As the Web Turns
- By Heather Harreld
- Feb 06, 2000
Although many states have made progress in formulating policies to address
electronic records management issues related to new systems, legacy systems
and e-mail, most consider records generated on World Wide Web sites to be
the most difficult to master. Web sites often beam dynamic information that
may change every second. In addition, many government sites display documents
that never exist in paper form.
"Once you start dealing with something like Web sites — which are so
dynamic — you're dealing with something that becomes impossible to manage
with the tools we have," says Roy Turnbaugh, Oregon's state archivist. "If
it requires too much effort for compliance, people are just going to ignore
it. It's just too much work for people to try and manage their Web sites
to preserve them as records."
Alan S. Kowlowitz, manager of electronic records services with New York's
Archives and Records Administration, says that although there is a tendency
to think government Web sites generate records, most of that data is captured
behind an agency firewall in a database or other storage system.
"A government Web site represents a branch office," he said. "Records
are only created if there is a transaction occurring. It's likely those
records are going to be captured on the back end."
— Heather Harreld is a free-lance writer based in Cary, N.C.