As document imaging has become more commonplace, numerous
laws have arisen regarding the legality of imaged paper
and electronic files. Most government agencies now accept
imaged documents as legal records, meaning that the paper
originals can be stored off-site or in some cases destroyed.
Following are some general guidelines shared by many
1. Digitized records must be archived on unalterable media,
such as CD, DVD or WORM.
2. The system has reasonable controls to ensure integrity,
accuracy and reliability.
3. The system must provide some type of audit trail to prevent
and detect unauthorized creation of, addition to, alteration
of or deletion of records.
3. A complete and accurate transfer of records can be made.
4. The system has reasonable controls to prevent and detect
deterioration of records.
5. There is an indexing system that assists with finding records.
6. The system has the ability to print copies of records.
7. The system must be able to cross-reference with other
record-keeping systems and software.
8. The system has documentation on how the software works and
how it has been set up.
The legality of imaged documents varies depending upon the
federal agency, state, county, municipality and department
involved. Organizations should consult with an attorney on
the specific statutes governing their industry and geographica
Here is a good source for information on storing electronic
records by the State of Minnesota: