Manage the digital information of state agencies and, where appropriate, preserve the digital record for historical purposes
Since 1732 the State of Georgia has carefully selected and preserved records of historical significance. Since 1918 these have been maintained in the state archives. Over the centuries, methods for selecting and preserving paper records have developed into a well-documented and cost-effective process. No such method yet lives for electrical devices records. Without conscious effort now, many of today's records that tell the story of Georgia will be lost to historians and the state's citizens (Shipman, 2001, 87).
Electronic records can be read only if the proper hardware and software exists, and the pace with which technology changes make it unlikely that today's electronic records will be readable in even twenty or thirty years, let alone 200 years. Just 25 years ago, eight-inch floppy disks were still a common method of storing electronic files. Today, no computer in state government is capable of processing such a disk; and such a computer, if one were found, would no longer contain the software needed to read the files. Yet state agencies create records every day that must be available to citizens and historians for decades—and even centuries—into the future. Many records created in electronic form have long term legal, administrative, and historical value: Governor's correspondence files, e-mails, press releases, and Executive Orders; laws passed by the General Assembly (which shortly will be created and processed in electronic form); Department of Transportation maps and plans; even the photographs used by Tourism agencies to document and advertise the state—photos which have always provide a historical record of changing Georgia—are now created in electronic form and may well disappear within decades (Gerstel, 1994, 11-17).
The Georgia Archives, in partnership with the Georgia Technology Authority, Pardons and Paroles, and other state agencies, has taken the first steps toward building a Digital Archive—one of the first in the nation. Using federal grant funds, the Archives drafted policies and procedures, piloted an entirely electronic Executive Clemency process, and installed the first server to harvest and preserve electronic documents. The development of a comprehensive Digital Archive will require the support of the Governor's Office, the General Assembly, and every state agency.
The Digital Archive will manage electronic records so that each is kept as long as—and only as long as—its retention period requires. This will reduce storage costs, avoid potential litigation costs (by eliminating accidental loss of records and preventing the retention of records beyond their legal retention period), and ensure the survival of historical records in electronic form. In addition, the Digital Archive will build confidence in the state's ability to protect electronic records against accidental disclosure and loss, thereby encouraging the creation of more records in electronic form and reducing the state's dependence on paper records (Deeter, 1979, 175).
Lifecycle administration of Government notes in Georgia
The Georgia Archives is mandated by statute to ensure ...