Press/Journalists
Press Release
August 31, 1998
The Challenge of Electronic Records
for National Archives: A Joint Statement

At a meeting held at the Public Record Office in London, July 27-31, representatives from four national archives met to consider the issues raised for their institutions by the automation of government business. The delegates - from the national archives from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States -focused on the strategic questions that must be answered if national archives are to carry out their responsibilities for supporting the effective management of government records, preserving those assessed as having archival value and making archival records available to the public, in particular, electronic records. The emphasis of the proceedings was on the sharing of experience and on the development of practical responses to the challenges of automated information.

It was apparent that there were strong similarities in the analysis of the issues faced and possible responses. Accordingly, the four archives have provisionally agreed a common plan of work for the next twelve months. This includes formal collaboration on some projects and the development of a network of contacts to share information about developments on technological approaches to electronic records. This approach will build on work already undertaken by respective institutions.

Progress will be assessed at a meeting to be held in 1999, but the initial results of collaboration should begin to emerge early next year. The work is aimed primarily at continuing the development of the electronic records programme of each archives. The participants are committed to sharing work which might be of value to the broader community and will do so, notably through the Committee on Electronic and other Current Records of the International Council on Archives.

    National Archives of Australia
    National Archives of Canada
    National Archives and Records Administration, USA
    Public Record Office, UK

31 August, 1998

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

98-146

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