I try not let government, anyone’s government drive me crazy anymore. Government still has the ability to stun, shock, and actually embarrass me, especially when it’s my government. I can no longer laugh at their foibles. Here is an embarrassing story. A 2012 White House Directive was to transition to electronic record keeping. Most agencies put forth plans detailing how they would handle the transition of all permanent records, including emails to an electronic format.
Now, this is where the story gets good. The 2012 directive envisioned this as an entirely electronic process by 2019. If any of you have forgotten, we are now half way into 2015. One of the key objectives was to automate the archiving process, as many agencies still print out and manually file paper documents. (Sad, but true). The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) now steps in and adds its two cents in 2014 by drafting a plan for agencies that identified tools that support electronic records management and can be used to automatically transfer permanent records to NARA. It seems NARA never included any metadata requirements. Honestly, I really couldn’t make that up.
What is the status now? Agencies are awaiting word from the Office and Management of Budget (OMB) on how cloud computing or storage systems should conform to the Federal Records Act. This should be completed by end of year (although the actual year was not specified). Other ideas floated included Archive officials storing all unclassified records from all agencies in the cloud – turned out to be impractical.
I am glad this is keeping so many people busy in Washington. Not sure if they could find their way out of a paper bag. Unfortunately, until someone studies up on metadata doesn’t look like we should be seeing any progress for quite a while.