Audit: Latvian National Archive could be losing digital information

The Latvian National Archive (LNA) has not developed a system to ensure the reception and storage of electronic documents the State Audit Office (Valsts Kontrole, VK) reported on July 27.

VK reported that the current pace of receiving electronic documents for storage in the archive poses risks of loss of information and the possibility for citizens to receive information of interest from LNA in the future. One of LNA's functions is to store and preserve documents with archival value, but LNA has so far been unable to organize and plan these processes for e-documents and data qualitatively.

The main reason for the slow process of storing e-documents and data is financial. In particular, only three out of a total of 384 LNA staff are participating in the technically complex electronic document acceptance process.

In the assessment of VK, it is a disproportionately small resource, given that the adoption of archival data stored in institutional information systems in the archive is a new process that is a challenge for both state authorities and LNA.

Moreover, the volume of e-documents and data, and their specificities, are constantly increasing and are changing due to the rapid transition to digital in both the private sector and public administration. Accordingly, in order to ensure the success of the archiving process, adequate human resources should be mobilized and LNA should assess the possibilities of improving the knowledge of all employees in order to enable a wider range of employees to accept e-documents.

At present, nearly half of the institutions composing e-documents and more than 90% of the information from state information systems data with archival value have not yet been deposited in the archive. Consequently, it was not possible to assess whether the volume of the long-term data archive storage service in LNA had been determined accordingly.

In order to identify timely the required capacity of technical resources and at the same time not to overpay the capacity already reserved but unused, LNA should regularly carry out estimates of the expected increase in data volumes for storage, the audit office said.

In bringing together the recommendations of the audit, the Archive committed to accepting, within five years, at least 40% of the data stored in the state information systems with archival value and 75% of the electronic documents to be kept permanently.

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