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Library of Congress Collaboration for Preservation of State Government Digital Information


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Issue Briefs (1)
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All signs point to continued growth in the volume and complexity of “born digital” government information. However, most states are hampered in their efforts to respond to this growth by a combination of technology, policy, political, and management issues, complicated by fragmented organizational roles and responsibilities for managing and preserving digital information. While traditional information and records custodians agree that not all digital information produced by government is worth saving, all agree that a small portion of this material is of permanent legal, legislative, or cultural value. In addition, a much larger portion has short and medium term value to CIOs, state and local agencies, the private sector, and citizens for purposes of e-government, e-commerce, and day-to-day government administration. To address these challenges, traditional information and records custodians and other key stakeholders, such as chief information officers (CIOs), need to reorient strategies toward sharing information and assets and understanding common- alities rather than emphasizing differences. It is time to move beyond debates over terminology and start treating digital information as a “public asset” with multiple values to both government and society.

Practical Guides (2)
Sharing Information book cover
Government enterprises face many performance challenges that can be addressed more successfully through better information-sharing initiatives. Regardless of the size and complexity of these initiatives, they are all made less challenging when participating organizations have a joint action plan that outlines what information sharing is necessary to be successful and what investments in capability must be made to close the gaps between capability required and capability available. Decisions to invest in information-sharing initiatives must be grounded in such an action plan. This toolkit is designed for government professionals tasked with planning and implementing initiatives that rely on effective information-sharing. It provides a process for assessing where capabilities for information-sharing exist and where they must be developed to achieve targeted goals. Assessment results provide a basis for action planning to fill capability gaps.

Download Dimension Worksheets>>

State and local governments are creating vast amounts of information solely in digital form, including land data, school records, official publications and court records. Much of this material is of permanent value, yet is at risk because of fragile media, technological obsolescence, or other hazards. State libraries and state archives typically have broad responsibility for preserving and providing public access to state and local government information of enduring value, but many other agencies also play critical roles in managing and preserving digital information.

States vary greatly in the work already undertaken on behalf of digital preservation, as well as in the resources available for the task. The degree and focus of leadership for digital preservation varies from state to state, as do the specific priorities for immediate preservation attention. This variation comes in part because there is currently no consensus view about how states (or other organizations) should go about doing digital preservation. The challenge is both so new and so large that everyone is still trying to determine the best methods.

This toolkit is designed for library, archives, records management, and information technology professionals to use when considering or planning for a digital preservation initiative. It provides a process for assessing where capability for digital preservation exists and where it must be developed in order to achieve the goal of preserving significant and at risk government information.

The toolkit is presented in four chapters as well as a comprehensive set of worksheets and related materials. Chapters 1-4 and Appendices 1-8 are available for download in PDF. Note: In order to help users of the toolkit compile multiple capability assessment ratings electronically, Appendix 8. Dimension Worksheets is provided also as a separate Microsoft Word document.

Reports (2)
Digital Preservation Partnerships book cover
Partnerships have emerged as the most viable strategy for securing the resources necessary for preserving state government digital information. Whether these partnerships span units within a single agency or multiple state and local governments and in some cases the federal government, their development requires knowledge of capabilities and priorities to be shared among potential partners. This report provides the baseline knowledge necessary to launch these critical partnership development efforts. Baseline data on state government digital information preservation capabilities and activities was collected in five key areas:
  1. Institutional Roles and Responsibilities
  2. State Government Digital Information Preservation Activities
  3. Training Needs for Digital Preservation
  4. State Government Digital Information Currently At-Risk
  5. Engagement with Enterprise Architecture
Six observations about the challenges facing state government digital preservation initiatives emerged from the baseline data:
  1. Capability for preserving state government digital information is low.
  2. There is no consistent approach to addressing “at-risk” information.
  3. Authority for setting standards and responsibility for providing digital preservation services is dispersed.
  4. Executive, legislative, and judicial agencies operate parallel digital preservation efforts.
  5. Digital preservation and Enterprise Architecture initiatives are not well-connected.
  6. Efforts to develop strategic digital preservation programs are hampered by problem focused practices and funding and staffing models.
A complementary resource to this baseline reports enables you to review the individual profiles from the responding units within the states/territories.
>> State Government Digital Preservation Profiles.

State libraries and archives have traditionally managed, preserved, and provided access to significant government information in paper and other traditional formats. More and more, however, this information is created in digital form. Much of it has short-term value, but a considerable fraction must remain available for many years, in some cases, permanently. Unfortunately, states are finding their current preservation capabilities do not extend from paper to digital formats. All signs point to continued growth in the volume and complexity of this information yet library, archives and records management professionals are hampered in their efforts to respond to this growth by a host of resource gaps. These gaps include a lack of comprehensive program strategies, personnel and funding as well as a lack of technology infrastructure and appropriate and sufficient skills.

Journal Articles and Conference Papers (1)
DGO Proceedings Cover
Hyuckbin Kwon, Theresa A. Pardo, and G. Brian Burke
Proceedings of the 7th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research, USA, 277-284, Mon, 02 Jan 2006, Eight pages >Download PDF
Based on the findings of 2005 Library of Congress workshops and previous efforts on digital preservation, this paper discusses the challenges and opportunities regarding interorganizational collaboration and community building for digital preservation of state government information.


Digital Archiving: From Fragmentation to Collaboration

Report and press release from the June 2006 National Association of Secretaries of State and National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council (eC3) symposium on state government archiving of digital information. CTG staff organized and facilitated the day and a half symposium session with secretaries of state, state archivists, state librarians, IT solutions vendors and others interested in the issue of digital archiving. Also, CTG wrote the symposium report, which CTG presented at the December 2006 annual eC3 conference in Sacramento, California.
> Download Press Release [ Dead Link ]

Partnering for Preservation

Can governments come up with plans to preserve digital information for future generations? Yes, but CIOs must be on board to make it happen. > Download Article
By Theresa A. Pardo and Brian Burke
Public CIO Magazine
April-May 2006 Issue

Preservation of State Government Digital Information: Issues and Opportunities

Report of the Library of Congress Convening Workshops with States
2005 > Download PDF
The Library of Congress convened three workshops with representatives from all 50 states during 2005 to listen and learn about how states are coping with the digital preservation challenge. CTG staff played a key role in planning, facilitating, and analyzing the results of the workshops. Findings from the workshops are outlined in this report.

Regulatory Impacts on E-Records Management Decisions

Prepared by the NECCC Records Management Workgroup
2005 > Download PDF
As part of CTG’s project with the Library of Congress, CTG staff participated in the NECCC Records Management Workgroup and contributed to this paper. This NECCC workgroup paper seeks to describe and discuss the impact on state and local public agencies of the unintended results created by new regulations and changes in regulatory assignments by the federal government. Several case studies are highlighted to show what jurisdictions are doing to solve this issue.