***ERM systems to talk to each other***

IT suppliers and managers are being invited to contribute to the development of new draft XML which The National Archives in Kew (TNA) has developed to support interoperability between Government records management solutions (ERMS). The draft schemas will be available for comment on GovTalk
www.govtalk.gov.uk until 23 April.

The new schemas will facilitate the exchange of records from one department to another if, for example, business responsibilities move following a Government reshuffle or a general election. They will also allow historical electronic records to be transferred to The National Archives without compromising their integrity.

The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) aims to ensure the coherent exchange of information and services between systems. Owing to the nature of records management, this is far more demanding than the level of interoperability required to support searching or the movement of electronic publications from one website to another.

The XML is based on standard metadata which TNA has defined in collaboration with the Office of the e-Envoy and other public bodies. This is fully compatible with the functional requirements for ERMS, published by TNA in 2002, and the e-Government Metadata Standard.

Malcolm Todd at The National Archives said:

"This has the potential to make platform migrations far less of a headache for IT managers as the important content should already be identified and described in a standard way. We are very interested in hearing the comments of IT suppliers and managers.

We are following the schema design criteria of the e-GIF and the metadata itself is 'pushing the envelope' beyond what has been done in other countries. With the mainstreaming of ERM applications in recent years, achieving interoperability between them in a way consistent with robust records management across platforms is a substantial business benefit. "

Notes to editors:

* The National Archives, in Kew, west London, is the lead body for records management in UK Government. It provides advice to public authorities through a Records Management Advisory Service and also oversees how central government manages its records and selects which to release to the public.

* The National Archives has also created a new free online data store of software product information called PRONOM http://www.records.pro.gov.uk/pronom. PRONOM provides vital information for anyone who needs to preserve electronic records over the long term and aims to help with the problem of software obsolescence. It is a reliable, sustained repository and will allow users to search a rapidly-growing database of over 250 software products.

* A digital archive was commissioned by The National Archives in 2003 to store government records that are created electronically such as e-mails and digital photographs. It can be viewed, free, in The National Archives.

* The National Archives launched the first ever archive of British government websites in 2003. The Web Archive stores over 50 government websites, including those of the Hutton Inquiry, no 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office. It can be accessed on www.pro.gov.uk/webarchive and is free to use.

* For press enquiries please contact Siobhan Wakely at The National Archives
Press Office on 020 8392 5277 or e-mail Siobhan.wakely@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 16th March 2004