About SCERA and FAQs

SCERA is an abbreviation for the South Carolina Electronic Records Archive. It is an extension of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH), which is the repository for South Carolina state and local government archival records. SCERA is specifically dedicated to the preservation of, and public access to, electronic records created by state agencies. This access portal is designed for public users of the State Archives, and we have attempted to tailor the information we provide to meet public needs and be easily accessible for most users. While some information can become very technical, the SCDAH has attempted to give descriptions here at an introductory level.

Brief History

SCERA began with the PeDALS Project. PeDALS is an abbreviation for Persistent Digital Archives & Library System, a multi-state cooperative program sponsored by the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). The PeDALS Project was designed to create a cooperative of state archives to preserve electronic records. With the economic downturn of 2008, participation with the PeDALS Project was put on hold and ultimately ceased. In 2014, while no longer a participant in the PeDALS Project, the SCDAH resumed its efforts to create a repository for the preservation of, and public access to, state and local government electronic archival records. After thorough investigation and careful consideration, SCERA was created.

What does SCERA hold?

What is present on the SCERA site does not represent all electronic records created by state and local government agencies, but a set of records that those agencies have provided to the SCDAH for preservation. Records eligible for transfer to SCERA have met the minimum timeframe the agencies are required to keep the records in their systems and have been sent to the archives due to their archival value.

Many digitized records are available for search and review at the SCDAH’s Online Records Index. The Online Records Index includes many of the older commonly sought SCDAH records in a digitized format.

What does SCERA do?

Public view of state and local government agency records in SCERA is a fraction of what it does. SCERA is used to organize state and local government agency records in SCDAH custody, manage information about what has happened with the records since the SCDAH was given custody of them, and conduct efforts for the long-term preservation of the electronic records it holds.

Are all records in SCERA?

No. SCERA at this time contains electronic records created by state and local government agencies that have been transfered to the SCDAH. Also, SCERA does not in most cases include all records created by an agency. Check the SCDAH Guide to Collections and Online Catalog (SCArchCat) to see what other records the Archives holds.

What to do if the records are not in SCERA?

If agency records are not present in SCERA, it is possible that the SCDAH holds the records in a physical format. First, check to see if they are held in the SCDAH repository. If the records you require are not available at the repository, contact the agency directly. Bear in mind when contacting an agency that some records may not be publicly accessible and some records may be restricted from public access for a certain number of years due to their sensitive nature.

Are there any restrictions on the records in SCERA?

Unless specifically mentioned in the description of a record or record set, all files are considered unrestricted and in public domain.

Can I download records from SCERA?

Yes, all records that you can view are available for download at the individual file level. If you are looking to download large numbers of files, contact SCDAH.