Records are generated by state government agencies to fulfill the requirements of state law. These records are created to assist government agencies in fulfilling their legal mandates. A small percentage of the records which agencies generate are preserved to 1) protect individual citizens’ rights, 2) to allow government agencies to conduct business in an efficient manner, 3) to afford citizens access to records with which they can hold government and government officials accountable for their actions, and 4) to maintain records which have historical values which were unintended when they were created.
The Code of Iowa provides that all records created in the course of conducting state business are public records. Iowa has established a State Records Management Program with a State Records Commission comprised of ranking state officials to evaluate records as they are created to determine how long individual records must be preserved to protect Iowa’s citizens and to assure the ability of government to conduct business.
The State of Iowa Records Management Manual identifies records by series and establishes the time-frames for preservation of these records. Records Officers for each agency of state government assist their agency officials with identification of records series and assists with transferring permanent records to the custody of the State Archives of Iowa. Records officers may request assistance in records management questions from the State Archives and Records Program.
Guides to records from individual state agencies at the State Archives are available in the State Historical Society of Iowa’s reading room in Des Moines. See the listing of State of Iowa Record Groups.