May 22, 2022

"Obama Wants Better Digital Archive of Federal Records" + Full Text of Presidential Memorandum

From the Washington Post:

President Obama on Monday ordered agencies to make wider use of digital-based record-keeping systems in what aides promise will be the most significant change to government archiving since Harry S. Truman’s presidency.

“The current federal records management system is based on an outdated approach involving paper and filing cabinets,” Obama said in a statement announcing the orders. “Today’s action will move the process into the digital age so the American public can have access to clear and accurate information about the decisions and actions of the federal government.”

The government’s electronic archives top 142 terabytes of data, or 14,200 gigabytes. By comparison, the Library of Congress has accumulated 254 terabytes of data and more than 20 years’ worth of images captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope account for more than 45 terabytes, enough to fill 5,800 DVDs.

Read the Complete Washington Post Report

See Also: Full Text: Presidential Memorandum — Managing Government Record

See Also: We Can’t Wait: President Signs Memorandum to Modernize Management of Government Records (via White House)
The official news release

See Also: OMB Watch Praises Presidential Memo on Modernizing Records Management

The federal government employs over 2.7 million people who produce an average of over 475 million pages of information each year. The executive branch of the federal government consists of 15 cabinet-level agencies (with over 75 sub-agencies), 30 independent agencies, and at least 29 boards, commissions, and committees, and familiarity with and use of digital technologies varies dramatically across agencies.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.