Thursday, December 15, 2011

Catching up

A few things you might have missed:
  • Late last month, President Obama issued a memorandum directing each federal government agency to perform a comprehensive review of its records management program and then prepare a report for the Archivist of the United States and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that outlines its plans to maintain and improve its program, "particularly with respect to managing electronic records, including email and social media, deploying cloud based services or storage solutions, and meeting other records challenges." These reports are due on 27 March 2012.
  • Paper records created during an internal military investigation of a November 2005 massacre of civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha were slated for destruction. However, the records, many of them marked as being secret, ended up in trailers purchased by a local businessman, who hauled the trailers to a Baghdad junkyard. Several weeks ago, a New York Times reporter covering the American withdrawal from Iraq inadvertently found them there. At present, it is unclear whether the military will open an investigation into the handling of these records.
  • After a legal review, the Massachusetts State Archives has decided to open approximately 460 boxes of paper records of former Governor and current Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to researchers. Staff will review the files prior to disclosure and either remove or redact legally restricted information. The repository initially restricted access to the records as a result of a court ruling stating that gubernatorial records were exempt from the state's freedom of information law. As you'll recall, during the last days of the Romney administration, all of the files on its e-mail servers were deleted, several high-ranking officials were allowed to purchase the state-owned hard drives they used, and leased computer equipment was replaced.
  • The administration of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley routinely deletes internal e-mails. The administration claims that it does so in order to free up storage space on its server, but Erik Emerson, Director of the state's Department of Archives and History, asserts that it violates state records laws.
  • OccupyArchive is George Mason University's Roy Rosenzweig Center for the History of New Media effort to capture digital items documenting Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy movements throughout the world. As Rosenzweig Center director Sharon Leon notes, they're "documenting a post-print movement" -- something that archivists must do if they want to ensure a complete and accurate documentary record.
  • Finally, on a lighter note, here's why we need to caution teens about sexting: sooner or later, their sexts will be all over the Internet for everyone to read.

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