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Obama wants feds to digitize all records

Lucas Mearian | Nov. 30, 2011
President Obama has called for all federal agencies to update their decades-old methods of records management, in large part by moving to electronic records management systems.

"That piece is more along the lines of better understanding what the business needs of agencies are, what ... rights and interest issues they need to meet and what obligations they have around permanently valuable records, and then what changes in laws and policies we need to provide to agencies to help them better manage their records as well as look at technological solutions [they could use.]," Wester said.

NARA supports Obama's message about the importance of managing electronic records.

In its response to Obama's memorandum , NARA said each agency will to report to the National Archivist the name of a senior agency official who will supervise an agency-wide evaluation of its records management programs. These evaluations, which are to be completed in 120 days, are to focus on electronic records, including email and social media, as well as those programs that may be deploying or developing cloud-based services.

"Once the evaluations have been submitted, the National Archives and the OMB will have an additional 120 days to issue a Records Management Directive to agencies that will provide specific steps to reform records management policies and practices," the NARA said.

Besides streamlining records management, the effort is also aimed at saving money wasted on a records management system that is decades old.

"When records are well-managed, agencies can use them to assess the impact of programs, to reduce redundant efforts, to save money, and to share knowledge within and across their organizations. In these ways, proper records management is backbone of open Government," the memorandum said.



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