For State/County Governments

Digital Preservation Program

Records Retention
Local government officials with questions regarding the retention for county government records should consult the Retention Manual. The State Archivist or State Records Manager can also answer questions.

According to Administrative Rule 24:52:11:04, Destruction of local government records—Archivist must be notified. Governing bodies or agencies of any county,city, town, township, district, authority, public corporation, or political subdivision planning to destroy local records, as defined in subdivision (1) of SDCL 1-27-9, shall notify the archivist 30 days before the date of the proposed destruction. Notification shall include the name or title of the records, inclusive dates, information content of the records, and quantity. If the archivist believes the records should be preserved, the archivist shall arrange for the transfer of the records to the archives or to a suitable public records storage facility. Transfer of the records may be made at the expense of the state archivist. This section applies only to the following types of records: records more than 50 years old: records required by the Records Destruction Board to be kept 50 years or longer; annual reports, maps, minutes, and photographs.


State and local records are administered by the state records management system and the Records Destruction Board. State Archives staff review all records before they are approved for destruction. More than 12,000 cubic feet of records are reviewed each year and approximately 1% are selected for permanent retention in the archives collections.

The State Archives only has authority to claim records if they are designated for destruction or if they are offered by the creating agency.

Each agency has developed a records retention and destruction schedule. For more information regarding records retention and disposal please contact the State Records Manager or the State Archivist.

Government Records Collections

Information about some government collections may be found on the Online Resources pages. Some government collections have been cataloged and descriptions are available through SDLN. Additionally, state government web sites are archived and information that was available on agency websites is available through Archive-IT.

Records held at the State Archives are accessioned by series according to the agency that created them and the date they were received.

As the official repository of state records, the State Archives maintains and preserves the documents produced by the executive, legislative and judicial branches of South Dakota state government.

Many counties, municipalities, and townships have transferred historical records to the State Archives. The Archives collection also includes copies of federal records such as censuses, land records, and files of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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