„Transition to Electronic Records“ ist der Titel des Memorandums des Weißen Hauses in Washington, der sich an alle Bundesbehörden richtet: http://bit.ly/2XM4CQp
Die NARA National Records and Archives Administration hatte bereits vor einiger Zeit das Ziel ausgegeben, alle Aufzeichnungen nur noch digital zur Archivierung bereitzustellen. Das Memorandums nun weist alle Executive Departments und Agencies an, bis spätestens Ende 2022 ihre Bestände zu digitalisieren. Bereits ab Ende 2019 sollten eigentlich alle Behörden nur noch mit elektronischen Dokumenten arbeiten. Die Standards für die Klassifikation der Aufzeichnungen sowie die Vorgaben für Formate und Übergabeprozeduren werden 2020 überarbeitet. Ab 31.12.2022 nimmt das US-Bundesarchiv keine Papierdokumente mehr an. Auch sollen lokale, dezentrale Ablageorte abgelöst werden. Die Vorgaben stellen ein komplettes Programm der Umstellung der Verwaltung und Archivierung auf elektronische Medien dar. In den FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; US ZPO) ist auch schon seit Jahren verankert, dass elektronische Records einen höheren Beweiswert als Papierkopien haben.
Das Memorandum wird in den USA einen verstärkten Run auf Digitalisierungslösungen und Digitalisierungs-Outsourcing-Jobs auslösen.
In Deutschland wie auch in Europa sind wir von solchen Maßnahmen noch ziemlich weit entfernt. Die digitale Welle beginnt erst jetzt aus der Aufbewahrung in die Archive hinüberzuschwappen. In sichere, zentrale Archive wird bisher zu wenig investiert. Auch das Bewußtsein für den Wert der Information in solchen Archiven und die Bereitstellung mit einfachen Mitteln müssen noch deutlicher gefördert werden.
Das Federal News Network (http://bit.ly/2LHJZhU) schreibt dazu:
„Paper records phase-out looks to ‘accelerate digital transformation’
Agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of hours preparing paper records each year, but new guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and the National Archives and Records Administration has set deadlines for agencies to manage all their electronic records in an electronic format before the end of this year and digitize their historic, permanent records before the end of 2022.
As part of the push away from paper, the memo prohibits agencies from running their own on-premises record centers past December 2022. NARA will also not accept paper records past that date.
Laurence Brewer, NARA’s chief records officer, said a governmentwide push toward electronic records would not only reduce storage costs, but would also make it easier for members of the public to access archived information.
“I recently got the question, talking to some agencies, ‘Would we ever go back to managing paper?’ And the answer is, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle,” Brewer said in an interview with Federal News Network. “In many cases, it can be a burden to our customers, the public, to have them write us letters, or visit us in person these days. With websites and email, there are better, more efficient ways to communicate with the government.”
As part of the push away from paper, the memo will prohibit agencies from running their own on-premises record centers past December 2022. NARA will also not accept paper records past that date.
Agencies’ physical storage of records not only requires additional real estate, but also more time from employees that could be spent on more valuable tasks. Michael Lewis, vice-president and general manager of Iron Mountain’s public sector, said the shift from physical to digital records outlined in the memo would help drive down the overall cost.
“It is going to force change and to have agencies think differently about how they can make this transformation. It will accelerate digital transformation,” Lewis said in an interview.
Brewer said the latest guidance from OMB and NARA builds on the progress from a 2012 Obama administration memo that tasked agencies with moving their email records to an electronic format by the end of 2016 and appointing senior agency officials for records management (SAORMs) help oversee the upcoming transition to electronic records.
Trump administration, IG flag e-records challenges
But despite agencies meeting those Obama-era requirements, the outlook for agencies meeting future milestones appears mixed.
The Trump administration’s June 2018 government reorganization plan, for example, said efforts to ween agencies off paper processes have been “inconsistent and ineffective across agencies.” But 98 percent of agency senior records management officials last year said they were confident in their ability to meet this year’s deadline to digitize their permanent records.
However, NARA’s inspector general office found that the agency, despite recent progress, still doesn’t have a reliable way to flag gaps in electronic copies of historical records that agencies were scheduled to send to NARA.
“As a result, NARA has no assurance records of historical value are not lost or destroyed. If these records are lost, NARA cannot fulfill its core mission to ‘Make Access Happen,’” the report from June said.
Brewer said NARA has stepped up its outreach with SAORMs and has run inspections at agency program offices to identify risks and areas for improvement. And by December, the agency will release new metadata standards focused on improving indexing and searchability of records.
But long-standing challenges around legacy IT may impede some agencies’ progress. With most agencies spending around 80-85% of their IT budgets on operations and maintenance, Lewis said agencies have struggled to invest in infrastructure upgrades, like cloud migration.
But recent Trump administration policy documents, including the recently released Cloud Smart Strategy and the Federal Data Strategy’s one-year action plan, have provided agencies with a roadmap of how to proceed going forward. Lewis said the data strategy’s requirement for agencies to provide inventories of their data should help them sort through some of the clutter of their temporary records, which despite their name, can remain in agency archives for about 75 years.
“Some of the data that is stored is, quite honestly, unnecessary to store,” Lewis said.
Under the OMB-NARA memo, agencies also have until December 2022 to convert their temporary records to an electronic format.
The road ahead: cloud storage, cybersecurity and reskilling
Even though NARA currently holds about at least 712 terabytes of electronic archival records, Brewer said that with agencies moving to the cloud, electronic record storage costs a fraction of paper records storage.
But cybersecurity remains a top concern for most agencies, based on conversations that Brewer has had with records management officials. But “forward-thinking” electronic records policies, he said, should ensure agencies keep records safe until they’re flagged for disposal or transfer to NARA.
“By focusing our attention and resources on electronic records, agencies can develop strategic approaches to managing our government’s critical information assets,” Brewer said.
The memo also calls on the Office of Personnel Management to review the job series for records management professionals and archivists and update them to reflect the skills they’ll need to manage digital records.
The records management workforce of the future, Lewis said, would require an “accelerated investment” in cybersecurity, as well as a faster pace on reskilling efforts happening elsewhere in government.
“The government, as well as industry, is going to have to attract and retain and develop experts in the digital world so that this data becomes much more accessible, much more searchable than it is today,” Lewis said.
Brewer said the workforce of the future should have a “greater awareness of technology in general,” as well as project management skills and an ability to coordinate with IT staff on best practices and common file types.
“We expect that we will be working with OPM to identify these skill sets and the required competencies,” Brewer said. “But we feel like this is something that needs to come along with what we’re doing, from a policy and programmatic perspective, to make sure that that the staff who are supporting this work are really set up to be successful in this new environment.”