California's Secretary of State is statutorily identified as being the custodian of the public archives of the State (Government Code section 12221). To meet this mandate, the California State Archives (CSA), a division of the Secretary of State's office, has developed a State Records Appraisal Program (SRAP) that identifies state agency records with permanent retention value. The records so identified are maintained at the State Archives and are made available for public inspection and research, pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Government Code section 6250, et seq.) and the California Information Practices Act (Civil Code section 1798, et seq.).
CSA's State Records Appraisal Program works in conjunction with California Records and Information Management Program (CalRIM). Overall policy development and coordination of the State Records Management Act (Government Code section 12270, et seq.) falls to CalRIM.
Appraisal of state agency records begins before records are transferred to the State Archives through the review and approval process of state agency records retention schedules. Appraisal Program staff review state agency records retention schedules and "flag" those record series that have probable archival value. Rather than be destroyed at the end of the retention period, flagged record series must be transferred to CSA for further review.
The retention schedule review is the first in a series of appraisal steps and, once the records have been transferred to the Archives, this appraisal process continues. As part of the process it is important to remember that CSA does not keep all records that have been flagged. It should also be noted that once records are transferred to the Archives, they become the responsibility of the Secretary of State and no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the originating agency. In addition, it is imperative to remember that "a record shall not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by an agency of the state, unless it is determined by the Secretary of State that the record has no further administrative, legal, or fiscal value and the Secretary of State has determined that the record is inappropriate for preservation in the State Archives" (Government Code section 12275 (a)). If records are being destroyed without the prior approval of the Secretary of State, the agency is violating the State Records Management Act.
Copies of state agency records retentions schedules are accessible on Athena, the State Archives' online database.
Contacts for Additional Information
For more information on the California State Archives' State Records Appraisal Program, contact Jeff Crawford or Andrew Hyslop. Telephone calls may be directed to (916) 653–7715 or send an email to SRAP.
For research requests, please contact the Reference Desk at 916-653-2246 or via email at: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov. Information about the records at the State Archives can be found on our Collections page or by searching Minerva, our online catalog.