Support for this project was provided by the National Archives and Records Administration under Contract No. NAMA-02-C-0012. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this letter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization that provided support for the project.

This letter report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of the report: William Y. Arms, Cornell University; David. D. Clark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Judith L. Klavans, Columbia University; MacKenzie Smith, MIT Libraries; and J. Timothy Sprehe, Sprehe Information Management Associates. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release.

The review of this report was overseen by Robert J. Spinrad, Xerox Corporation (retired). Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.


Electronic Records Archives Program Management Office, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 2003. Electronic Records Archives Draft Request for Proposal (DRFP). NARA, College Park, Md., August 5. Available online at <>.


Electronic Records Archives Program Management Office, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 2003. Electronic Records Archives Requirements Document (RD), (DRFP, Section J, Attachment 2). NARA, College Park, Md., July 31. Available online at <>.


Electronic Records Archives Program Management Office, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 2003. ERA Deployment Concept (DC), (DRFP, Section J, Attachment 17). NARA, College Park, Md., July 29. Available online at <>.


National Research Council. 2003. Building an Electronic Records Archive at the National Archives and Records Administration: Recommendations for Initial Development, Robert F. Sproull and Jon Eisenberg, editors. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. The committee’s final report will be issued in early 2004.


DRFP, subsection 3.1.2, p. L-18.


Storage robustness issues are discussed in the committee’s first report at pp. 42-44, security and access controls are discussed at pp. 53-55, and record integrity is discussed at pp. 56-57.


References in the form (ERA x.y) are to numbered requirements appearing in the RD, pp. 19-48.


“ERA must be capable of providing different levels of service,” RD, p. 8. “Levels of service—the ability of ERA to provide different capabilities for different records,” RD, p. B-6.


RD, p. C-4.


“For permanent records—those preserved forever—and for some temporary records which need to be kept for lengths of time that exceed several generations of information technology, it will be necessary to transform the records from the formats in which they were received to persistent formats,” RD, p. 10. “NARA’s goal is to preserve electronic records in persistent formats that will enable access to authentic electronic records indefinitely into the future,” RD, p. 14.


The committee’s first report cautions against relying primarily “on a strategy of converting records to platform- and vendor-independent archiving format to avoid obsolescence” (p. 32) and discusses various approaches to preservation (p. 8 and pp. 32-34).


RD, p. 15, last paragraph under heading 2.7.3.


DC Section 4.0, “Synchronization with the operational record stores,” p. 8.

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