NARA looking for a few good records managers

The National Archives and Records Administration is looking for agency records managers to test prototypes of the Electronic Records Archive system.

Fynnette Eaton, change management officer for NARA's Electronic Records Archive project, said volunteers will work with contractors to provide feedback on what features or functions the systems need. The agency plans to hire one or two vendors to develop the systems in fiscal 2005.

'The record managers' work will provide the baseline for the larger ERA system,' Eaton said today at a Bimonthly Records and Information Discussion Group meeting in Washington. 'We really will need a large pool of testers.'

Eaton said NARA is in the second stage of deliberations to choose contractors to develop the ERA system. She said some of the original vendor teams have been told they didn't qualify for the second round of discussions.

NARA will work with the winners for a year and then decide in late 2005 which prototype they want to use for the full system. Eaton said NARA expects the contractor to have the system's initial operating capability to accept and store the most basic records in place by 2007. The agency expects the full system to be implemented by 2011.

The agency also will release a task order against the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedule for independent verification and validation services for the ERA system, Eaton said.

The contract will have a one-year base and seven, one-year options to ensure continuity of the assessments during ERA's development phases.

In other records management news, Reynolds Cahoon, NARA CIO, said the Office of Management and Budget has agreed to add records management as a separate layer in the next version of the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

Cahoon said the layer would make a huge difference in helping agencies build records management into IT systems lifecycle development.

'A lot of agencies are in trouble because their records management is not in good shape,' Cahoon said. 'We want to encourage OMB to look at how deeply records management is embedded in agencies.'

Cahoon said NARA is meeting with Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT, next week to discuss how to better integrate records management into the process of developing business cases for government projects.

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