NARA’s IdeaScale-based campaign (see http://blogs.archives.gov/records-express/?p=1579 and http://govrecordmanagement.ideascale.com/ ) for gathering ideas related to the Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records is practically over. It’s time to evaluate the outcomes.
In my opinion, this crowdsourcing exercise was interesting but poorly prepared. I doubt that its outcomes satisfy the Archivist and his team.
1) As Gartner’s Andrea di Maio likes to emphasize, the government should go to the popular forums frequented by professionals to engage them. It shouldn’t expect the professionals to monitor NARA’s site. No little bonuses were offered for the participants (it would be useful to issue badges, T-shirts, letters of gratitude etc. or to highlight some ideas in mass media). Clearly only few of the leading US RIM professionals and vendors were involved. NARA failed to personally invite the best minds of the nation.
Participants weren’t too active: half of all the activity was due to the top 10 contributors, and the average participant was only able to click “like” or “dislike” once (with 30 ideas waiting to be evaluated!).
2) The challenges for federal recordkeeping were not expressed clearly and in detail. As a result, most of the ideas were very general, hence not very useful.
3) It’s not a good sign that the most supported idea is a mandatory appointment of CRO for each agency. Any school kid could offer this one…
I am looking forward to seeing which ideas will be incorporated in the directive on records management due to be published in July.