recommended reading

NARA chief: Agencies want updated records management processes

Flickr user Derrick Coetzee

Federal officials tasked with updating records management systems want better guidance on which records must be preserved and a schedule for when they should be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero said Wednesday.

The officials also think NARA's Electronic Records Archive, which Ferreiro called "clunky," should be updated.

"We need to make the ERA much more user-friendly; that came through loud and clear," Ferriero said.

NARA hasn't publicly released agencies' records management reviews, which were due in late March, but Ferriero described common themes in responses during a question-and-answer session at the FOSE 2012 government technology conference.

President Obama ordered agencies to produce the reviews in a November 2011 memo, which argued federal records management hadn't kept pace with the volume and velocity common to the Digital Age. NARA and the White House plan to turn the reviews into a "governmentwide records management framework."

Records now are managed primarily on an agency-by-agency basis with little cooperation. About 95 percent of agencies fail to meet statutory requirements for maintaining their records, according to a NARA estimate based on agency self-assessments.

Most of NARA's General Records Schedules, which govern how agency records should be maintained, were written before the age of electronic records. Agencies generally aren't required to turn over records to NARA for 30 years, or more, after they are created, making it unlikely older documents will be stored in a file format that contemporary computers will be adept at or even capable of reading.

Ferriero has suggested reducing that lag time to a single presidential administration whether it lasts one or two terms. That's the lag time for most White House records.

NARA has been collecting input on possible records management reforms on an IdeaScale crowdsourcing page.

During Wednesday's discussion, Ferriero also described a NARA project to help the Veterans Benefits Administration scan its paper records in a clear, legible form. In the future, he said, NARA might offer scanning as a service to other agencies. That would fit with federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel's focus on increasing shared services across government, he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.