NARA seeks to archive electronic records.
Family researchers love the instant gratification of genealogy in the electronic age (presto! Grandpa's military file downloaded). Still, digital preservation faces a major hurdle — you need equipment that's compatible with the technology used to preserve the documents you want to access. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) <www.archives.gov
> has been plotting a solution to that problem. And if Congress passes a proposed $24.2 million increase in NARA's 2004 budget, the archives could set its plan in motion.
The budget boost would allow NARA to design the first component of its Electronic Records Archives (ERA), a project to preserve any kind of electronic record without depending on specific hardware or software. With the ERA, federal agencies will be able to transfer electronic records in any format to the National Archives. Citizens could search for records of interest and have the National Archives deliver those documents in any format.