States need to standardize e-record preservation

State governments should take an enterprisewide approach with an established informational technology governance structure to ensure they meet legal requirements for preserving electronic records, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).

A NASCIO publication released recently reports that states continue to struggle to meet the challenges posed by the amount of official communications done electronically. State chief information officers along with archivists, record managers and the state attorneys general all have a role to play in determining how a state should maintain its electronic records, the study said.

The report states that many states have approached electronic records management on a "piecemeal basis," which makes establishing a comprehensive statewide IT governance structure important.

The NASCIO report also identified a series of benefits associated with an "enterprise approach" to electronic records management. It includes ensuring that records are:
  • Appropriately identified and classified.
  • Maintained according to retention policies.
  • Locatable and retrievable.
  • Protected during a disaster.

The study said after a governance structure is established and money is allocated, states likely will need to learn where their agencies are in terms of electronic records preservation. Next, states need to prioritize which records are most important to preserve, the study said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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