"The National Archives and Records Administration is searching for some workable way to save electronic records for decades or even centuries. But the agency faces at least two daunting problems: Fast-changing technology means that electronic files created just a few years ago are already in obsolete formats and may no longer be retrievable. And the sheer volume of e-records — 36.5 billion a year in e-mail messages alone — is overwhelming."
"For instance, a conservative 1999 estimate indicates that the yearly volume of email traffic in the Federal Government is approaching 36.5 billion messages per year. Although only a percentage of those messages may be permanently valuable, the volume is still orders of magnitude larger than what NARA has had to manage in the past. Moreover, the Census Bureau will be transferring images of up to 600 million pages of information, comprising tens of terabytes of data, from the 2000 Census. In comparison, in its thirty-year history, NARA has captured and fully-processed only between one and two terabytes of data."