By Bert Auburn, vice president, Government Records Management, Xerox

My job is to work with local governments to preserve their most important records by digitizing documents. So when I read a recent article in EContent about the Rwandan government’s efforts to preserve eye-witness accounts and oral histories of the genocide that occurred in the country in 1994, it struck a chord with me, and I’d like to share the story.

The government is working with the Kigali Genocide Memorial to collect data from before, during and after the genocide, and transform the information gathered into a digital format. The Memorial is using information communications technology (ICT) to digitize video, audio, and written literature that touch on the genocide.

The message the government is sharing is that it’s a priority to digitize this information so it can be used as a teaching platform for future generations, and offer lessons to people across the world on the dangers of ethnic cleansing. The government is using the power of technology to gather and store the information in a format that can easily be accessed from any part of the world.

It’s a powerful story – and it hit home as I started to think about the significant importance of some of the documents governments in the U.S. are working to preserve every day. For example, in Prince William County, VA, we are digitizing documents relating to slave ownership – documents that might sit on dusty shelves for years, until one day a family comes looking for records that might help piece together ancestral history. By preserving and rehabbing those documents in digital form, governments can ensure they will be available when that family comes.

 

In his role at Xerox, Bert has helped local governments simplify how work gets done for more than a decade. In his spare time, he can be found  cheering on the Miami University Red Hawks.