The National Archives started the Electronic Records Archives in 2000, and funded pilot programs in 2008, but it didn’t start operating until 2012. Until that point, the National Archive had no way of dealing with Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, or emails with attachments. Even now, as the Times story indicates, the protocols and procedures aren’t fully in place. It’s still very much a work in progress; some aspects of the new program aren’t scheduled to go into effect until the end of next year.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters.