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Summary and Recommendations

As in other sectors of society, much of the business - and thus record keeping - of the federal government depends on digital information. Documents are created, transmitted, and stored electronically. E-mail has become an important - and often primary - communications technology. And many records exist only in electronic form, stored in databases and other computer systems. Some of these records will, in time, be transferred to the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) http://www.larryblakeley.com/national_archives_and_records.htm for long-term preservation.

NARA’s current systems for archival preservation of electronic records are limited in capability and ad hoc in nature. Recognizing the growing



ance of electronic records to its mission of preserving “essential evidence,”1 NARA launched the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) http://www.archives.gov/electronic_records_archives/ initiative. It sponsored work through this program at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) http://www.larryblakeley.com/Articles/storage_archives_preservation/sdsc.htm, which resulted in a series of archival preservation demonstrations. Building on this experience and that of other institutions studying digital preservation, NARA’s new ERA Program Office plans to begin initial procurement for a production ERA in 2003. As of this writing, NARA has hired a contractor to assist with the ERA program and has started to define desired capabilities and requirements for the system, including a vision statement and concept of operations for the ERA.

- "Building an Electronic Records Archive at the National Archives and Records Administration: Recommendations for Initial Development," Committee on Digital Archiving and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Robert F. Sproull and Jon Eisenberg, Editors, National Research Council http://www.larryblakeley.com/web_knowledge_providers/national_research_council.htm of the National Academies http://www.larryblakeley.com/web_knowledge_providers/national_academy_of_sciences.htm, National Academies Press http://www.nap.edu/

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Post Date: March 27, 2005 at 8:50 AM CST; 1450 GMT