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 INTRODUCE PRESENTATION: I want to thank DLF for giving me this opportunity to present a briefing on the Electronic Records Archives Program at National Archives.  My focus will be to give you some background and to provide as much current information as I can on the procurement of this system that we hope will enable NARA to address the electronic records challenges currently facing all of us at this forum.
 My primary purpose today is to provide you with a quick overview ERA program and an update on where it is today.
When you leave here, I want you to know that at least 3 things:
*That ERA is NARA’s  strategic response to the challenge of electronic records.
*That ERA will ensure NARA’s ability to fulfill it’s commitment to the federal government
*That ERA will preserve and ensure access to any kind of electronic record over time
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s recordkeeper.  NARA is a public trust that safeguards the records of the American people, ensuring the accountability and credibility of their national institutions, while documenting their national experience.
Today NARA holds in the National Archives of the United States and the Presidential Libraries an estimated 4 billion records nationwide.  The archives consist of the permanently valuable records generated in all three branches of the Federal Government, supplemented with donated documentary materials.
These records span this country’s entire experience, across our history, the breadth of our nation, and our people.  Not surprisingly, with the passage of time, the medium of the records of the United States has become diverse in format.  While paper documents predominate, NARA holds enormous numbers of reels of motion picture film; maps, charts and architectural drawings; sound and video recordings; aerial photographs; still pictures and posters; and computer data files.  It is the last, the computer data sets, the electronic records, that is the fastest growing record keeping medium in the United States and elsewhere in the world, as well in most of your institutions as well.
The challenges facing NARA with electronic records include scope, variety, complexity, volume and obsolescence.
For Scope, NARA has the responsibility for accepting records from all the Federal agencies as well as Congress and the courts.  The variety of records that we anticipate include office automation,  (email), image, video and audio formats.  Complexity such as decision support systems or GIS, applets and interactive World Wide Web pages, volume in both files and bytes, with current examples of Clinton email files, State Department diplomatic cables, office military personnel files, which are images files, and the 2000 Census.
And then there is obsolescence, the rapidly changing natures of systems used to create records
A major reason that NARA has a good chance of building a system to deal with all types of electronic records is the more than 30 years of experience in processing, preserving and providing reference to electronic records created by Federal agencies.
Although the current systems really only deal well with simple, database files, the issues associated with processing electronic records are well understood and have been defined in the requirements for the Electronic Records Archives system.
ERA is NARA’s Strategic response to the challenges posed by electronic records.  It is a comprehensive, systematic and dynamic means of preserving and providing continuing access to authentic electronic records over time.  The key phrase is any type of electronic record created anywhere in the Federal Government.  This is a major departure from current practices.
From this directive, ERA’s Vision Statement was created which states that ERA will authentically preserve and provide access to any kind of electronic record, free from dependency on any specific hardware or software, enabling NARA to carry outs its mission into the future.
If you would like more information about the ERA program you should check out out web site and look at three documents that deal more with the archival issues
Point to ERA resources on Archives.Gov
-Concept of Operations (ConOps)
-Introduction to Preservation and Access Levels (PAL)
-Introduction to Policies, Templates, and Requirements Concepts (TEMP)
While preserving electronic records serves the same fundamental purpose, the process is substantially different.  Traditional records are often terms “hard copy” in that the information that the record contains is inscribed in a hard, indissoluble manner on a physical medium, and the physical inscription conveys the information
When ERA was first established in 1998 by the Archivist, the focus was on finding research partners to find solutions to the electronic records challenge.
By 2001 it was clear that to build a system that we were beginning to articulate, we would need outside support to assist with program management.  We also involved NARA staff to identify the requirements for this system by chartering key integrated product teams and we began to document decisions and needs.  Finally, the staff of 3 grew to more than 20 on the government side.
For the next three years the emphasis will be on designing and  building the system that we have worked to hard to define.
The ERA solicitation is a call for industry to propose new and innovative approaches to the unique issues NARA faces.  In the solicitation we have striven to define the electronic records challenge without prescribing implementation or techniques that dress the issues.
If you have looked at our procurement documents you will find very little design specifics.  The OAIS standard as well as some Department of Defense and National Institute of
From the vision statement we move to implementation models – how to translate the vision into reality.  The Open Archival Information System reference model was developed by a group affiliated with Space Data Systems and other groups – adopted as an ISO standard 14721 in 2003.  It is domain neutral w/ characteristics broadly applicable to the mgmt of any info over time.
Exploring alternatives and tradeoffs for such a system, the ERA AoA IPT recommended that ERA be an integrated system that provides OAIS foundation services, such as ingestion of electronic records; storage of electronic records for as long as needed; data management; and the ability to provide access to the records from anywhere on demand.
ERA concept of Operations defined user roles mapping to the different stages of the records lifecycle. No stove-piped organizational chart – lines are blurred and continuous re. roles and functions.
There are certain assumptions and drivers that inform the deployment approach for ERA.  The goals include: NARA must own and control at least one set of all holdings of electronic records entrusted to it.  This is required for protection of the records and fulfillment of NARA’s mission to ensure long term preservation and access to the government’s records The ERA system is one of NARA’s contributions to the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) and fulfills a critical role in the development and deployment of NARA’s own Enterprise Architecture Produce a highly reliable system design:  characteristics should include avoidance of single point/site of failure; graceful performance degradation of the system when failures occur, and maintenance of system operations in face of remedial maintenance, preventative maintenance, and planned upgrades/changes The design and deployment vision for ERA must allow for the contracting out of record processing and access support, if NARA chooses to exercise that option in the future.  The contracting out of record services must be done within the context of NARA’s mission and ultimate responsibility for the integrity of the records. Minimize government ownership of equipment and facilities, while balancing NARA’s stewardship of the records and commitment to FEA support Allow industry and academia to provide value added services on record holdings
The Source Selection team, including the contracting officer, a General Counsel staff, and technical, management and price and cost analysis teams, has received proposals for the ERA solicitation from a number of vendors and is on track for the contract award stage occurring in the third or fourth quarter of FY04.  NARA plans to award up to two contracts for the development of the system design. This design competition will allow each competitor to present a system design and working prototype that demonstrates their vision of ERA in action.  At the end of the base contract period of one year, NARA will choose the best design and the best team to proceed with development of the system.
The Virtual Archives Laboratory (VAL) is a joint partnership between NARA, The San Diego SuperComputer Center (SDSC) and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) to design and test an architecture for a Federated Persistent Archives which can address the requirements for large scale, long term archiving of electronic records.
The Persistent Archives research at NARA focuses on developing the attributes of a persistent system that will continue to operate over a long period of time and is primarily concerned with the issues of scalability, extensibility, and evolvability. In keeping with these aims, the Virtual Archives Laboratory provides a safe, secure environment suitable for testing prototype persistent archives applications and systems.
Research Partnerships
Partnerships are an important part of Persistent Archives
research plan. NARA is working closely with the SDSC and
UMIACS in conducting research using the VAL as a virtual
testing ground. ERA will use the VAL to test products in the
marketplace and  as a vehicle to gather additional research
knowledge. It is envisioned to be an environment where
 people can do research on electronic records issues.
Cutting Edge Technology and Forward-Focused Initiatives
One of the current projects being tested out in the VAL is a prototype system that leverages the SDSC’s Storage Resource Broker technology (SRB), (a middleware application that uses grid and metadata technologies to transparently manage data,) and MCAT metadata catalog to manage NARA-designated data collections. ERA has elected to use SDSC’s InQ (InQuisitor) interface to manage files. The system  makes the storage and retrieval of the data stored at these locations transparent to users. One of the key features of the SRB is that it is  designed to be scalable, modular and infrastructure independent.
Utilizing these technologies, ERA research has set up a prototype system that runs off of servers at NARA, SDSC, and UMIACS. Over the course of the first phase of this initiative, several terabytes of data collections will be ingested, registered and replicated among the three sites over high speed connections.
The Change Management effort within ERA seeks to enable NARA to successfully adapt and take advantage of the services that the ERA system will provide to NARA staff and external users.  Our first step in this effort was the development of an Organizational Change Management Plan.  We wrote the plan to outline some of the initial steps for identifying the actions required to prepare NARA staff, customers, oversight groups and the public for the cultural, organizational, process and technology changes that will occur while NARA implements the ERA system. 
With the plan in the place, the communications and change management staff developed an interview/ questionnaire to begin an exchange of ideas among various stakeholders within NARA.   Our goal was to learn how well the staff felt that they were informed about the ERA program and to see if they thought NARA staff was ready to accept the changes that this system will introduce. 
Once the interviews are completed, we will issue a report on our findings and develop a plan to address the issues uncovered in these stakeholder interviews.  These interviews are just the beginning of our dialogue with NARA staff about the ERA program.
Legacy transition plan in process to migrate functionality of existing applications within ERA.