NIST to decide on standards for e-records

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is determining whether to make standards developed by the E-Records Management e-government project a governmentwide requirement or just a guidance.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s e-government and IT administrator, today said no matter what NIST decides, the adoption of these standards and how records are transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration will be the initial measure of success.

“We are pushing hard for NIST to finish them,” Evans said after a speech at the Federal Information Records Management Council at the FOSE tradeshow in Washington, D.C. “If NIST decides it should be guidance, and then OMB will follow up on them.”

One approach OMB might take is to add the validation of records management standards to the work the agency inspector generals already do. IGs certify how agencies meet the Federal Information Security Management Act as well as privacy mandates.

“If it becomes a governmentwide standard configuration, then it solves the technology part because we will not need to figure out how to transfer records,” Evans said. “Agencies can build all of this into the lifecycle of their investments.”

Evans said NARA will discuss the standards with the CIO Council to help explain them in more detail.

Over the past four years, the E-Records project, led by NARA, defined standards for correspondence records, enterprise records management, electronic information management standards and the transfer of permanent records to NARA.

With every e-government project, OMB wants to establish metrics, and Evans said for the E-Records Management initiative the metrics could cover three areas: the adoption of standards by agencies; the adoption of standards by agencies and the successful transfer of records to NARA; or the adoption of standards by vendors and inclusion in products agencies are using.

“OMB and NARA are taking proactive steps up front and looking for gaps in the policy to ensure we are successful,” she said. “We may not always talk about records, but like IT security, we always have them on our mind. This is a key initiative to us.”

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