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Greetings from Wonderful Wyoming,
 
You are correct, Susan. That is why IT has to be brought in prior to FOIA or discovery requests and be able to testify about what types and how metadata is created and changed within the system. It is also a good hook to develop a team that has discussed these issues and are all on the same page.
 
Regards
 
Rich Wilson
Records Management Supervisor 
Government Records
2301 Central Ave
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0001
Phone: 307-777-5586  Fax: 307-777-7044

E-Mail to and from me, in connection with the transaction of public business, is subject to the Wyoming Public Records Act and may be disclosed to third parties.

>>> On 11/2/2009 at 10:55 AM, in message <[log in to unmask]>, Susan Fitch Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Metadata is produced as part of systems, and depends on the parameters of the system.  Sometimes its good information and sometimes its confusing.  I'm thinking particularly of audit histories which can be accurate but can also give erroneous and mixed messages.  If the courts accept metadata as record they are also going to have to look into the systems that produce the metadata and how those systems function to produce metadata.  
Susan Fitch Brown, CRM, MLS
NetSmith at GAO
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>>> WALLIS Dwight D <[log in to unmask]> 10/30/2009 6:04 PM >>>
Envelopes could be public records (and have been, actually), only when
they have pertinence to a given business or legal need (think postage
cancellation stamps on items required by a certain posting date). I
don't think metadata is any different.

In a constantly evolving environment, "public record" often gets defined
by business need or through the legal system by its pertinence to a
particular issue at hand. This isn't really a new process. In addition,
that information will often obtain value based on its quality (or lack
thereof) as evidence. If it consistently obtains enough value over time,
it reaches a "critical mass" where we have to more intensively manage
it, because it presents both value and risk. 

This seems to be the basic evolution regarding technologies, forms of
data and public records - the management of email has intensified over
time following this pattern to where it represents a significant
expenditure in time and money. This wasn't the case when email first
came onto the scene, and often was viewed as a "telephone conversation".
Many technologies - "information sources" may be a better term - come
into use, last a short period of time, then fall to the wayside, never
to be heard from again. Or, certain types of data continue to bubble
under the surface with nary a peep. They never obtain a status where
they need intensive management - they are not reliable; they are
ephemeral; the information contained is routine; managing them to
achieve the desired quality as evidence would simply be too burdensome
and would require stepping outside any reasonable bounds of "normal
course of business". 

That latter clause is where the rub comes in. The fact that certain
metadata is considered public record in Arizona is really nothing new -
over time the issue will be how the balance is struck between its
reliability/value as evidence, and whether that obtains a status to
where we are forced to intensively manage it to prevent its alteration -
an alteration, as Larry pointed out - that can be purely mechanical in
nature. In addition, an alteration that may be pertinent only as it
becomes evidence in a legal dispute, but not until then. 

The particular decision of this court may be unique regarding the
information source in question, but the process is not. Nor is it unique
to see public attorneys continue to attempt to declare certain data
sources non-public record. Good luck with that!

Dwight Wallis, CRM
Records Administrator
Multnomah County Fleet, Records, Electronics, Distribution and Stores
(FREDS)
1620 S.E. 190th Avenue
Portland, OR 97233
Phone: (503)988-3741
Fax: (503)988-3754
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