US Government Accountability Office Releases Report on Challenges in Implementing an Electronic Records Archive

On May 14, 2008, the GAO released a status report on the efforts to implement an Electronic Records Archive for the Federal Government.  The 21-page report chronicles the numerous challenges encountered in the massive project started back in 2001. Cost over-runs and delays in the project plan make clear that the public sector faces the same challenges as those in the private sector in respect of gaining control over information assets.  Developing a comprehensive electronic document management system is a daunting challenge and the risk of failure is high.  

These efforts are necessary, notwithstanding the risks.  As the report states:

The ability to find, organize, use, share, appropriately dispose of, and save records—the essence of records management—is vital for the effective functioning of the federal government. In the wake of the transition from paper-based to electronic processes, records are increasingly electronic, and the volumes of electronic records produced by federal agencies are vast and rapidly growing, providing challenges to NARA as the nation’s record keeper and archivist.

For the complete report, see


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