Media and Formats

Media & Formats

Oregon public records laws Oregon Revised Statutes 192.005 (5) define a public record as "a document, book, paper, photograph, file, sound recording, machine readable electronic record, or other material . regardless of physical form." This page contains information, guidelines and procedures relating to the various media and formats.

Photographs (analog photos, negatives, slides) & Sound & Video Recordings (audio tapes and cassettes, video tapes and cassettes, CDs, DVDs)

Formats: The Archives accepts photographs and sound and video recordings in a variety of formats:

  • Analog photographs and negatives
  • Digital photographs
  • Slides
  • Video and audio tapes, cassettes, and compact disks
  • Films

Criteria for selecting photographs and sound/video recordings

  • Good-quality in terms of content and composition and production values.
  • Depict activities, persons, buildings, objects, or scenes that have historical, administrative or legal value.
  • Record events, interviews, speeches, or other activities that have historical, administrative or legal value.

Procedures for sending photographs and sound/video recordings to the Archives

  • Consult the Archivist about whether the Archives can accept a specific format.
  • Materials in non-paper formats should be packed separately from paper records when transferred to the Archives.
  • Materials in non-paper formats must be listed on the Transmittal Form / Contents List with the following information:
    • Descriptive title/name
    • Subject of photo or recording (name of person, place, department, activity)
    • Date of activity
    • Technical data if in electronic format
    • Creator (photographer, videographer, recorder)

Digital Photographs

Digital Images - Born Digital: The Archives accepts digital photographs that were taken with a digital camera. If printed copies of digital photographs exist, those copies may be transferred to the Archives along with the digital images.

Digital Images - Scanned: The Archives will also accept digital photographs that have been scanned from an existing photograph. The original analog photograph and its negative should also be sent to the Archives. The Archives may chose to preserve digital / scanned images, along with the analog master/original copy, for exhibit, research and access purposes.

Criteria and Guidelines for Selecting, Capturing and Preserving Digital Photographs

  • Digital photographs should be captured in JPEG or TIFF format (compression of 75 or greater).
  • Images should be captured in a medium to high resolution (150 pixels/inch or higher).
  • Digital photographs should be stored in a non-proprietary storage format.
  • Digital photographs should be transferred to the Archives on good-quality CDs, floppy disks or as email attachments.
  • Digital photographs are subject to archival evaluation standards and selection procedures. Digital photographs should be of good quality in terms of content and composition.
  • CDs or disks must be labeled and consecutively numbered.
  • Digital photographs should be accompanied by an inventory listing the following information for each image:
    • Descriptive file or photograph title/name
    • Subject of photo (name of person, place, department, or activity)
    • Date of activity / when the photo was taken (not the date copied, stored, or last opened)
    • Format (JPEG or TIFF)
    • Size (# of bytes)
      • Resolution (# of pixels)

Electronic Records

Public records laws and records management practices apply to all public records, regardless of format. 

  • Oregon law includes electronic information and record formats in its definition of public records - ORS 192.005 (5).
  • Records retention guidelines and access to information contained in electronic formats are subject to the same provisions as paper-based records.
  • The goal of electronic preservation is to preserve born digital materials in a usable, cost-effective manner.

Retention & Accessibility

  • Electronic records must be retained and accessible for as long as the records retention schedule mandates.
  • Electronic records require routine system backup.
  • Electronic records require periodic copying or migration to new hardware and software systems and storage media and formats.

Criteria for Selecting Electronic Records

  • The electronic format should be the official copy of the records.
  • The electronic format should provide ease of access and search capabilities.
  • A paper copy of the records is not available.
  • The records are in a format acceptable and usable by the Archives.

Administrative Systems and Databases

The records retention schedule and public records laws apply to information and records stored on large administrative and instructional systems and databases (including Banner). These systems are not managed by the Archives. Contact Information Technology for assistance in storing, preserving, and accessing information and records stored on these large systems.

Electronic Formats - The Archives will accept records in electronic formats, such as:

  • text documents (word processing and desktop publishing files)
  • graphics (digital photographs and images)
  • electronic publications
  • web-based records

Procedures for Transferring Electronic Records to the Archives

  • Consult with the Archivist to make sure the electronic records meet the necessary criteria and are acceptable by the Archives.
  • Electronic records may be transferred to the Archives on CDs, DVDs, or as attachments to email.
  • CDs, or DVDs should be properly labeled and consecutively numbered.
  • Electronic records must be accompanied by a Transmittal Form / Contents List that includes:
    • File information
      • Type (eg. MS Word 2002)
      • Dates
      • Size (in KB)
      • Author or creator
      • Number and type of media (CDs, floppy disks)
    • Content information
      • Department name
      • Series title
      • Dates
      • Complete list of file name

Destruction of Confidential Electronic Records

  • Electronic records that contain confidential information must be disposed of or destroyed in ways that protect confidentiality.
  • Diskettes should be destroyed. Reformatting, deleting, or erasing files stored on disks does not ensure complete destruction of the information.
  • Hard drives should be reformatted or destroyed so that confidential information is totally obliterated.
  • Contact Computer Services or the college archivist for advice concerning destruction of confidential electronic records.

Document Imaging / Digital Imaging

Document or digital imaging systems that store digitized public records can be an excellent solution for managing information, for storing and preserving records and for providing access to records. The nature of digital imaging technology and the rapid technological changes pose records management challenges. 

The Oregon State Archives has issued rules governing digital imaging (OAR 166-017).

  • The life expectancy of the digital imaging system must be as long as, or longer than, the retention period of the records it stores.
  • Access to digitized records must be maintained for the length of the retention period.
  • All documents in a digital imaging system must be indexed and retrievable.
  • Any digital imaging system, equipment or software used to store or retrieve public records must adequately provide for the rights of the public to access and copy public records.
  • Public records with a scheduled retention period of less than 100 years may be stored on optical disks and the original record may be disposed of as long as the images are copied onto new optical disks after no more than ten years; images stored on optical disks must be recopied until the retention period of the original public record has been satisfied.
  • Public records with a scheduled retention period of more than 100 years may be stored on optical disk devices providing that the original records are retained in hard copy or on microfilm for the entire scheduled retention period.


  • Electronic email may be a public record.
  • Retention is based on content, not format.
  • Retention is based upon the information contained in the message or its attachment, not on its electronic format.
  • Retention is determined by the appropriate records retention schedule guidelines.

Managing Email - Decisions:

  • What is it?
    • Content
    • Value
    • Official copy
    • Attachment
  • How long should it be kept?
    • Refer to the Records Retention Schedule
  • Who should save it?
  • How should it be stored/preserved?
    • Printed copy?
      • Print and file with other office correspondence or administrative files.
    • Electronic copy?
      • Do not store or preserve it in Gmail.
      • Save it in an appropriate electronic records management system.

Maps, Posters, Architectural Drawings, and Other Large Formats

  • The Archives accepts records in large paper formats such as maps, blue prints, architectural drawings, and posters.
  • Contact the Archivist for details and advice in preserving these types of records and transferring them to the Archives.


  • Micrographics is an effective medium for the long-term preservation of public records. Micrographics provides a number of benefits including storage security; easy recovery and retrieval in case of loss, theft, or damage; file integrity eliminating misfiling or alteration of information; economy and savings regarding storage costs; inexpensive duplication and distribution; and quick and accurate retrieval of information.  The Oregon State Archives has issued rules and standards (OAR 166-025) concerning micrographics that "insure the informational content of public records is protected for the life of the record." Contact the Archivist for advice concerning whether records should be microfilmed.
  • Contact the Micrographics specialist concerning the microfilming of records

Web Sites / Web-based Records & Publications

The Archives maintains a Web Archives for preservation of web sites that contain official college records and publications.


  • Web-based Records: These are records that have traditionally been created and preserved in paper format and that are listed in record retention schedules with permanent or long-term retentions. These types of records are now often posted on web sites and the web-based record may be considered the official copy of that record. Examples of these records are audits, budgets, committee minutes and reports, and policy and procedure statements.
  • Web-based Publications: Electronic versions of published information that are posted on web sites. Examples of these types of publications are annual reports, directories, brochures, newsletters, college catalogs, class schedules, and syllabi.

Criteria for Selecting Web Sites for Preservation

  • Web sites contain records with administrative, legal, financial, or historical value. Web-based records have long-term retentions as specified by the Records Retention Schedule. Web sites contain records or publications that are official copies of those records. Web sites contain records or publications that are not captured or preserved by traditional record-keeping systems. The records and publications on a web site may be useful in serving the current or future informational needs of the college. The records and publications on a web site may be the best source or preferred format for those records because they are searchable and provide efficient access to that information.
  • If the record or official copy of records or publications is available and accessible in paper format, the paper format becomes the official copy for preservation purposes and the web-based version is not preserved.

Procedures for Preserving Web Sites

  • When web sites are developed, web designers should take into consideration the preservation implications of their web sites. Web content managers, the college webmasters, and the archivist consult to select web sites for preservation. Capture the web sites on a CD-R (gold reflective surface, not compressed) and transfer to the Archives. Management of web sites selected for preservation is transferred to the Web Archives and into the custody of the Archives.
  • Transfer to the Archives is documented with a log that contains management history, content, and technical data about the web sites. Contact the Archivist for details about the log.