The City Records Center works with City departments to identify records series with a good business or preservation case for digital imaging, and then to facilitate deposit of those records into the City’s Electronic Document Management System, FileDirector (also known as E-Vault). CRC maintains records in E-Vault for several City Departments, including the Comptroller’s Office, Department of Employee Relations, Board of Zoning Appeals, Milwaukee Police Department, and the City Clerk’s Office.
If your department has a record series you would like to store or access digitally, or if you have electronic records requiring secure storage, contact City Records for an imaging consultation, or fill out the DocuSign form with information about the proposed project.. Access to E-vault is restricted to City networks only, but members of the public may browse certain archival records in the CRC public area, or on the Milwaukee Municipal Research Center Digital Archive.
- What exactly is E-Vault? What benefits does it provide to the City?
E-Vault is an Electronic Document Management System, which is comprised of storage for born-digital and digitized City records and the discovery and access interface for those records (a software application known as FileDirector). E-Vault provides value to City Employees by serving as an authoritative, accessible source of records of major city activities, most notably for purchasing and building development.
Records stored in evault are full-text and keyword searchable, verified, audited, version controlled, and protected against unwanted changes, providing City departments with a Source of Truth for their critical records in an environment where several versions of one document proliferate with a keystroke.
- How do I get into E-Vault?
City Records will provide an E-Vault account to any City employee with a work-related reason to access records in any of the scanning applications. If you work for the City out of the City Hall Complex (City Hall, Zeidler Municipal Building, 809 N. Broadway), fill out and e-sign this form and a City Records staff member will contact you with either login credentials or to gather additional information about your use of th e system. City employees working outside of the City Hall complex will additionally need to set up a Virtual Private Network to access the E-Vault application server.
Once your account has been created, you may access E-Vault at the link at the top of this page. If you anticipate regularly adding and/or manipulating records as part of your E-Vault usage, it may be worthwhile for you to install the desktop client, which contains numerous power-user functions not available to web users.
City employees wishing to access the Building Plans E-Vault Application will also be required to complete a separate Building Plan Acknowledgment form, in compliance with state statute and Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Ch. 311.
At this time, public access to records stored on E-Vault is not allowed remotely. Members of the public may be allowed to browse records in certain E-Vault applications via in-person access in the City Records Center. Contact City Records for additional details.
- Is my record series a good digitization candidate?
In general, City Records can most easily create E-Vault applications for records series with most or all of the following attributes:
- The records have a medium- to long-term retention period (7 years or more) according to an active records disposition authority (RDA). Records must have an associated records schedule before consideration for digitization.
- The records are organized in a logical manner to that allows them to be separated into scanning “batches” or other recognizable groups as needed.
- The records can be associated with database records with unique identifiers to facilitate indexing. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet for a limited-scope/finite series, or can take the form of association with records in City databases (Accela, Peoplesoft, etc.) or external sources (WEDSS, WisVote, etc.); OR
- The records are in a standardized format with machine-readable data that can be recognized by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engines).
- The records are archival or have a defined close date for use in calculating retention time; OR
- The records’ retention period is defined on the basis of the creation date or fiscal year of creation
- The records contain PII or confidential/sensitive information that must be restricted to a subset of permitted users (including PCI, CJIS, or HIPAA data)
The records are accessed by multiple employees over multiple locations in such a way that physical routing is difficult or impractical
- Are there examples of records series with existing digitization programs on E-Vault?
- Retention Schedules (Official Signed Copies)
- Council Files (Official Signed Copies)
- Municipal Court Case Files
- Mayoral Press Files
- City Attorney Opinions
- AP Vouchers/Invoices
- City Records Billing Materials
- City Budgets (Proposed and Adopted)
- Tax Rolls
- Interdepartmental Requisitions and Invoices
- Health Records
- Food Establishment Inspection Files
- Immunization Consent Forms
- Workers’ Compensation Files
- Laboratory Test Requisitions
- Property Records
- Building Plans and Permits
- BOZA Case Files
- DNS Enforcement Orders
- Property Registration Files
- Title Search Forms
- Historic Property Images and Designation Files
- Personnel Records
- Employee History Cards
- Global Pension Settlement Agreements
- Direct Deposit Forms
- Pre-Employment Exam Results
- Department of Emergency Communications Personnel Records
- Can E-Vault Manage my department’s born-digital records?
The desktop version of E-Vault’s software client, FileDirector, is configured to render and display over 200 file formats directly within the desktop client. FileDirector also includes an optional component module that allows for saving files directly from Microsoft 365 desktop products into E-Vault. For departments looking for additional security and organization for their electronic files beyond what file shares can provide, E-Vault may be an option. Please contact City Records for more information. FileDirector is not configured for in-app storage or viewing of video files.
For records in digital format scheduled to go to the archives, all records received by the City Records Center will be stored in E-Vault in a secure file cabinet until such time as the records can be reviewed by an archivist for making records publicly available. Electronic files can be transferred to City Records either via physical media (portable hard drive, USB drive) or through use of a City Records dropbox on SharePoint.
Records that are suitable for immediate public access, or records that have been screened by City Records or City Archives staff for confidential information and are deemed ready to be made accessible, may be routed instead to the Milwaukee Municipal Research Center Digital Archive. Eligible departments may request links to deposit material to the MMRC Digital Archive directly. See the collecting policy page for that site for more information.