Government belongs to the people, and federal, state and local agencies have the duty to be as transparent as they can within the law. This task is no longer possible without specialist software to handle public records requests (PRRs) and many, mainly federal agencies, have adopted these technologies to great effect. Our reasons here for urging all agencies to use advanced technologies to process PRRs have nothing to do with cost, or even the cost-effectiveness of
specialist software. That argument can wait. Our sole criterion in this white paper is simply how technology best serves the ideal of open government.
This white paper explores the question of what technology is needed to fulfil PRRs. For now, considerations of costs or cost savings are outside the scope of this analysis, but it is our belief that technology would still be indispensable even if it was not cost-effective. After surveying the extent and nature of the challenges facing agencies, we describe five areas where specialist technology is a game changer. We end on a positive note with a brief analysis of how some agencies are using specialist software to transform their relationship with the citizens they serve.