Paper piles are not a storage solution

Washington Technology Editor Nick Wakeman

My office and desk are usually awash in paper. Old newspapers, magazines, used notebooks and page proofs teeter in stacks and piles around me. It's a storage style that I've used since my early days in journalism. It works for me. I joke that I rarely lose anything because I rarely throw anything out. Funnily enough, it's a joke my wife doesn't seem to get.

But for the government, a lack of organization is no laughing matter. As staff writer Alice Lipowicz points out in her cover story on storage, the number and types of documents the government keeps is staggering. The Clinton administration generated 38 million e-mails. The estimate for the Bush administration is 100 million.

All of those e-mails are considered "documents" and must be saved and archived. And that's just the White House. Agencies also have e-mails as well as draft and final reports, letters, records, forms and all of the data those items contain.

One hope to ameliorate the need for every agency to save copies of everything lies with open standards, so that no matter what system you're using to store e-records, it can communicate and share its stored information with other systems. It's a simple concept, but one that Lipowicz notes is fraught with challenges, particularly determining whose open standard will be used.

This issue also explores something near and dear to the contractor community: the federal budget. The president's proposal for fiscal 2007 projects moderate growth, but as Roseanne Gerin's story points out, there are still plenty of opportunities.

And don't forget FOSE, the annual trade show produced by our parent company, PostNewsweek Tech Media. In the Emerging Tech Section Doug Beizer gives us a curtain raiser on the March 7-9 event in Washington.
I'll be there ? and not only because I can't stand the mess in my office.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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