NARA endorses software testing

Tests designed by the military to evaluate recordkeeping software have earned

a stamp of approval from the National Archives and Records Administration.

But agencies shouldn't buy software on that basis alone, NARA cautions.

After two years of evaluations, NARA announced this week that it is

endorsing the Joint Interoperability Test Command's software testing program

for 5015.2-STD, Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management

Software Applications.

Essentially, this means that if the test command says the software meets

the criteria spelled out in the 5015.2 standard, that's good enough for

NARA.

But passing the test is just a first step, said John Carlin, archivist

of the United States, to federal agency information technology managers.

"Electronic recordkeeping is more complicated than simply purchasing

a 5015.2-certified records management application," he said. Agencies also

should evaluate technical and business requirements, human factors, ease

of integration, scalability, system performance, reliability and provider

stability when they select a recordkeeping system," Carlin said.

The 5015.2 standard was developed by the Defense Department as the set

of basic requirements recordkeeping systems must meet to be used by the

military. It specifies 118 criteria ranging from how records must be created

to how they may be destroyed. In between are security requirements, accessing

characteristics, metadata requirements and similar criteria.

The standard itself was adopted by NARA in 1998. Now NARA is saying

the military adequately tests for compliance with the requirements specified

in the 5015.2 standard.

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