk County Supervisor Systems Analyst
Departments integrated: 27
HPRM users: 50
Physical boxes to be cataloged: 50,000+
Number of retention schedules: 60+
Physical storage areas integrated: 11
Workflows in use: 5
Suffolk County, New York is among the oldest and most populous counties in the country. Over the course of its 334-year history, it has accumulated a substantial quantity of physical records in the county Records Management Center, a warehouse previously used to assemble BOMARC missiles during the Cold War. The archives staff used a simple Access database to keep track of the thousands of boxes and artifacts in the warehouse.
New York’s State Archives determined that electronic records management is a huge challenge for local governments and is the weakest part of most local government records management programs, so made grant funding available to local governments for pilot programs designed to tackle the challenge. Suffolk County’s archives staff defined requirements for a modern Records Management Application (RMA) that would effectively handle both electronic and physical records in the same system, and obtained a grant to meet the electronic records pilot goals and incorporate the existing physical archives into the new electronic system.
The requirement for a robust physical records management as an integral component of the system led Tagence to select HPE Content Manager (HPCM) as the software component of the solution. Out of the box, HPCM tracks physical records via the space management module that allows for structured warehouse-style object storage tracking and location-based physical tracking.
Tagence and Suffolk County project team members redesigned the shelf numbering scheme in the Records Management Center and configured the HPCM space management module to match the new scheme. State disposition schedules were mapped to record types and entered. Data from the legacy Access database was cleaned up, validated and imported into the new system.
After documenting existing processes and visiting the Records Management Center to observe firsthand how they functioned in practice, Tagence worked with County staff to translate the existing manual procedures into electronic workflows and forms that can be used for the legacy physical records, newly-created physical records, and newly-created electronic records. The new electronic system enabled consistency of practice, and enforces standardized metadata terms across the entire county.
Tagence held in-person classroom training for all users and in-depth training for system administrators, and provided Quick Reference Guides customized for the County’s HPCM configuration to each user.
Compliant records management
Each county department, from the Police Department to Public Works to the Human Rights Commission, now can log into the County HPCM portal and request a records pickup from the County Records Management Center. This starts a structured workflow process that manages the records from labeling through ingestion, inventory, tracking, storage, retrieval and disposition in compliance with New York State’s records retention schedule.
Rapid search and retrieval
County staff can now search for records using partial words, fragments or word collections, with Boolean search logic, and quickly see a complete result set. Because the metadata attached to each record is standardized, search filters produce reliable, repeatable results. Commonly-used search filters can be saved for use by all users or by each individual user.
HPCM’s layered security scheme grants access only to the records each user requires, and maintains a full audit log of all actions taken on any given record.
A full integration with Microsoft Office allows County staff to declare records directly into HPCM, without the need to save, print, scan or otherwise handle the record multiple times. Pre-formatted templates speed up data entry and maintain consistency.
ABOUT SUFFOLK COUNTY
Suffolk County is the fourth most populated county in New York. The Suffolk County Clerk, in addition to serving as Registrar, is the duly designated Records Management Officer (RMO) for all County agencies and departments, exclusive of the District Attorney, Family Court and District Court. As one of the largest employers on Long Island, Suffolk County Government employs approximately 10,00 people in 800 job titles in 22 departments.