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Partnerships Essential for State Government Digital Information Preservation According to UAlbany's Center for Technology in Government

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 25, 2006) -- The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany has released Preserving State Government Digital Information: A Baseline Report and State Government Digital Preservation Profiles. The report is based on results generated from a survey administered in January of 2006 to state/territorial librarians, archivists, and records managers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories, and was designed to create a state government digital information preservation baseline. The survey was undertaken as part of a two-year project to assist the U.S. Library of Congress in working with U.S. states and territories to form collaborative arrangements and develop strategies for preservation of significant state and local government information in digital form.

"Partnerships have emerged as the most viable strategy for securing the resources necessary for preserving state government digital information," said Theresa Pardo, deputy director of the Center for Technology in Government. "Whether these partnerships span units within a single agency or multiple state and local governments and in some cases the federal government, their development requires knowledge of capabilities and priorities to be shared among potential partners."

The report and profiles provide the baseline knowledge necessary to launch these critical partnership development efforts. The report includes an analysis of the results across states and territories and presents several observations on the current digital preservation environment and the challenges facing state government digital preservation initiatives. Recommendations to library, archives, records management and information technology professionals, agency executives, elected officials, and many others at all levels of government, on how to use this baseline information to build digital preservation partnerships are also included in the report. The state profiles present information by state to support the efforts of states to learn about each other, to identify potential partners, and to initiate partnership development efforts.

State libraries and archives have traditionally managed, preserved, and provided access to significant government information in paper and other traditional formats. More and more, however, this information is created in digital form. Much of it has short-term value, but a considerable fraction must remain available for many years, in some cases, permanently. Unfortunately, states are finding their current preservation capabilities do not extend from paper to digital formats. All signs point to continued growth in the volume and complexity of this information, yet library, archives and records management professionals are hampered in their efforts to respond to this growth by a host of resource gaps. These gaps include a lack of comprehensive program strategies, personnel and funding as well as a lack of technology infrastructure and appropriate and sufficient skills.

"The survey report and state profiles identify numerous 'launching points' for strengthening partnerships and undertaking joint preservation of state government digital information projects not only within the state archives community but, more importantly, with other necessary partners in the state libraries, IT departments, and other key agencies across the three branches of government," said Victoria Irons Walch, executive director of the Council of State Archivists.

CTG developed the survey in cooperation with an expert group of individuals representing the Council of State Archivists, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the Society of American Archivists, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This group was brought together by the Library of Congress in late August of 2005 to help CTG develop a national survey. The report includes a copy of the survey, a description of the survey process and an breakdown of the survey respondents.

Download the full report >>
View the state profiles >>

The Center for Technology in Government is an applied research center devoted to improving government and public services through policy, management, and technology innovation. The Center, located at the University at Albany, works with government to develop well-informed information strategies that foster innovation and enhances the quality and coordination of public services. For more information visit the Center for Technology in Government.


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