The idea that easy access to government information, facilitated by information technology, can make government more open, accessible, and transparent has been an enduring theme for decades. This idea recently received renewed emphasis through the combination of government reform efforts and the emergence of advanced technology tools for information access and storage. Federal and many state governments see the use of enterprise content management systems as a key strategy for improving the mangement of electronic records, reducing the reliance on inefficient paper driven processes, and increasing openness and transparency in government. However, the implementation of such systems is no simple matter and requires that attention be paid to and investements made in management and policy capabilities as well as technology.
CTG has engaged in numerous projects that have bridged the gap between theory and practice by producing generalizable tools that link business objectives to sound information mangement practices. CTG has worked with the US Library of Congress on digital preservation strategies for states; partnered with the New York State Archives and Records Administration and National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to develop a set of practical guidelines to support and promote secondary uses of electronic records; and conducted a case study with the NYS Adirondack Park Agency to develop a practical way to incorporate essential electronic records requirements into the design of new information systems. Through these projects, CTG has developed a robust set of guides and tools, as well as used our expertise to conduct numerous electronic records workshops with organizations such as the United Nations to facilitate many of these best practices.
In support of the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) initiative to integrate core business processes and associated records and other information resources into an agency-wide Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, CTG researchers used business process analysis and our extensive experience working on government information management initiatives to help develop and pilot an agency-wide ECM strategy.
CTG and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) project team developed an Enterprise Content Management Strategy based on the work conducted over a six month period. Below are the key project activities.
Conduct Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system tools orientation with CTG team and identify business processes to be used during the project. This will include a Developer Workshops where CTG and HIS teams discuss how HCR is using current ECM tools and learn more about the capabilities of each (Sharepoint and Livelink).
Map out a selected core business process and information relationships and conduct a business process improvement activity. This resulted in an improved business process model and the identification of key records and determine the records to be retained in ECM system for the selected process.
Identify records retention requirements and security classifications including a Records Classification Workshop with records manager, business process owner, OCS, NYS Archives and ITS. The result was a Record Classification Document for Single Process and Records Classification Criteria Template for Additional Processes.
Map the business process and associated documents to the ECM system. A developer workshop was held and focused on presenting a draft standardized entity/document relationship diagram based on the selected business process. The result was a Standardized Entity/Document Relationship Diagram for Single Process and Dataset Design Document to include Controlled Vocabulary and Standardized Index Value Templates.
Finalize ECM Strategy “How To” Guide and additional tools. All analysis, findings, and recommendations developed during the project were integrated into a ECM Strategy “how to” guide and additional tools to support the design and implementation of an ECM strategy.
CTG has updated Opening Gateways: A Practical Guide for Designing Information Access Programs. This guide is designed to help government agencies develop affordable, manageable, and effective information access programs. Since its last update in 2002, technological advances have given us a much broader array of tools and approaches to providing access to information. The type of planning processes facilitated by this Guide are more relevant than ever.
CTG assisted the Library of Congress in working with U.S. states and territories to form collaborative arrangements and develop strategies for preservation of significant state and local government information in digital form. From this project, CTG developed a Capability Assessment Guide and a Baseline Report on state government digital information preservation capabilities and activities. In addition, a CTG issue brief details how states can best address the combination of technology, policy, political, and management issues, which are further complicated by fragmented organizational roles and responsibilities for managing and preserving digital information.
Increasingly, state governments are moving toward making primary legal materials available online via state government websites. The goal in these efforts, and also the challenge, is to provide users with more efficient access while ensuring that the electronic versions of primary legal materials are as “official” as their paper originals. CTG issued a report, Opening Government’s Official Legal Materials: Authenticity and Integrity in the Digital World with recommendations for states.
In an environment where business is increasingly conducted electronically, systematic processes for electronic records management and preservation are crucial. Without question, organizations need electronic records that are reliable and authentic, usable for multiple purposes, and accessible over time for both business and secondary uses. CTG's report, Models for Action: Practical Approaches to Electronic Records Management & Preservation, presents a set of tools that incorporate essential electronic records requirements into the design of new information systems. Moreover, the practical tools seek to bridge the gap between records management theory and practice by linking an organization's business objectives to its records management processes.
CTG works with government organizations at all levels to assist government officials and managers responsible for managing their information in paper and electronic form. These workshops cover challenges ranging from:
Our most recent project was funded by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.