Hawaii's state archivist, Susan Shaner, spends much of her time worrying about just that. On Monday, December 2, Governor Linda Lingle will finish her term and Neil Abercrombie will be sworn in as Governor of Hawaii. What happens to the state records when the new governor is sworn in at noon?
Where do old government Web pages go when the administration changes? If it's a state record, it must be preserved, according to state law.
Traditional paper documents have been preserved for decades and procedures have long been in place to keep state budget numbers, the state audits, the reports and memos, from tax collections to lists of state works of art. However, what Web pages are being kept? What about the governor's e-mail?
"We think in terms of forever, so with electronic information keeping it forever is very difficult. You have to migrate to whatever is the new system," Shaner reports. Just sticking everything on a hard drive and tucking it into a file cabinet won't work. Fifty years from now no one will even remember file cabinets and we certainly won't have hard drives.
You can read an interesting article about an archivist's challenges at http://goo.gl/BrZr7