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Frequently Asked Questions from “The Art of Records Requests: Tips, Tricks, and Insights from the Front Lines”

March 1, 2024

15 min read

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In the information age, public records management has become an increasingly complex and demanding task. This was captured during Reveal’s recent webinar, “The Art of Records Requests: Tips, Tricks, and Insights from the Front Lines”  with Sylvia Bermudez, the Clerk of the Board at Coachella Valley Water District, and Jordan Elle, General Counsel at Tempe Tri-District Legal Services, moderated by George Socha, SVP of Brand Awareness at Reveal. Please see below for some frequently asked questions about record requests that were addressed in the webinar.

1. What types of public records requests are typically received by organizations?

Organizations typically receive a variety of public records requests, from simple requests for as-built maps to more complex queries involving customer data or inquiries about water usage. They may also get requests for payment information, procurement details, student records, and specific curricular materials. These requests might include large volumes of information from emails, voicemails, text messages, and sticky notes.

2. What challenges do organizations face when handling public records requests?

Organizations face several challenges when handling public records requests. These challenges can include processing a large number of daily requests, reviewing and redacting sensitive information, inconsistent and inefficient processes between different districts, and the complexity of large data requests. Some requests can be so sizeable that they require external legal assistance.

3. How have organizations improved their handling of public records requests over time?

Over the years, the process of handling public records requests has improved dramatically. Initially, organizations struggled with disorganized request workflows. Today, many have centralized their requests, established spreadsheets for tracking, and assigned each request to the relevant department and team members. Some organizations have developed response templates and set up systems for noting any redacted or held information. Email communication, though requiring multiple follow-ups at times, has also streamlined the process.

4. How has technology contributed to improving public records request management?

With advancements in technology, many organizations have transitioned to software solutions for processing public records requests, significantly improving efficiency and consistency. For example, some organizations have moved to an online portal where requests can be submitted, reviewed, documents uploaded, and responses provided. This transition to technology has proven to be a user-friendly solution that saves time and improves convenience.

5. What software are organizations currently using to manage public records requests?

One of the popular software solutions mentioned in our webinar is Logikcull by Reveal. Logikcull by Reveal is recognized for its ease of adoption, time and cost savings, increased consistency, efficiency in record processing, and the peace of mind it brings to users. It is also noted for its ability to ensure redaction consistency and prevent errors in document production.

6. What is the process of transitioning to a software solution like Logikcull by Reveal?

Transitioning to Logikcull by Reveal is easy and user-friendly. Staff members can quickly learn and adopt the new system and immediately start benefiting from it. Importantly, there is general satisfaction with the switch to Logikcull by Reveal, and users often do not wish to go back to previous methods of handling public records requests.

7. Are there any challenges with implementing a software solution like Logikcull by Reveal?

While implementing a solution like Logikcull by Reveal may have initial challenges such as going through the procurement process as a public entity and getting buy-in from the public records team, the benefits surely outweigh these challenges. These benefits include the ability to easily upload and remove emails, cost savings in comparison to outsourcing to legal counsel, and convenient sharing of documents.

8. How has Logikcull by Reveal changed the work process for public record requests?

Logikcull by Reveal has significantly transformed how organizations handle public records requests. Large requests of up to 50,000 records are now manageable, all thanks to this software. It has become an essential tool due to time and resource limitations, and its use is expected to become even more critical as the volume and complexity of requests continue to grow.

9. Does Logikcull by Reveal handle audio and video components in public records requests?

Absolutely. With Logikcull by Reveal, you can review and redact audio and video components, which adds tremendous value to the software's capabilities.

10. How can organizations fully understand the benefits of Logikcull by Reveal?

Both our speakers recommend scheduling a demo of Logikcull by Reveal to fully comprehend its benefits and how it can remarkably improve public records management. The experience shared during the webinar by those who have implemented the software in their organizations provides impactful insights into its effectiveness.If you are interested in watching "The Arts of Records Request", please click here to view the webinar on-demand.

If you are interested in seeing Logikcull by Reveal or any of Reveal's products, please request a demo today.

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