Today’s Government IT sector is challenged with overcoming obstacles that have never been faced before. When the Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1966, no one considered the monolithic quantity of information that would need to be accessed or the complexity of keeping private information private, while making public data accessible.
This challenge, which is backed by the Open Government Directive (OGD) requires that federal agencies to meet diverse demands and services while managing unprecedented amounts of data. Legacy ECM Systems, which were never built to handle such a high volume of data,(See Apache Hadoop or GreenPlum for Big Data Analytics) are unable to simply keep up, much less smoothly integrate with another system in an attempt to gain increased functionality.
This is where open source based platforms like Drupal and Alfresco provide value. As mentioned in the last blog, the Integration of Drupal and Alfresco provides several (if not several dozen) benefits from both the end user and the developer’s perspective. But how can something like this enable Government agencies to increase FOIA compliance? Let’s take a look:
The Armedia Drupal-Alfresco FOIA Solution:
By integrating the robust Alfresco repository with the Drupal interface, this solution allows for agencies to create a website where citizens can request information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and submit their request online. The agency can then locate the document within the connected repository and publish the content to the user on the website.
This solution provides a flexible, scalable solution which meets a majority of the IT requirements specific to the government sector, including:
- Create multiple methods to receive/create data
- Properly identify and catalog data
- Maintain proper security and control around all Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
- Develop approval processes for accepting and reviewing data
- Redact PII when sharing public data using annotations (Daeja ViewONE Pro)
- Access data where it is needed, when it is needed, and on the right device
In order to complete this transaction, the Armedia Drupal-Alfresco FOIA Solution walks through the following steps (See Image Below).
Step 1: Citizen Submits FOIA request on the Drupal end of the solution.
Step 2: FOIA analyst receives the request.
Step 3: Analyst Searches and Redacts Information
Step 4: FOIA analyst formally accepts the request
Step 5: Manager Reviews and Approves the Request
Step 6: Citizen gets notified of the results
The Drupal front end of this dynamic and intuitive solution allows for:
- A simple front-end set up that is easy to use and intuitive, even for the most non-technical of users
- The ability for citizens to submit FOIA requests online from any internet browser, including from their mobile device
The Alfresco back-end allows for several aspects typically seen in an Enterprise Content Management platform to be maintained, which is important for several other aspects of federal compliance. These issues include:
- Workflow systems – by maintaining these processes, workers within the agency can ensure that the proper steps are taken before the requested information is published to the website. This includes managerial approval and appropriate security measures within the document are taken, among other things.
- Document Security – other than basic access restrictions, there really is no security within Drupal for documents. Alfresco repository maintains version records as well as provides permission restraints, as well as change logs which allow administrators to go back and determine when a change was made to a document, what the change was, and which user made the change.
- Search – Analyst can search for document via filtered search or full-text search. Once discovered, the Analyst can redact PII and submit package for approval before making publicly accessible.
By taking advantages of the strengths and focus points of both of these platforms, government agencies can increase their FOIA compliance levels by being able to smoothly, and quickly, access both the citizen requests and the associated information.
For more information, view our FOIA Compliance Solution Demo