Digitization of MDH Records

​What Are Digital Records? 

COMAR defines a record as any documentary material in any form created or received by an agency in connection with the transaction of public business. Some of these records are created in a digital format ("born digital") while others are created by scaning recors that are in paper or analog formats (such as microfilm). 

What Is My Responsibility for Digital Records?

The records management responsibilities of public officials apply equally to paper and electronic records. As is the case with paper records, decisions about how long to retain electronic records are based on the record's content rather than its format. And, as with all government records, these retention decisions must be documented in a records retention and disposition schedule approved by the State Archives. MDH Agencies must document intended record disposals via the MDH Records Disposal Request process

What Format Should I Use for Digital Records?

When considering formats for your electronic records, remember that your records must remain accessible throughout the lifecycle of the record. If a format or system becomes obsolete, you must be able to migrate your records into new formats or systems so that the records are maintained through their retention period.​

Permanent records that will be transferred to the Maryland State Archives must be in non-proprietary, open formats that do not require specialized software to access them. The Archives' preferred file formats for permanent records are:

Images: TIFF, jpg, PDF/A (text searchable, if possible), PDF (text searchable, if possible)

Text: rtf, PDF/A (text searchable if possible), PDF (text searchable if possible)


How Should My Agency Prepare for the State Center Move?

​​MDH Administrations included in the State Center Move should:

  • Familiarize yourself with your agency’s retention schedule

  • Familiarize yourself with your Records Coordinator, as they are responsible for overseeing the proper maintenance and disposal of records. Records Management Staff Responsibilities

    • If you are the Records Coordinator for your agency, and you have not submitted your contact information, please click here

  • Records Coordinators should add an addendum to their agency’s retention schedule if digitization language is not already included in the schedule. See Records Retention Schedules for important information on creating an addendum

  • Begin identifying and organizing files that need to be scanned, including removing staples, paper clips, etc.

  • Submit records disposal requests for records that can be destroyed now 

  • Dispose of non-record materials that are not being taken to the new office space

What’s the difference between record and non-record materials?

Important Reminders

Record materials must be disposed of in accordance with your MDH Agency’s retention schedule and must be approved for disposal by MDH’s Records Management Office. Non-record materials do not have to be maintained in accordance with an approved retention schedule and can be thrown away or shredded once they are no longer needed.

All paper materials (non-record or record) containing PHI, PII, HIPAA and privacy related data must be placed in a secured shred bin. Work-related non-records (in paper format) can also be placed in a secured shred bin.​

​​Contact Us 

Maryland Department of Health Records Management Program 
201 W. Preston Street Baltimore, MD 21201 
410-767-5314 office