NARA seeking vendor to secure info

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) wants to make sure in the event of a disaster its information is safe.

The agency published a request for information April 9 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site for it to procure response-and-recovery services to deal with natural disasters, accidents or terrorist attacks. The contract would cover a wide array of media, including paper-based records, film, magnetic tape and computer files in various formats.

NARA said it hopes to find a solution to preserve data in case of fire or water damage.

"Response time is a critical factor in limiting loss," the request states.

NARA learned firsthand what sudden natural disasters can do. In June 2006, torrential downpours in Washington, D.C., flooded several agencies, including NARA. However, NARA officials said the RFI is not in response to that disaster. The agency wants a system in place because it has archives in 21 states, each facing different threats from natural-disasters

"Any institution is going to be potentially subjected to either man-made or natural disasters," said Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, chief of NARA's Document Conservation Laboratory. "If we have a contract in place, then we're just ready to go into immediate action."

Wade-Hahn Chan is a reporter with Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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