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Friday, January 13, 2012

TRAC: A3.9: Self-assessment and certification

A3.9 Repository commits to a regular schedule of self-assessment and certification and, if certified, commits to notifying certifying bodies of operational changes that will change or nullify its certification status.

A repository cannot self-certify because an objective, external measurement using a consistent and repeatable certification process is needed to ensure and demonstrate that the repository meets and will likely continue to meet preservation requirements. Therefore, certification is the best indicator that the repository meets its requirements, fulfills its role, and adheres to appropriate standards. The repository must demonstrate that it integrates certification preparation and response into its operations and planning.

Evidence: Completed, dated audit checklists from self-assessment or objective audit; certificates awarded for certification; presence in a certification register (when available); timetable or budget allocation for future certification. 

Like a few of the other A-group TRAC requirements, this one really operates at the uppermost level of the organization, and so it is difficult to address it from the IT perspective.

HOWEVA..... One barrier to implementing a regular certification cycle are some fundamental questions:

Where do I find a list of consultants or analysts that can grant "TRAC certification" to my repository? 
Which organization sanctions those consultants and analysts? 
What does it mean - precisely - to be "TRAC certified?" 
Are there different levels of TRAC certification, much like FISMA levels? 
If I'm already FISMA certified, does that automatically grant TRAC certification for certain items (especially in section C)?

And so on.

It seems like there is a business opportunity here.

For instance, if ICPSR asserted that it was now in the business of reviewing TRAC requirements for organizations, and a team of ICPSR analysts would either certify your data archive as TRAC compliant or would identify clear action items required to become compliant, would that be a useful thing?  Or would other organizations rise up to say, "Hey, who are you, ICPSR, to be granting certifications?"

How should this work?

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