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PDFWAC 44-14-05004

Customized access.

When locating the requested records or translating them into the requested format cannot be done without specialized programming, RCW 42.56.120(3) authorizes agencies to assess a customized service charge if the agency estimates that the request would require use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by the agency for other business purposes.
Most public records requests for electronic records can be fulfilled based on the "reasonably locatable" and "reasonably translatable" standards. Resorting to customized access should not be the norm. An example of where "customized access" would be appropriate is if a state agency's old computer system stored data in a manner in which it was impossible to extract the data into comma-delimited or tab-delimited formats, but rather required a programmer to spend more than a nominal amount of time to write computer code specifically to extract it. Before resorting to customized access, the agency should confer with the requestor to determine if a technical solution exists not requiring the specialized programming. An agency must notify the requestor to provide an explanation of the service charge including why it applies, a description of the specific expertise, and a reasonable estimate of the cost of the charge. The notice must also provide the requestor the opportunity to amend his or her request in order to avoid or reduce the customized service charge. RCW 42.56.120(3).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.56.570. WSR 18-06-051, § 44-14-05004, filed 3/2/18, effective 4/2/18. Statutory Authority: 2005 c 483 § 4, amending RCW 42.56.570. WSR 07-13-058, § 44-14-05004, filed 6/15/07, effective 7/16/07.]
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