HUD automates records management to better handle FOIA requests

This story has been updated with additional information.

The Housing and Urban Development Department has automated its case records management to improve compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The new centralized, scalable hosted solution enables users in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to quickly access millions of documents, respond significantly faster to FOIA requests and collaborate with other agencies regarding such requests. More than 3 million physical documents are in the new system, freeing up 1,500 square feet of office and storage space.

Users can search for documents under commonly listed categories such as name, date and location across all case files, instead of specifically within the ILS or RESPA divisions.

The customized system from Armedia, built on Armedia Case Management, uses a hosted version of Alfresco Enterprise Content Management on Linux servers with a combination of physical and virtual security and storage, the company said. A custom interface enables employees to securely access the information anywhere, any time via any browser – including those used in tablets and smart phones. The system includes roles-based security authentication, and complies with HUD's telecommuting policy, Armedia said.

Physical documents were scanned and digitized into a MySQL database and mapped to the new Alfresco repository and case taxonomy structure. Armedia Caliente, a content migration product, enabled HUD to maintain existing folder structures and apply appropriate security to documents, saving the IT department from having to manually recreate folder structures, according to the company.

By integrating Daeja redaction functionality with Alfresco, HUD employees can take out personally identifiable information before sharing documents with other agencies. The software also keeps a history of document versions.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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