recommended reading

Federal Records Must Go Digital, but Managers Say They Can't Do It Without More Resources

Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock.com

Nearly half of federal records managers believe the Obama administration’s goals for making all new records digital and electronically searchable by 2019 is unrealistic, a new study has found.

That deadline, introduced in an August 2012 presidential directive, upset transparency advocates who said it gave agencies a pass to delay transitioning to digital records management systems and would result in even transparency-friendly agencies putting their limited resources toward other priorities.

Now, records managers say even that far off deadline won’t be achievable without more funding and better trained records management professionals, according to the study released on Monday by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving how the government manages information technology. The study was underwritten by the information management company Iron Mountain.

Most importantly, just 54 percent of survey respondents said they’d be able to meet a mandate in the directive to identify all permanent records that must be digitized by Dec. 31. Only 18 percent of respondents said they’d made significant progress in actually digitizing permanent records, while 70 percent said they had little progress to report.

The survey respondents were 100 federal records managers. The study has a margin of error of 10 percent.

Currently, many agencies print paper copies of emails and other records they are legally required to maintain due to concerns that existing file formats won’t be viable 30 years down the road when they must turn the records over to the National Archives and Records Administration.

That means the documents will be much more time consuming for historians and researchers to parse through and raises the likelihood some vital information and insights will go undiscovered for years or generations.

The presidential directive gives agencies until the end of 2016 to store all email in electronic formats.

(Image via Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock.com)

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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

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