New poll question: What percentage of Federal agencies do you think will get a passing grade by 2016?

Yes, I know everyone is excited about the announcement that we will have a new Archivist of the United States–David S. Ferriero. Over on the Posterity Project blog Gordon has done a great round-up of all the news stories. Everything I’ve heard sounds very promising and I’ll probably write more when there’s more information available.

However, I’ve been spending some time reviewing and preparing comments on the NARA’s updated Strategic Plan, which was released for public comment last week. One of the new performance targets struck me as something that people might have opinions about:

1.1 By 2016, 50 percent of agencies achieve passing scores for compliance with Federal records management policy.

There are two ways of looking at this target. One is to say that it’s pretty appalling that after all NARA’s efforts over the past decades, as well as giving themselves until 2016, that best we can hope for as citizens is that 50 percent of agencies get a passing score for records management compliance. Accepting a 50 percent failure rate seems completely inconsistent with ensuring transparency, accountability, etc. If I were President Obama and I read that, I’d be appalled. On the other hand-the realistic hand-given how little actual influence NARA has over agency records management, this may be a realistic goal. These limitations are spelled out in the “key external factors” for this target:

Federal agencies must devote resources to perform records management. Federal agencies managers must see records management as an asset for their business operations. Federal agencies must assign resources to perform regular self-assessment of records management compliance. Records management professionals must be trained in Federal records management policy.

So, what do you think? There’s a new poll up at on the site that asks whether you think 50% by 2016 is too high, too low, or about right. And remember, anyone can send in comments on the NARA Strategic Plan. They’re due on August 5.

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