NARA issues e-records guide

"Expanding Acceptable Transfer Requirements: Transfer Instructions for Permanent Electronic Records"

National Archives and Records Administration officials released guidelines last week on transferring Web content to electronic records.

Web content records are a priority format for electronic records identified by officials at NARA and partner agencies as part of the Electronic Records Management initiative, one of the 24 e-government initiatives under the President's Management Agenda. A major goal of this initiative is to provide the tools agency officials need to access electronic records and transfer permanent electronic records to NARA for preservation and future use.

The transfer of Web records is based on the assumption that the Web content records have been approved by agency officials and appraised as permanent by those at NARA.

Patrice McDermott, deputy director for government relations at the nonprofit American Library Association, said the guidance is an important step forward. "It does direct agencies that they have to schedule these materials in accordance to a logical grouping of information or by agency records series.... So people won't just send them over as Web records," McDermott said. "They will be tied to the work of the agency."

However, she said she is concerned about having records in PDF format. It is not a dynamic format, which might concern those who want the records accessible and usable, she said.

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