Project will document Bush-era agency sites

The Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office and several nonfederal organizations will soon begin chronicling federal agency Web sites.

GPO and the congressional library will work in the near future with the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries and the Internet Archive to document the Web sites. The project aims to chronicle the federal Web sites during the upcoming transition and augment the participating institutions’ collections, according to a statement the Library of Congress released today.

“"Digital government information is considered at-risk, with an estimated life span of 44 days for a Web site. This collection will provide an historical record of value to the American people,"  said Martha Anderson, director of program management at the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

At the end of the Clinton administration, the National Archives and Records Administration took a one-time snapshot of agencies’ sites as they existed on or before Jan. 20, 2001. However, NARA said it would not do that at the end of the Bush administration because it had issued guidance on how agencies should maintain Web records in 2005, and a one-time snapshot did not provide a comprehensive archive of agency activity.

However, NARA does plan to continue to gather snapshots of congressional Web sites and the White House site, which are not covered by the Federal Records Act and to which the 2005 guidance does not apply.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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