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Digital Modernization

USDA Faces Setback in Electronic Record Transition

Paperless transition

USDA Faces Setback in Electronic Record Transition

The Department of Agriculture is having difficulties complying with a directive requiring all agencies to go paperless in support of federal-wide electronic recordkeeping.

Per a 2019 memo issued by the Office of Management and Budget, the National Archives and Records Administration, which is responsible for keeping U.S. government documents, will stop accepting paper-based records at the end of 2022.

USDA said despite its efforts to transition to a digital format, its customers continue to submit paper records, FedScoop reported.

The OMB proposed the paperless management of records in an attempt to reduce the burden resulting from paper records.

“Maintaining large volumes of analog records requires dedicated resources, management attention, and security investments that should be applied to more effectively managing electronic records,” the OMB stated in its memo.

For its part, NARA launched the Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative to provide a modern, cost-effective, standardized and interoperable set of records management solutions for the entire government. Under FERMI, NARA identified the core requirements needed by federal agencies to support their records management programs.

The agency is also collaborating with the General Services Administration to improve the government-wide ERM system procurement process.

More recently, NARA released a draft plan outlining changes it needs to make before it can fully embrace electronic information. At the top of the agency’s list are digitizing millions of analog records, developing new ways to make information available to underserved communities and exploring new affordable technologies that can improve the record review, redaction and digitization processes.

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