NARA Nears Completion of Ingesting Bush Records

The National Archives and Records Administration announced this week that the agency has nearly completed the process of loading the electronic records of President George W. Bush into the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. To date, more than 85% of the total volume has been ingested.

The incorporation of Bush records is the second increment of the five increments planned for ERA. Called “Search and Access”, this second stage was developed to take in, and provide search and retrieval functions for key electronic records from the George W. Bush Administration.

On January 20th, when President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the National Archives received legal custody of the records created by the Bush administration. On that date, the data was delivered directly to ERA’s facilities on storage area network hardware, significantly easing the transfer process.

In the following months, National Archives IT specialists began the process of loading approximately 77 terabytes of data into the ERA system and preparing them for access. Seventy-seven terabytes is roughly thirty-five times the amount of data received from the Clinton administration, which itself was many times that of the previous George H.W. Bush administration.

The intake of these records is expected to be complete by the end of September, 2009. Currently, the use of the system is limited to Presidential Libraries staff, who are processing the records and responding to special access requests as needed. Presidential records only become subject to Freedom of Information Act requests five years after the end of the Presidential administration as specified in the Presidential Records Act, 44 USC 2001.

ERA is being developed incrementally with the support of Lockheed Martin Corporation, with main system capabilities being developed and released sequentially and designed to be flexible and interchangeable. The first increment of ERA-known as ERA Base-deals with the lifecycle management and transfer of Federal records.