Week in Review

Lost and found: the NASA version

There is always a fine line between something being "lost" and something merely being "misplaced," so most of us probably empathized with NASA officials after they discovered last week that they had "misplaced" the recordings of the historic 1969 moon landing.

The NASA incident was the latest in a summer of major events that served as reminders of important principles in handling data. In this case, agencies were reminded about the importance of archiving and records management.

Records management is a nuanced effort ‹ some might say it is merely a nuisance. Often it is difficult to get feds interested in records management because they don't understand why it matters. Does it help an agency do its job more efficiently? Maybe, but some government records are unique -- the moon landing tapes, for example.

Aside from the serious issues the case raises, we were filled with thoughts of the fun that writers on the late-night talk shows must be having. One can almost imagine one of the "reporters" on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart digging through the shipments in search of the 13,000 14-track tapes. Or David Letterman, throughout his "Late Show," merely crying out, "Houston, we have a problem, and it is around here somewhere." And yes, we'll be keeping our day jobs.

Other Noteworthy News
The Army's main enterprise information technology organization said it will have to replace batteries in 150,000 Dell laptop computers because of a voluntary recall.... Organizations must standardize their software infrastructure and data formats to help safeguard information from cyberthreats, said John Thompson, chief executive officer of Symantec, who spoke at the Air Force IT Conference.... The military must jettison its long-standing concepts regarding information ownership and adopt IT systems that can match the new threats, said Gen. Lance Smith, commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, who also spoke at the Air Force IT Conference.... Government Web sites should have a consistent design and appearance throughout their pages, according to an annual report on state and federal e-government Web portals by a professor of political science at Brown University.... The Homeland Security Department informed small businesses that won contracts under the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge solutions program, known as EAGLE.... The Social Security Administration notified vendors that it is interested in a commercial product to encrypt data on its Microsoft Windows 2003 file servers.... The General Services Administration will conduct an e-government survey to learn which agencies are doing the best job of meeting citizens' needs.... Unisys, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the FBI announced a reward of as much as $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of a desktop computer reported missing Aug. 7 from Unisys' headquarters in Reston, Va.... Oracle officials announced that Oracle Application Server 10g, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware, completed the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 4+ software security assessment.... A senior Defense Department health affairs official said DOD employees would not benefit from adopting the VA's electronic health records architecture.... The Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration will seek bids for an outsourced IT system to process and archive electronically filed forms.... VA Secretary Jim Nicholson announced plans to have data encryption software installed on all of the department's laptop computers within four weeks.

A roundup of the week¹s news, complete with links to the original stories, can be found on FCW.com Download¹s Week in Review at www.fcw.com/download.


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