Agencies want industry's help with social media records

Federal agencies hoping for automation to identify, capture and store records

Federal agencies are looking for help from industry to help automate records management for their social-network platforms, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to federal officials speaking at a conference April 1.

The Best Practices in Social Media Retention at Federal Agencies panel discussion was sponsored by the American Council on Technology-Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) Collaboration and Transformation Shared Interest Group, which released a best practices report based on input with federal managers.


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A dream solution would identify, capture and apply federal and agency records management policies to content published on social media networks, said Jeffrey Levy, director of Web communications for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I can sum it up in one word: automate,” Levy said.

Ron Kelly, the Defense Department’s deputy director for enterprise services and integration, said ideally records management would be a comprehensive application that could be applied to social media.

“It would be simple and quick, with designed-in records management from the beginning,” Kelly said.

ACT-IAC reached similar conclusions in its report.

“When asked what they wanted in an ideal world, all agencies responded that they wanted a system which provides automatic metatdata and content capture without human intervention,” the ACT-IAC report said. “This would consist of an automated mechanism to identify, tag, create the metadata, and associate the data with the proper records schedule.”

Levy also said he would appreciate IT that would allow him to broadcast the same content easily across multiple channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Web pages. “I would love to have a single box I can check for the content to go to Facebook, the blog and Twitter,” he said.

Catherine Teti, knowledge manager at the Government Accountability Office, said her agency needs better and more affordable tools to capture, store and manage records, including social media records. “It needs to be affordable and sustainable,” Teti said.

“We are struggling with storage because of all the different media types,” Teti said. “We need vendor assistance with adaptable, flexible platforms. There are migration and management challenges.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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