We’ve all turned green! You know what I mean. People are more eco-conscious than ever before, and they’re trying to preserve the natural resources. I admit to being concerned about global warming and preserving energy, but some things have me steamed. One of them is the lack of documents being produced and saved for the future.
The Federal Records Act, Chapter 31, defines how federal agencies are to handle the transfer of records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Archivist is responsible for records preservation issues. There are legislated policies for emails that prescribe treating electronic documents the same as paper documents. (It took Congress a while to come up with that one, I’ll bet.) Hardcopy printouts are to be maintained for future reference, even though these documents can be printed without sender information, IP address, and other data. Rather than maintain paper printouts, though, there has been a move to preserve them in digital image form. This will prevent the destruction of forests of trees and the need to build additional NARA facilities to house the mountains of paper, much of it printed on non-archival-safe paper.
Certainly there are challenges for the Archivist at NARA.
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