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For State/County Governments


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.

Digital Preservation Program
The South Dakota State Archives is committed to preserving state and county government records, regardless of format. Digital records require early and sustained preservation attention to ensure their long-term authenticity and accessibility. Learn more about the State Archives' Digital Preservation Program.
Records Retention

State and local government records are administered by the State Records Management System and the Records Destruction Board. Each agency has developed a records retention and destruction schedule. 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.

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


SDCL 1-18C-7, Acquisition of records submitted to the records destruction board. The archivist may acquire, in total or in part, any records, regardless of physical characteristics, which have been submitted to the records destruction board for final disposition if such material is determined to be of informational or historical significance by the archivist.

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.

Transfer Records to the State Archives

Your agency's records retention schedule identifies which records series must be transferred to the State Archives. If you have questions, or additional records of historical interest that you would like to offer to us, please contact Sara Casper or Virginia Hanson. A completed records transfer form should accompany all records transfers.

Records Transfer Form (PDF)

Records Transfer Form (DOCX)

Government Records Collections

Information about some government collections may be found on the Collection Indexes page. Some government collections have been cataloged and descriptions are available through the Library Catalog. Additionally, state government websites are archived and all archived content 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.



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