George W. Bush Electronic Records Now Part of the Electronic Records Archives
Press Release · Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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Washington, DC…Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne Thomas announced today that the National Archives is well on its way to loading the electronic records of President George W. Bush into the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. To date, more than 85% of the total volume has been ingested.

ERA is the National Archives signature program to ensure government records with lasting value remain accessible into the future.

The incorporation of Bush records is the second increment of the five increments planned for ERA. Called Search and Access, this second stage was developed to take in, and provide search and retrieval functions for key electronic records from the George W. Bush Administration.

The Presidential Records Act gives the National Archives the legal custody of and responsibility for these records, and the task of responding to special access requirements immediately after the end of an administration. Therefore, on January 20th, when President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the National Archives received legal custody of the records created by the George W. Bush administration. In an unprecedented move, made possible by intense collaboration between National Archives archivists, the ERA development contractor, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and White House administration IT personnel, the data was delivered directly to ERA’s facilities on storage area network hardware, significantly easing the transfer process.

In the following months, National Archives IT specialists began the process of loading approximately 77 terabytes of data into the ERA system and preparing them for access. Seventy-seven terabytes is roughly thirty-five times the amount of data received from the Clinton administration, which itself was many times that of the previous George H.W. Bush administration.

The intake of these records is proceeding at a rapid pace, and is expected to be complete by the end of September, 2009. Currently, the use of the system is limited to Presidential Libraries staff, who are processing the records and responding to special access requests as needed. Presidential records only become subject to Freedom of Information Act requests five years after the end of the Presidential administration as specified in the Presidential Records Act, 44 USC 2001.

Sharon Fawcett, Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries said, “Given the volume of electronic records we received from the Bush administration, our ability to have most of our prioritized sets of records available for staff access is a significant achievement. This accomplishment was only possible due to the close collaboration among our archivists, our IT professionals and our contractors. We look forward to continued cooperation and progress as we face the challenges of making these records available to the public.”

ERA is being developed incrementally with the support of Lockheed Martin Corporation, with main system capabilities being developed and released sequentially and designed to be flexible and interchangeable. The first increment of ERA—known as ERA Base—deals with the lifecycle management and transfer of Federal records.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at: (202) 357-5300.


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