NARA Announces Roll Out of Electronic Records Archives Project

On June 27, 2008, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein announced the launch of the initial phase of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Project.

The achievement of this milestone comes after a nine-month delay in the rollout of the project and cost overruns estimated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at over $16 million. In 2005, the National Archives chose Lockheed Martin to develop the ERA system. Two years later the contractor informed NARA that it would be unable to meet the originally scheduled date of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in September 2007.

In the IOC stage, the new ERA system will support the basic process of determining how long federal agencies need to keep records and whether the records should be preserved in the National Archives afterwards. ERA will support this process for all federal records, whether they are paper, film, electronic, or other media.

In July, the National Archives will start moving approximately three and a half million computer files into ERA. The records eventually will be accessible online in ERA.

Four federal agencies (the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the National Oceanographic Office, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics) have been testing the system and are scheduled to start using ERA in September:

Despite the developmental delays, Dr. Weinstein has assured Congressional appropriation and authorizing committees that the ERA will be ready to receive Presidential electronic files from the Bush Administration when the President leaves office in January, 2009.