In the early days of the pandemic, the General Services Administration (GSA) leveraged new technologies to advance their electronic records management systems and processes, said Dave Simmons, knowledge management specialist and senior records officer for GSA, on September 21 at an FCW webinar.


GSA’s goal is to reduce its Federal footprint by limiting its space usage. Therefore, the agency set on a mission to convert from analog to digital. According to Simmons, the amount of paper storage that the agency digitized already has reduced GSA’s space needs by the amount of a small or mid-sized building.


“We have a clear understanding of how much content we can digitize. And that led to a lot more efforts towards both the identification of a document management system and consolidating all our different document management systems into one,” said Simmons.


The Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) has allowed the agency to reduce current paper holdings and easily load electronic content. However, GSA discovered that while working remotely, record duplication occurred easily. To overcome this duplication, issue the agency needed to discern official copies and holding locations.


Additionally, the agency utilized new and emerging technologies to find new approaches to record management. For example, recorded online meetings were documented as meeting notes, social media data was treated as correspondence and stored with similar content, and web content was stored as publicly posted information.


“The agency began to identify and enforce acceptable and sustainable formats for filing digital documents or recordings, such as meeting minutes or social media,” said Simmons.


The agency also discovered it needed to find ways to migrate, classify, store, tag, and track records. Therefore, Simmons added, the agency began to use the EDMS platform to digitize its records. The platform also helped the agency in classifying and declaring temporary records eligible for destruction.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.