Preserving Information in Government
Alan Kowlowitz, Manager, Electronic Records Management Services NYS Archives and Records Administration
Alan Kowlowitz gave a presentation on data preservation in government agencies. He started by listing a series of problems in data preservation:
- Preserving access and usability over time requires ongoing maintenance of the data, which can be costly.
- The costs are acceptable for information with immediate business value.
- The issue of preservation is usually not addressed when systems are planned.
- The information without immediate business value is at risk.
He presented a series of reasons for data preservation:
(1) a clear legal requirement, it is more easy if the agency has a mandate;
(2) a long-term programmatic need, i.e. if the agency see a long-term use;
(3) existence of secondary users, it increases the value of information and the risk of managed information;
(4) high risk and visibility, agencies want to be able to answer questions;
(5) demonstrable benefits; and
(6) organizational culture.
Alan gave a number of examples of organizations that have successfully addressed their data preservation issues: DOH Vital Records/Disease Registries, DCJS Trends Data, DED BEDS, and DOCS Under-Custody. The future direction for SARA is to address data preservation issues, specifically how to reduce costs through the use of more focused system planning, technology, organizational models, and education.
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