Group issues framework for storing electronic records

A working group examining options for managing federal electronic records late last week issued for public comment a framework for managing digital files over the next two years while the government develops more permanent electronic recordkeeping solutions.

The options include:

Scheduling all records, including electronic ones, based on their content rather than their format. Electronic originals of program records would be preserved in electronic recordkeeping systems, when agencies have them, or else they would be maintained in the information systems where they were created.

Establishing a minimum retention period for electronic records until agencies can install electronic recordkeeping systems.

For electronic records other than case files or documents captured by automated recordkeeping systems, creating standards for maintaining digital files based on the rank of the person who created or received them.

Agencies would designate specific servers and mailboxes for storing this information.

The Electronic Records Work Group, which drew up the proposals, was created in November by the National Archives and Records Administration to rewrite the government's electronic records management policies. Last October, a federal judge invalidated the current policy, known as General Records Schedule 20, which allowed agencies to delete e-mail and word processing files after they printed paper copies.

The full text of the proposals is available on the World Wide Web at www.nara.gov/records/grs20/otp312.html. Comments are due March 31.

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