Army center succeeds with archival plan

The Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., may be a step ahead of
other government organizations in preserving electronic records.


The center has made a showcase of its Virtual Research Library information system,
which by all accounts meets the Defense Department’s 5015.2-Std mandatory electronic
record-keeping requirements.


"So as far as I know, we are the first to implement the standard," said Karen
Shaw, senior information and records manager for the Army Directorate of Information
Management at Fort Leavenworth.


The Office of Thrift Supervision also has a record-keeping pilot under way and several
more planned using Trim, a DOD 5015.2-certified records management application from Tower
Software Corp. of Fairfax, Va.


Catherine Teti, director of records management and information policy for the Office of
Thrift Supervision, said electronic record-keeping should work through a desktop
application that workers use whenever they create a document in Microsoft Word or an
e-mail message in Microsoft Exchange.


But she said she is far enough into the project to know that reviewing existing file
plans, establishing new ones where they do not exist and identifying key metadata is
time-consuming.


"A lot of work has to be done before you plunge into something like this,"
Teti said. If possible, the agency wants to capture metadata from documents as they are
being created, she said.


"With e-mail, it is harder because there aren’t as many standards. E-mail
documents are much more free-form," Teti said.


Workers must buy into the record-keeping system, she said, or they will lose the
information the government needs to retain.


In spite of the convenience of electronic records, Teti said she thinks parallel
records will be a given for many years. Her office will keep certain categories
electronically for reference but officially will archive on paper—"something we
can hang our hat on for legal and audit purposes," Teti said.


Summary reviews of these products appear on JITC’s Web site at http://jitc.fhu.disa.mil/recmgt. Full JITC test
reports are available from the vendors.


The Joint Interoperability Test Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., has certified only two
electronic records management applications as compliant with 5015.2-Std. They are Trim
from Tower Software and ForeMost software from Provenance Systems Inc. of Alexandria, Va.


JITC also has certified document management applications from FileNet Corp. of Costa
Mesa, Calif., and Dyn Solutions Inc. of Reston, Va., for pairing with a certified records
management application to satisfy the standard, said Bill Manago, manager of the JITC
Records Management Application Test Facility at Fort Huachuca.


Three more records management applications are at the test facility for certification
later this year, Manago said.


Whatever electronic record-keeping policy the National Archives and Records
Administration issues this fall will supersede DOD 5015.2, Manago said.


The new federal standard will incorporate security classifications and requirements of
the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act, he said, as well as set archival format
and media requirements. An Office of the Secretary of Defense task force and NARA are
working on that now, Manago said.


Whenever they arrive, the new standards will bring a culture change in many
organizations, Shaw said. For instance, she said, the Center for Army Lessons Learned has
had to learn how to promote teamwork among its records managers, information managers,
information technology managers, historians, archivists and librarians.


The best of all the information disciplines, she said, are captured in the Virtual
Research Library, accessible on the Web at http://call.army.mil.
 


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