Created by the Council of State Archivists, the day highlights the onerous and critical task agencies are now faced with as the number of digital records climbs ever higher.
The Council of State Archivists held its seventh annual Electronic Records Day on Wednesday to raise awareness of increasing efforts by state agencies to preserve their electronic records.
As the number of electronic documents continue to grow, whether it’s social media posts or newly-digitized versions of old paper-based policy documents, CoSA has worked with government to inform the public about the crucial role these records play in the public's everyday life and the importance of managing and preserving these records for the future.
“[CoSA] wanted to draw attention to the real need in government to think about electronic records and digital preservation,” CoSA Executive Director Barbara Teague told StateScoop. “We have also expanded [Electronic Records Day] because we want individuals to think about their own, personal digital archiving. If [people] are thinking how to take care of those records personally, then they will understand what a huge issue it is for government to think about how to take care of electronic records.”
Between 2006 to 2016, there was a 1,693 percent increase in state and territorial electronic records, according to a report published by CoSA. This increase has led to a 445 percent growth of electronic over paper records. The rapid rise of electronic records is why CoSA launched its awareness campaign.
CoSA works with the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, and the National Association of Secretary of States on the preservation of electronic data. Teague said while CoSA is concerned with the data itself, these organizations focus on technology such as data centers and cloud services that store and deliver the information.
Teague said the initiative began in 2011 to meet an emerging problem for state government.
“CoSA realized the issues that all of our members were having with electronic records and digital preservation, they really did not have the capacity to deal with the exponential growth in state government,” she said.
The initiative has since launched a portal where people can share their electronic resources. These days, she said CoSA is working on a new grant with its association partners, to work together and share information with their members with the intention of establishing stronger conservation and management of electronic records.
NASCIO announced on Wednesday it will release a playbook within “the next several days” detailing best practices for state governments working on digital records preservation.
“States must be intentional and focus on governance and management of electronic records,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a press release. “State officials know this, however greater attention to an enterprise e-records roadmap and more collaboration will accelerate progress.”