Is NARA Ready Yet? The Newly Extended 2024 Start Date For Accessioning Records into the US National Archives Only in Electronic and Digital Formats, and What That Means 

14:00 -14:30 (online)

Speaker: Jason R. Baron, Professor of the Practice, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland 

Abstract: For over a decade, the US Archivist has been attempting to mandate a future start date for the accessioning of all permanent federal government records into the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) solely in electronic or digital formats.  Although the “no more hard copy records” date for doing so has been extended twice, in the interim much has been accomplished in promoting governmental policies that involve the management of hundreds of millions if not billions of electronic records in individual agencies, including most prominently the archiving of e-mail records. Three questions we should be asking: how will NARA meet the challenge of accessioning especially born digital records when the deadline does finally arrive?  Are freedom of information laws up to the task of providing timely access in the future to those records? And how can AI tools assist in ensuring that public access to the government’s archives remains real and not just aspirational? 

Bio: Jason R. Baron is a Professor of the Practice in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Between 2013 and 2020, he acted as Of Counsel to the eDiscovery & Information Governance group at Faegre Drinker, LLP. During his prior 33 years in government service, he served as the first appointed director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, and before that as a trial lawyer and senior counsel at the Department of Justice. In those capacities, Mr. Baron acted as lead counsel on landmark lawsuits involving the preservation of White House email, and also played a leading role in improving federal electronic recordkeeping policies. He is a recipient of the international Emmett Leahy Award for his career contributions in records and information management. Mr. Baron received his B.A. magna cum laude with honors from Wesleyan University, and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.


The Impact of AI on Records Management 

11: 00 – 11:30

Speaker: James Lappin, Loughborough University

Abstract: It seems likely that AI will, at some point in the relatively near future, provide originating organisations with the capability to re-aggregate records in any (or all) of their systems.  The organisations concerned could then, if they wished, begin to apply access permissions and retention rules to records on the basis of an entirely different set of aggregations to those used by the end-users that created and received them. 

This opens up a theoretical question: 

  • will the coming of such a capability mean that the way that records are aggregated in the day-to-day systems that end-users used to create and receive them (document management systems, collaboration systems, email systems, chat systems etc.) cease to have anything more than a purely temporary significance in recordkeeping? OR 
  • will that ‘original order’ of records instead place constraints and limits on the ways that original organisations can make use of artificial intelligence capabilities for improving the precision of the application of access permissions and retention rules? 

This talk will explore the impact of AI on the application of access permissions and retention rules within digital corporate systems, on the basis of a set of thought experiments carried out in James’ doctoral research project. 

Bio: James Lappin is a doctoral researcher with Loughborough University’s Centre for Information Management. He has worked in the field of archives and records management for thirty years as a practitioner, consultant, researcher, policy advisor, presenter, blogger, podcaster and cartoonist. 


Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: Separating Myth from Reality

10:30 – 11:00

Speaker: Dr Keegan McBride

Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments in the private sector have quickly permeated throughout all levels of society. Daily we are – either directly or indirectly – interacting with AI. Acknowledging the benefits that AI has brought to the private sector, particularly regarding efficiency gains, many have started to talk about the potential benefits that AI may have when applied in and by the public sector. Certainly, some benefits do exist. However, it is also important to realize that the public sector and the private sector are different, with different requirements, goals, and aims. While the private sector may be concerned with customer acquisition, maximizing profits, or market growth, the public sector from does not have the same motivations. Thus, the reasons for applying AI, the ways in which AI is applied, and the areas where AI can be applied will be similarly different. To maximize the impact that AI can have, these differences must be acknowledged. Starting from this need for differentiation, this talk will help to demystify AI, by defining and outlining what AI is and is not. Following this, the talk will highlight the necessary building blocks for the usage of AI in the public sector: technically, infrastructurally, and legislatively. Finally, the talk will conclude by discussing how the public sector can best use and build AI by discussing procurement best practices and presenting best practice case studies.  

Bio: Keegan McBride is a departmental research lecturer in AI, Government, and Policy and Course Director of the Social Science of the Internet MSc program at the Oxford Internet Institute. He is an expert on the topic of digital government and has published research in leading journals and conferences on topics such as Artificial Intelligence in the public sector, open government data, government digitalization, and government interoperability and data exchange systems. In his research he aims to develop an understanding about the future trajectory of the state in the digital age by exploring the complex and co-evolutionary relationships between technology, society, and the state.