Wisconsin State Laws on Optical Images
State Archivist and Records Manager:
Peter Gottlieb, State Archivist
State Historical Society 816 State St. Madison, WI 53706
608-264-6450 fax: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan E. Davis, Asst. State Archivist
Virginia Fritzsch, Local Government Records
Brenda Burk, State Records Archivist
Electronic Records Archivist
Records Mgmt.Steven B. Hirsch, Chief Records Mgmt.
Dept. of Administration
4622 University Ave. Madison, WI 53702
608-266-2996 fax: email@example.com
I was asked to respond to your query of December 26. The appropriate statutes
can be found at the following web address:
The statutes are maintained by the Legislative Reference Bureau in Acrobat
PDF files. The laws and Wis. Supreme Court Rules can be found on Lexus/
Nexus as well as the statutes. The pertinent statutes are:
· Wis. Stat. 16.61
· Wis. Stat. 19.21
· Wis. Stat. 59.145
· Wis. Laws - Wisconsin Act 201 (1995) Senate Bill 639
· Wis. Supreme Court Rules (SCR) Chap. 72.05
I have also enclosed a copy of the administrative rule relating to optical
If you have further questions feel free to contact me.
Electronic Records Archivist
TRANSFER OF PUBLIC RECORDS TO OPTICAL IMAGING
Adm 12.01 Authority
Adm 12.02 Purpose
Adm 12.03 Definitions
Adm 12.04 Process required for convexion o/records to optical
Adm 12.05 Records accessibility
Adm 12.06 Records privacy
Adm 12.07 Records protection
Adm 12.08 Other provisions
Adm 12.09 Additional guidance
Adm 12.01 Authority. This chapter is promulgated under
the authority of ss. 16.004 (1), 16.611 (2) (a) and (c),
16.612 and 227.11 (2) (a), Stats., to implement s. 16.61,
Adm 12.02 Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to au-
thorize state Mendes and counties to maintain records on
any optical imaging system that accurately reproduces or
forms a durable medium for recordhig the original infor-
mation, subject to the requirements of this rule.
Adm 12.03 Definitions. In this chapter.
(1) "Accurately reproduces" means that when displayed
on a retrieval device or reproduced on paper, all informa-
tion exhibits a high degree of legibility and readability.
(2) "Board" means the public records and forms board.
(3) "Legibility" means the quality of a letter or numeral
that enables the observer to identify it positively and
quickly to the exclusion of all other letters or numerals.
(4) "Optical disk" has the meaning specified in s. 990.01
(5) "Optical imaging" has the meaning specified in s.
990.01 (25r), Stats.
(6) "Public records" has the meaning specified hi s. 16.61
(7) "Readability" means the quality of a group of letters
or numerals behig recognized as words or complete num-
(8) "Records" for county government has the meaning
specified hi s. 19.32 (2), Stats.
(9) "Records series" has the meaning specified hi S. 16.61
(2) (c), Stats.
(10) "Retention schedule" has the meaning specified hi
s. 16.61 (2) (cm), Stats.
(11) "State agencies" has the meaning specified hi s.
16.61 (2) (d), Stats.
(12) "WORM" system means an optical imaging system
that can be Written-Once-but-Read-Many tunes.
Adm 12.04 Process required for conversion of rocords to
optical Imaging. (1) A feasibility study shall be completed
by each state agency or county that wishes to utilize opti-
cal imaging. The study shall include an analysis of the
ongoing costs, costs compared to current costs of doing
bushie.as and conversion coats.
(2) The feasibility study shall also include sufficient in-
formation to do all of the following.
(a) Determine if the records are public records as speci-
fied hi s. 16.61 (2) (b), Stats., for state agencies or s. 19.32
(2), Stats., for counties.
(b) Categorize and group related records into records se-
ries to facilitate analysis.
(c) Document the records series and record keeping
practices, particularly filing procedures for the records se-
(d) Identify the needs of established users of the records
and records series both inside and outside the state agency
or county department. State-wide or county-wide legal,
fiscal, administrative and historical record values shall be
considered hi the identification, analysis and appraisal
(3) Establish retention schedules that determine the
length of time records or records series must be main-
tained prior to destruction or transfer of records to a
(a) State agencies shall submit records retention sched-
ules for records to be converted to optical imaging for ap-
proval by the board prior to maintaining the records series
on any optical disk system.
(b) For counties, a county ordinance determining how
long records must be maintained shall be adopted by a
county board and approved, if necessary, by the board
under s. 19.21 (5) (c), Stats.
Adm 12.05 Records accessibility. State agencies and
(1) Maintain adequate safeguards against tampering
with and loss of records or records series, consistent with
the established retention periods for the records or records
Resister, June, 1993, No. 450
(2) Assure that records or records series maintained on
optical imaging systems can be made available to the pub-
lic in conformance with es. 19.21 to 19.39, Stats.
(3) Maintain and arrange all records and records series
and their related indexes in a manner that permits prompt
location and retrieval.
(4) Provide any hardware and software that is needed
for locating, reading and promptly reproducing on paper
any records or records series retained on optical imaging
systems. Hardware and software shall be available and in
good working order at designated state and county offices.
Maintenance of the hardware and software shall be pro-
vided by state agencies or counties utilizing the optical
(5) Protect identified records or records series with sec-
ondary values from destruction and make arrangements
to transfer these records or records series and the technical
documentation of the optical imaging system to the ap-
propriate party when indicated persuant to the approved
retention schedule or county records retention ordinance.
Legal ownership of records identified as having historical
value transfers to the state historical society of Wisconsin,
under the terms of the established retention schedule or
Adm 12.06 Records privacy. (1) State agencies and coun-
ties shall assure that confidential or restricted access to
records or records series maintained on optical imaging
systems are managed in a manner that limits access to
those persons authorized by law, administrative rule or es-
tablished agency policy.
(2) Records or records series that have reached their ap-
proved retention period and do not have secondary value
shall be routinely destroyed. For WORM systems, de*
struction of indexes to obsolete records is sufficient, al-
though if possible counties or state agencies should struc-
ture records or records series converted to WORM
terns so that the WORM disk as a whole can be destroyed.
Adm 12.07 Rocords protoction. A WORM system is rec-
ommended for transferring public records or records series
to optical imagine systems, although all optical formats
are acceptable. For records or records series with historical
values as determined in s. Adm 12.04 (3), counties or state
agencies shall offer the original records to the state histori-
cal society of Wisconsin after verification. The state his-
torical society may, on a case-by-case basis, choose to de-
cline acceptance of historical records converted to optical
disks. Counties and state agencies shall cooperate with the
state historical society to protect records or records series
with secondary historical values. For public records with
10 years through permanent retention periods, it is recom-
mended, although not required, that the originals be re-
tained for the duration of the established retention period
either in hard copy or on microfilm that meets state stan-
dards. State agencies and counties must be aware of the
need to maintain long term readability and intelligibility
of information stored on optical imaging systems in light
of the higher risk of loss due to hardware and software de-
pendency. State agencies and counties shall develop and
implement procedures that include, at a minimum, the fol-
(1) Maintaining 2 copies of all records or records series
on optical imaging systems using accepted computer
backup procedures. One periodically updated copy shall
be stored for the full required retention period at a sepa-
rate location with automatic fire suppression capability
that can provide a stable environment on a year-round ba-
sis. A constant temperature of 65-75' Fahrenheit and a
constant relative humidity level of 30-50% shall be main-
tained. The environment shall not have high levels of par-
(2) Verifying the legibility and readability of a statisti-
cally significant sampling of record images to ensure that
the images axe legible and readable. Original images that
are not legible or readable, shall be flagged to alert users.
(3) Conducting 'inspections of a statistically significant
sampling of images stored on optical imaging systems at
least once every 3 years to verify that there has been no
degradation of image quality.
(4) Transferring and verifying records or records stored
on an optical disk to a new optical disk before the manu-
facturer's certified useful life of the original disk is ex-
(s) Prior to upgrading or replacing an optical imaging
system with an incompatible new system, converting the
records and indexes to the records stored on the old system
into the new system before the old system is taken out of
service. This conversion includes verification procedures.
Adm 12.08 Other provisions. (1) Any state agency or
county may utilize paper, microfilm or optical imaging or
combinations of the three, as media for records or records
storage. Any system of records shall be used consistently
and shall be relied upon in the regular course of business as
being accurate, reliable and trns orthy.
(2) Any state agency or county utilizing optical imaging
technology shall develop procedures to expunge records if
required to do so by court order. For WORM systems, de-
struction of indexes to expunged records is acceptable.
Adm 12.09 Additional guidance. State agencies and
counties are encouraged to follow the guidelines detailed
in the report entitled, Digital Imaging and Optical Media
Storage Systems.' Guidelines for State and Local Government
Agencies (A Joint Report by the National Archives and
Records Administration and the National Association of
Government Archives and Records Administrators), Decem-
ber, 1991 in planning for optical imaging projects.
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