Inside NIH Electronic Records Management Transition Solutions

Amid the challenges of file and metadata standardization, the agency is deploying several solutions to optimize its electronic records management initiative.

As the National Institutes of Health continues its transition to electronic records management, the agency offers a number of technical solutions to address challenges in implementing standards, handling file formats, and identifying metadata.

Once an agency has prepared to move to electronic records management – for example, by gaining management buy-in, strengthening relationships with program areas across the organization, and developing a line of communication to target issues – it’s important to standardize files and data and develop solutions for long-term success, noted NIH Records and Information Management Specialist Rebecca Baker, during Tuesday’s FCW webinar.

As the NIH implements standards to promote compliance and discoverability of files and metadata, largely following National Archives and Records Administration guidelines, the agency is forging ahead with digitization , the implementation of the electronic document and records management system and a variety of other technology-driven steps towards achieving optimal adoption of electronic document management.

“The NIH has a departmental support center called PSC, and it offers 40 different services, but the relevant services are scanning, including document imaging and scanning, source material disposition support if applicable, storage, then compliance with Section 508 for foreign digital or foreign documents. scanned documents,” Baker said. “It’s important that whenever you negotiate these digitization contracts, make sure they also include [optical character recognition] for indexing and searching capabilities, that it conforms to these established file and folder naming conventions, and that it includes the required metadata so that you can examine them rather than create them yourself.

The NIH has also adopted electronic document and records management systems, which Baker says allow staff to route official documentation and correspondence to all NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices, or ICOs, and have built-in case management and management capabilities.

More recently, in its electronic records management technology plan, the NIH is moving forward with the implementation of an enterprise content management (ECM) solution. The agency awarded a contract last week after researching a solution that would work across the entire NIH ICO.

“The solution was to focus on common administrative processes in the workplace and not include medical research and clinical data, and then [in] addressing funding, so getting enterprise funding solutions, and that’s going to be a multi-year process as we’re going to tap into all of the ICOs and have everyone contribute to the cost of enterprise content management,” Baker said. .

Now that the NIH has issued a contract, Baker said the agency is planning to pilot file analysis software, which she added gives an element of intellectual control and will go along with the enterprise content management system in later stages.

“We hope to integrate ECM into file analysis and have these couples because there is great added value in combining these technologies – the capabilities of metadata tags, automatic categorization and identification of this redundant data and the [personally identifiable information]“, said Boulanger.

As the NIH moves forward with the stages of file analysis software, the NIH also aims to enforce retention policies integrated with an Office 365 environment.

“We are actively working with Office 365 touchpoints to provide an ecosystem-wide solution for automatic classification, as mentioned with file analytics,” Baker said. “These are tools that have the ability to automate, and automation is essential because federal agencies have huge volumes of electronic documents produced every day.”