Five Clerk Best Practices for Future-Proofing Your Records

Written by Megan Asikainen

Five tips for municipal clerks to create digital audio and video records that will be accessible for generations.
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The digital transformation of local government means that now more than ever before your citizens expect to self-service their civic needs from any digital device at any time of the day or night. It also means that modern city and county clerks must embrace the latest evolving technology solutions to offer the level of transparency and access their citizens need. With the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, clerks responsible for historical documentation must find tools and best practices to future-proof everything from documents to audio and visual recordings of public meetings. To help you get started with your own digital transformation, we’ve compiled five best practices from our technology experts.

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  1. 1. Accept the Role as Change Agent. Your local leaders and elected officials will turn to you to identify and implement technology solutions to help the community meets its transparency and engagement goals. You must choose your recommended tools wisely to protect your investment and ensure you are making informed decisions for future generations of municipal clerks. By first accepting your role in the digital transformation of your local government, you take the first step toward improving your processes, and records for citizens now and ten years from now.
  1. 2. Use Data to Inform Your Decision-Making. Use data to help inform the scope of your digital transformation and future-proofing needs. How many years’ worth of video recorded meetings do you have saved on CDs? How many paper meeting minutes do you need to convert to digital? How many requests do you receive every week for transparency documents that you currently pull manually? Understanding the scope of any digitization and file conversion process, as well as your department’s ongoing needs, will help you strategically plan for a budget, software, and staff resources.

3. Talk to Fellow Clerks. Other municipal clerks in your state are valuable resources when it comes to software and process decision-making. Ask some trusted resources about tools and software they use to help them future-proof their documents, video, and audio records. Getting a recommendation on a solution from a trusted resource can give you confidence before you move forward in any software purchase or implementation process.

  1. 4. Keep All Hardware and Software Solutions Updated. One mistake that clerks or any business administrator may make that can put their data at risk of degradation or file corruptibility is to fail to keep hardware and software solutions updated regularly. Work with your solution partners to install regular software updates as they are released. A few minutes of backing up files and upgrading systems a few times a year can save you hours of headaches later if any historical records or data are lost due to software incompatibility.
  1. 5. Choose Popular Software Systems and File Formats. Try not to be tempted to invest in the latest, untested forms of media for your irreplaceable files. Remember that any files you create need to be accessible by your citizens, who will run the spectrum of technology system modernity and software solution access. File formats like PDF, MP3, WAV, MOV, and PNG are well established and accessible on many iOS and Android devices and systems, making them a reliable place to start for digital document, audio, video, and image files.

By taking the time to build and implement a future-proofing strategy for your transparency documents now, you can help fulfill your role of digital preservationist, local historian, and citizen engagement maverick. To see how a modern agenda and meeting management solution can help you ensure transparency and security, click below to take a tour of CivicClerk® from CivicPlus®.

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