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IN TODAY'S DIGITAL AGE, pen is rarely put to paper. Because they realize that most records and files exist only electronically and need to be specially maintained, officials in Washington at the National Archives and Records Administration are at work on a $308 million electronic-records archive.

The system will help NARA deal with the deluge of electronic records that federal agencies produce each month. The Department of Defense alone will submit one billion electronic personnel files to NARA over the next 10 years, said Ken Thibodeau, NARA's director of the archival program.

The agency contracted with Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., to build the archive, which will store records in their original format to retain authenticity. NARA estimates that national agencies use more than 4,800 different file formats.

The system should launch in 2007 and be fully operational by 2011, Thibodeau said.

Lockheed's biggest challenge will be to design a system that can evolve with file format changes and digital storage methods, he said.

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Title Annotation:computing
Author:Thilmany, Jean
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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