Retaining and Preserving Federal Records in a Digital Environment

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 4, 2013

CRS – Retaining and Preserving Federal Records in a Digital Environment: Background and Issues for Congress – Wendy Ginsberg, Analyst in American National Government. July 26, 2013

“All federal departments and agencies create federal records “in connection with the transaction of public business.” The Federal Records Act, as amended (44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33), requires executive branch departments and agencies to collect, retain, and preserve federal records, which provide the Administration, Congress, and the public with a history of public-policy execution and its results. Increasing use of e-mail, social media, and other electronic media has prompted a proliferation of record creation in the federal government. The variety of electronic platforms used to create federal records, however, may complicate the technologies needed to capture and retain them. It is also unclear whether the devices and applications that agencies currently use to create and retain records will be viable in perpetuity—making access to federal records over time increasingly complicated, costly, and potentially impossible.”

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