November 14, 2009
GAO Comments on NARA's Progress for Electronic Archive
The General Accountability Office recently issued a statement updating its review of the National Archive's attempts to implement an electronic record keeping system for the unclassified data of the United States government. To get an idea of the scope of the project, the states that Archive had only ingested 2.3 terabytes of the 78.4 terabytes generated by the Bush administration's Executive Office of the President (EOP) over the course of 8 years. That number does not include the electronic records generated by Congress. A system for congressional materials will come online at a later point in time.
The GAO saw positives in the Archive efforts with the first two increments of five implemented, though behind schedule and with some cost overruns. These included the base system and the EOP module. The other 3 modules concern the aforementioned congressional intake system, and back up and restore functionality. The GAO identified problems such as inconsistent project management and a lack of information that identified what functionality had been delivered so far. If this project proves anything, it is that tech is hard, and even harder for a project of this scope. Documents come in various forms and on a multitude of media and it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money to sort it through. The ultimate goal is to make this information available online to the public. The GAO statement is here. [MG]