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A well maintained electronic record keeping system is critical for making government more open and accountable: it allows information from across the government to be understood in context and makes sure records are not lost or improperly erased. OpenTheGovernment.org works with our partners, the Administration, and Congress to develop and advocate for legislative and regulatory reforms to improve electronic records management.
When electronic records are stored with appropriate meta-data, it is easy for search engines to find them; members of the public can see how the components of federal government relate to their own lives; it is easier to point out waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. Long-term access to historical data is necessary to validate current work and to write a faithful account of our nation's history. Today, however, information is siloed at agencies and we do not know with any certainty that all of the documents and information that we need to write our history, to understand policy development and implementation, and to trace who knew what, read and edited what document, are being preserved.