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Subject: Re: Electronic Records Question
From: "Roach, Bill J." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 30 Oct 2003 17:31:45 -0600

text/plain (35 lines)

>>"a record is a record is a record."<<

True, if the issue we are considering is the retention value.  Retention is
determined by the information not the media.  However, when we are talking
about archiving records in an archives, where information is expected to be
accessible long after we are gone, a record is not a record is not a record.

The potential for keeping electronic records permanently is intriguing but
not yet reality.  However, even if we could, we need to remember that not
all formats of electronic records are created equally.  If I store a TIF or
txt file, I would expect to be able to access the information for a
reasonably long period of time.  Market use of the formats and the standards
that exist.  On the other hand, expecting the compound document files
created by a high end CAD/CAM system to be accessible after 25 years is
questionable at best.

Now it might be argued that the files can be migrated every few years to
meet retention.  That is a possibility.  But to do that, the archives would
need access to the hardware and software for each application.  Most of the
archives I know of can barely afford to pay the rent, let alone spend
millions on hardware and software to address a problem they shouldn't face
in the first place.

Our archives will except electronic files in TIF G4, PDF and TXT.  They will
accept other formats as an accessible format only when the archival record
is stored to film or paper.

Bill Roach, CRM
Enterprise EDMS Coordinator
State of North Dakota
ITD/Records Management

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