At the end of the 20th Century, NARA began research into the challenges and issues dealing with taking in, preserving, and providing access to electronic records created by the Federal Government. NARA took a hard look at its business processes, as well as ways to improve how it conducts business. During that time, NARA developed partnerships with private and public sector partners within academic, archival, and information fields to determine technical solutions for properly managing and preserving electronic records.
Right now, the current holdings of electronic records at NARA are approximately 18.1 terabytes, which is about 18,534 gigabytes. The volume in the coming years is expected to increase exponentially. Imagine the storage space that would be required if all those documents were physical copies you could hold in your hand. In essence, this amount of data is equal to 18,534 libraries, or 18,978,816 books, or 19,434,307,584 pieces of paper.