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ECU University History and Records: Digital Records

Guidance on managing university records at ECU, including using the records schedule, digital records, sensitive records, and transferring records with historical value..

Dealing with Digital Records

University records in digital formats are subject to the same retention and disposition instructions as records in other formats. The important factor in records management is informational content, not format. Digital records should be evaluated using the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. 

The following information is general guidance to help you understand more about digital records management. Please contact us to discuss your specific situation in more detail. 

Records Duplicated by Electronic Means

Managing Electronic Records

  • Xtender Electronic Records and Imaging Regulation and Procedures: East Carolina University serves as basic documentation of the procedures followed by the university in imaging, indexing, auditing, backing up, and purging electronic records in accordance with the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, and in handling the original paper records, if applicable. All public records as defined by North Carolina G.S. Section 132-1 are covered by this regulation and accompanying procedures. This includes permanent and non-permanent records, including both confidential and non-confidential records.
  • Xtender Electronic Records and Imaging Regulation and Procedures: East Carolina University also serves to protect those records digitized by ECU's in-house Xtender imaging system, which is the university's solution to create and manage electronic records. This system reduces required storage space for original documents as the University transitions to a "more paperless" digital system and provides instant and simultaneous access to documents as needed.
  • Original non-permanent paper records that have been scanned and indexed in Xtender and undergone an audit of the imaged records for accuracy, readability, and completeness may be destroyed. The Disposal Request Form, must be completed and submitted to Records Management whenever a department wishes to dispose of such records.

Born-digital records

  • "Born-digital" is a term archivists use to distinguish records that were always digital from paper records that we make digital through scanning (also called digitization). When we discuss digital records, we often mean born-digital records. Examples of born digital records are things like email, websites, PowerPoint files, Excel files, or even older formats like WordPerfect files. 
  • Unfortunately there is no silver bullet for keeping born-digital records well organized. The simplest advice is to be proactive in creating and consistently using digital folders that are named descriptively and are understandable to other people. 
  • Try to incorporate the UNC General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule series information into your file organization plan. If you organize things based on record type and disposition timeline, you may save yourself time later. 

Storing Born-Digital Records

  • The key to born-digital records storage is making sure the files are backed-up consistently and any sensitive data is appropriately protected. Many digital storage options are available to ECU employees. You should work with ITCS to address storage and back-up needs.
  • We encourage offices to use modern storage options and address obsolete storage devices. If there are important records currently stored on things like floppy disks or CDs, you should contact ITCS or University Archives to discuss how to deal with these records. 

File Formats

  • We don't require specific file formats for records that will be transferred to the University Archives for permanent retention. You should use file formats that best suit the work your office does. If you'd like to know more about file formats that are better for long-term digital preservation, please contact us.


Schedule a Consultation

To schedule a consultation, please email us at

During the consultation, we will review the digital records form, learn more about your technology environment, and discuss strategies for managing records across your team and/or transferring records to the University Archives.