Agencies toss electronic info, NARA says

Agencies toss electronic info, NARA says

Lewis Bellardo

Much government data never reaches the National Archives and Records Administration because agency employees are unsure whether the electronic information they create is an official record, according to a new study.

Only records such as case files tend to be well-managed, said NARA's 'Report on Current Recordkeeping Practices within the Federal Government,' at www.nara.gov/records/rmi.html. It combines NARA's own analysis with a study of employee perceptions by SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

NARA's study of 11 agencies revealed that most electronic records are never scheduled for preservation and that many permanent records on paper are not being transferred to NARA. And e-mail messages continue to be a sore point.

Deputy archivist Lewis J. Bellardo said that NARA wanted to 'take a limited snapshot of record-keeping in the government today' and assess near-term strategies because the technology is changing rapidly.

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