University libraries called upon to act as "watchdog" for US government record-keeping

October 10, 2014

Attendees at the fall conference of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) were told that university libraries must advocate for government openness and electronic record-keeping, or risk becoming mired in a “digital landfill.” Speakers told the assembled members that it may be incumbent upon university libraries to ensure that government bodies are doing their part to keep useful electronic records of their activities. “If you don’t have somebody ensuring accountability, then you’re almost always going to have a problem … I would pressure [the ARL] to consider advocacy and creating consortia with other groups … to see if you can get a place at the table when the specs are made in the first place,” said William B McAllister, Director of Special Projects with the US Department of State’s Office of the Historian. McAllister said that even as an unprecedented amount of data is being generated by government agencies every day, the number of people responsible for maintaining archives has shrunk significantly. Inside Higher Ed