Ferriero: Strong records management key to open government
The National Archive and Records Administration is using the principles of strong records management to promote openness, said its Chief Archivist David Ferriero, while speaking Oct. 17 at ARMA, in Oxon Hill, Md.
President Barack Obama's signing of the Open Government Partnership Sept. 20 and tandem submission of the United States' National Action Plan (.pdf) has put a new emphasis on records management as a tool for transparency, he added. The plan states "that the backbone of a transparent, accountable government is strong records management that documents the decisions and actions of the federal government," said Ferriero.
Late last year, NARA launched Online Public Access, or OPA, which provides a public portal for access to its digitized ERA records. And NARA's now-operational Electronic Records Archive is enabling a new era of government openness, he said.
While ERA has moved past the development stage, Ferriero emphasized that the system is a work in progress, designed to evolve as electronic records change and new technology becomes available.
The success of the ERA largely depends on agency-level efforts to populate the system and the work of skilled records managers. As such, NARA pushed for a records management job classification and the administration has since tapped it to be considered a high-priority occupation, said Ferriero.
"Currently records managers are classified in a variety of positions with a wide range of duties and grades. Earlier this year, the Office of Personnel Management proposed the establishment of a new occupational series encompassing management functions related to the freedom of information, the privacy act and records management," said Ferriero.
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