President Obama has issued a 3-page memo directing government agencies to start using electronic record management. Digitizing records will provide better archives for future generations to study, and will also help reduce costs. Another goal is to give the general public better digital access to the workings of their government. The directive gives agencies one month to designate the official who will be in charge of the effort, and four months to come up with plans to do it.

Computerworld notes that the government does not have a good track record with digitization, pointing to the failed ten-year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to create an electronic records archive. But the NARA archive was eventually completed, currently stores 124 terabytes of data, and will become the repository for the records that agencies create in response to Obama’s memo.

A national digital government archive would certainly fit in well with the national digital library on which our founder David Rothman has written. Hopefully the government will be able to figure out how to make it come to pass.

(Found via Slashdot.)


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