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Subject: Re: Web Page Retention
From: Scott Leonard <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 24 Oct 2003 10:09:25 -0500

text/plain (88 lines)


Much of the discussion has revolved around basically web sites with
basically static content.  And that was generally the situation at the
time of the NARA instructions to federal agencies on preserving the
Clinton administration web sites.  Static sites are easy to capture.
But things get complicated as you begin to venture into the realm of
dynamically-generated sites (which are the standard today), those where
the content is created on the fly, oftentimes by a database that resides
"behind the scenes" and build the site each time a user accesses the

These sites will be the headache behind any lawsuits because each user
is seeing a unique view of the site each time the site is hit.  It is
not cost effective to attempt to recreate the site for each individual
user session, but the organization needs to have some tools to guide the
decision makers (legal, management, records officers, etc.) who will
need determine what and how to protect the organization from legal
liability.  Two sources that can help guide the decision process are two
publications that we have used in developing our guidelines for State of
Kansas government agencies.  One is the 1998 report by Charles McClure
and Timothy Sprehe, "Guidelines for Electronic Records Management on
State and Federal Agency Web Sites," which while dealing primarily with
the world of static sites introduces a concept of "accountability
exposure."  The report can be found online at  The 2nd,
which builds on the McClure/Sprehe approach to accountability exposure
and risk is the guidelines developed by the National Archives of
Australia and the National Library of Australia, which can be found at  Our
guidelines are going through the formal approval process, but we have
finalized the content.  If you are interested in getting a copy, contact
me and I'll e-mail you one.

Scott A. Leonard
Electronic Records Specialist
Kansas State Historical Society
6425 SW Sixth Avenue, Topeka, KS 66615
Phone:  785-272-8681, ext. 280
E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

>>> "Gervais, John" <[log in to unmask]> 10/23/03 9:34:15 AM
I know I mentioned this previously, but I didn't receive to many

I researched our retention authorities and it appears that web pages
categorized for retention.  I know that the "content" of the pages is
captured in the R&D schedules/authorities, but would we not want to
a "snapshot" of the web page?  What if someone were to say they made a
business decision based on information we provided on our website and
went wrong and subsequently took legal action?  Wouldn't it be nice to
back and look at the page to ensure that we did indeed provide correct
information? or What if there were electronic snafu's and we lost
information, wouldn't it be nice to be able to go back and obtain the
original information from the page and recreate it?

I would appreciate your insight and feedback on this issue and if
actually have retention periods for the actual web page itself.  If we
respecting our IM Policy, which is all about managing the life cycle
information, would we not want to include the capturing of "web

Thank you.  It is 2 degrees Celsius here brrrrrr!

John A. Gervais
Program Manager
Policy and Communications Section
Strategic Planning and Communications Division
Information Management Directorate
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
25 Nicolas Street, 16th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0L5

' 1-613-957-6621

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