For years I have taught paperlessness in schools. My labs usually had a printer which was used only enough to teach students how to use it. External users of the lab got the most use of it. I am happy to see the US government determine to use electronic record-keeping systematically. Not only will this be an opportunity to reduce paper/printing costs but it will also be a great opportunity to switch to FLOSS for record-keeping. A standard open file format should be the basis of any system-wide plan for paperlessness. That’s what other governments have done just for archiving. Adding operations to that should only increase the necessity of open formats.

From the memo:
” The directive shall focus on:

(i) creating a Government wide records management framework that is more efficient and cost effective;

(ii) promoting records management policies and practices that enhance the capability of agencies to fulfill their statutory missions;

(iii) maintaining accountability through documentation of agency actions;

(iv) increasing open Government and appropriate public access to Government records;

(v) supporting agency compliance with applicable legal requirements related to the preservation of information relevant to litigation; and

(vi) transitioning from paper-based records management to electronic records management where feasible.”

Let the lobbying commence… 🙂 I can see no way that M$ can keep its talons in the US government without embracing ODF and PDF. Fulfilling “statutory missions” really does extend beyond Wintel or even M$’s office suite version XYZ… Chuckle. This memo is also time-critical. The pressure is on. I have seen a lot of memos from bosses that I hated. I love this one. 😉 The boss put it out on Drupal, a FLOSS CMS, so he is not likely to be persuaded by FUD about FLOSS. It remains to be seen whether legislators will figure out a way to override the executive branch.

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3 Responses to Paperlessness

  1. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon if EU is anything to go by. MS support ODF format(badly at this stage). So ODF as standard so opening the market completely up.

    Remember IBM and other hardware makers support ODF. Compared to hardware makers Microsoft is small fish in the business area.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    One word: “Comply”

    I once generated bid responses to US Government bid packages for a living and know the way it works. A bid specification for a records keeping software system in the future will reference some policy document that will be generated by the GSA in response to Obama’s initiative and will create some sort of acceptance criteria for meeting the policy directive.

    Bidders will state the compliance or non-compliance to items in the bid spec that reference the document and the proposal will be evaluated based on the claims made. Delivery is often a year or more down the road, so the day of recconing comes after everyone is desperate for system acceptance and beneficial use; the vendor wants to be paid and the buyer wants to put the system on-line.

    Then the negotiation begins on what is acceptable compliance and what adjustments have to be made. I know from experience, too, that the same bid specification will generally call for the system to be compliant with the user’s existing records keeping system and support inclusion of existing data, forms, etc..

    Microsoft is a big bidder in this business area and is not likely to lose out.

  3. oe says:

    The Repub. legislators who happen to not believe in science will define/decree that open includes OOXML and DOC and all the other proprietary crap. It’s nice that the very top is joining the many at the bottom who are already ahead of the curve and have been using LaTeX, ODF, then (now) open PDF, and HTML to swap documents around among themselves and with outside vendors and citizens.

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