U.S. Department of State Modernizes & Meets NARA Compliance

April 13, 2012

2 minute read

US State Department logo In the United States, all federal agencies and other organizations must provide their business, legal and historical documents to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a giant institution based in Washington, DC. Those documents must be submitted in electronic format, and with a preference for the PDF format for archiving (PDF/A).

A tall order indeed for the U.S. Department of State – the lead institution for the conduct of American diplomacy around the world, headed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – since they were using a World War II-era cable system as part of their State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART).

That system combines diplomatic text cables, emails, instant messaging, document management and memos in a single messaging system used by more than 270 global locations. The antiquated cable system was limiting the responsiveness of SMART, and required much human capital to process the cables in a timely manner.

As well as looking for a reliable, scalable solution to process, store and archive their cables, the U.S. Department of State wanted to improve information accessibility through search and to include support for rich media options such as fonts, attachments (like images) and support for Microsoft Outlook to easily draft cables.

Adlib’s server-based PDF technology beat out Adobe in a competitive bid for this U.S. Department of State project largely because of the ease of installation of Adlib PDF, its competitive pricing, and responsive services professionals.

The new system uses 20 Adlib servers to process up to 5,000 cables per day; each server automatically converts the incoming cables, and their attachments, into the PDF/A format, and then stores them in Microsoft SharePoint.

The result: a new, official Archive for the U.S. Department of State that has dramatically increased the efficiency, accuracy and speed of business processes within this vital arm as government.

And, as David Compton, IT project manager for the U.S. Department of State says, “automated PDF transformation from Adlib has enabled us to reduce our costs associated with the delays and errors of manual intervention.”

The department can get more done with its vital diplomatic missions around the world; Adlib is happy knowing we’ve been a part of making that happen!

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