On January 24th, 2008, Jonathan Pettus, NASA’s CIO made an internal announcement (by email I suppose) to all managers titled “NASA Records Management and Email”. In this announcement, Pettus reminded all managers that emails can be records and these email records must be preserved in compliance with the US Federal Records Act.
Lest the readers think I have an inside connection at NASA, I do not. This announcement is available publicly on the web at http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=26786.
But I digress.
Pettus specifically said “…We are responsible for effectively and efficiently managing all our federal records, regardless of format or media (including paper, microform, electronic, and audiovisual), throughout their life cycle. E-mail messages that document the accomplishment of agency business are federal records that must be preserved. A recent NASA Inspector General audit has underscored the importance of improving agency-wide e-mail records management...”. He also said that NASA was implementing internal systems to do that, but in the mean time, they have taken steps to retain all emails of select senior managers.
It is fitting that NASA should be one of the leading agencies when it comes to email records. Almost by definition, they are supposed to lead in everything. Nevertheless, what NASA is doing is newsworthy. In my last blog I made the point that organizations are increasingly looking at managing their emails as business documents and corporate records. This article simply proves the point. The emerging ideal “email archiving” solution is a solution that provides all the compliance and mailbox archiving features that we have seen so far in the marketplace. But in addition, (i) it must be able to archive all forms and formats of content including emails in order to avoid having to build a separate archive infrastructure for emails, and (ii) it must have a proven track record to scale to the levels required by the organization.
We are going to continue seeing further integration of email archiving offerings within content archiving offerings.
It makes sense.
Technical Advisory Committee Member