President Obama issued a memorandum today calling for federal agencies to submit specific plans to reform records management practices, and report to the Office of Management and Budget within 120 days.
Specifically, each agency is asked to turn in a plan on how they will better manage electronic records, including email and social media data. Agencies are also asked to report on their use, if any, of cloud-based storage services, a method for storing data in remote data centers.
"When records are well managed, agencies can use them to assess the impact of programs, to reduce redundant efforts, to save money, and to share knowledge within and across their organizations," the memo said. "In these ways, proper records management is the backbone of open government."
Obama's directive comes in response to a 2010 assessment from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that showed most government agencies are not properly keeping electronic records. Of the 93 percent of agencies that self-reported findings, 95 percent acknowledged being at high to moderate risk of losing or compromising records.