Administration wants help archiving its Facebook, Twitter content

The Executive Office of the President looks for help capturing, maintaining data covered by Presidential Records Act

The Executive Office of the President (EOP) plans to hire a company to help archive the ever-expanding amount of data that qualifies as presidential records that the office publishes on publicly accessible Web sites and social networking sites, according to a recently published solicitation notice.

The EOP wants a contractor to capture and store content posted on the sites that the administration is required to maintain under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), the notice said. According to the request for quote (RFQ) notice, the contractor will also be responsible for transferring the captured data to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for historical preservation.

The law requires a president to take all steps that may be necessary to "assure that the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of his constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties are adequately documented and that such records are maintained as presidential records." The data is then handed over to NARA at the end of a presidency for preservation and eventual public release.

White House officials want the company to crawl and archive PRA content on third-party Web sites where the EOP maintains a presence, such as the White House’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, the notice said. According to the RFQ, the EOP wants data capture to be automatic rather than how it’s currently done.

EOP officials want to capture the posted content at least twice a day, the notice said. In addition, they said the vendor will have to make the data organized and searchable and provide a Web-based tool that government employees can use to manage the record-keeping.

The data will also need to be stored in a way that will let NARA ingest the records into the agency’s next-generation Electronic Records Archives system.

The contract would be for one year with the possibility of seven one-year options. Companies offering their services must make an oral presentation about their proposed solution and participate in a question-and-answer session. The interested parties are to reply with an e-mail message that includes an electronic copy of the oral presentation briefing by Sept. 10.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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