A Report Back on the “Federal Electronic Records Management: A Status Report” Hearing

As we noted last week, on Thursday, June 17th, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and the National Archives held at hearing entitled, “Federal Electronic Records Management: A Status Report.”  

If you are interested in the issues surrounding Federal electronic records management, including issues involving NARA’s Government-wide authority in records management, you should watch the webcast and review the full written testimony offered by a wide variety of experts.

From my perspective, as one of the witnesses, I thought the hearing did a great job bringing to light the electronic records management challenges that NARA and the Federal agencies are facing today and their important connection to NARA’s overall mission. 

The panel of Government witnesses explained the challenges of the Federal electronic records management environment, and through the questioning from the Committee, explored where Federal agencies are falling short and where NARA and Federal agencies must do more more to improve Federal electronic records management across the Government. 

The panel of non-Government witnesses provided a broader context to the issue, offering valuable academic, private industry, and public interest perspectives on electronic records management.

In the written testimony and in the oral presentations there were allusions to various analyses, standards, and studies that you may want more direct access to.  Below are some of the titles with hotlinks:

NARA’s Records Management Self-Assessment, 2009: An Assessment of Records Management Programs in the Federal Government, published April 20, 2010.

NARA’s Electronic Records Project, Summary Report: FY 2005 – FY 2009, published June 15, 2010.

Department of Defense’s Electronic Records Management Software Applications Design Criteria Standard (DoD 5015.02 version 3), published April 25, 2007.

Government Accountability Office’s Federal Records: National Archives and Selected Agencies Need to Strengthen E-Mail Management (GAO-08-742), published June 13, 2008.

ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP)(R), approved February 20, 2009.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW’s) Records Chaos: The Deplorable State of Electronic Record Keeping in the Federal Government, published April 16, 2008. 

I cannot close this post without thanking Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay for calling the hearing on this important issue.  Thanks also to him for pointing out during the introduction of the Government panel the importance of the University of Maryland, my alma mater and a leading university in the fields of archives and information management and computer science.  Four of the five Government panelists coincidentally have important ties to the university.

So, what did you think of the hearing?  What are your views about the electronic records management challenges facing NARA and the Federal Government?

We want to hear from you and start the dialogue today.