Thursday, June 2, 2016

Preventing Digital Government Information from Falling Through the [Preservation] Cracks

In the analog world the preservation of government information has a clear flow. Content is created by a federal agency. When the need arises for distribution, it is sent to GPO (Government Publishing Office) and when the time comes to archive materials for the permanent record, they go to NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). Today this workflow is still effective for print materials, however much of the content produced by government agencies is no longer produced in an analog form, which means that the flow of content through GPO and NARA doesn’t happen in the same way, and potentially not at all.

To address these concerns, the Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit was held in San Antonio in early April. This meeting looked at the need for cross-sector collaboration to preserve and provide access to digital government information that may be falling through the cracks without an updated workflow to address the temporariness of web-based content. The end result was a report that outlines the events’ sessions and outcomes including discussions about the need for an environmental scan, development for a coalition of interested institutions representing the public and private sectors, and the need for a common vocabulary. 

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