We are pleased to announce the release of a report on open source tools for records management. This report was produced in response to item A3.2 in the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) and is available here. This item actively encourages NARA to work with agencies to review and identify open source tools for records management tasks. To start this discussion, we’ve compiled a selection of open source tools that could be used for various records management functions. The list is a “snapshot” of available tools as of October 2014. We haven’t tested the tools, nor do we endorse them.
We will now be moving this discussion to the ERM Automation Working Group wiki. The wiki provides a space for federal employees to contribute to the list and share their experiences with the tools. Members of the wiki are encouraged to describe how they have used tools and share additional recommendations.
Note that this project only focuses on currently available open source tools. NARA will not be developing any new records management solutions in the scope of this project. However, NARA will explore building relationships with the open source community to identify gaps in tools and identify opportunities for external involvement to develop new solutions. The intended audience for this document is not only records management and IT staff in Federal agencies, but also developers in the open source community and any other interested parties.
Please contact Beth Cron (email@example.com) or Lisa Haralampus (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any feedback.
We look forward to continuing this discussion!
We have launched a new portal to share information about our ongoing work on the Automated Electronic Records Management Plan. The portal displays a table corresponding to the three parts of the framework in the plan: governance, procurement, and technology. We will post on our ongoing projects to the portal. All of these projects demonstrate what we are thinking about and acting on the vision of the Managing Government Records Directive.
This update is from our General Records Schedule (GRS) Team
The GRS Team has recently been reviewing a number of schedules from agencies that bucket GRS items. (This review is part of the normal internal stakeholder review process that all schedules go through and any schedules superseding GRS items are reviewed by the GRS Team.) One of the problems we commonly encounter when doing these reviews relates to cutoff instructions, so we wanted to take a moment to remind agencies about why cutoff instructions—even in big bucket schedules—are important to consider, especially when bucketing GRS items.
We will often see cases where an agency has included a GRS item with a 3 year retention in a 5 year bucket item. This all seems well and good until you look at the cutoff instructions. Many bucket items just have a simple instruction like “Destroy when 5 years old.” But the GRS item it is superseding says “Destroy 3 years after superseded or obsolete.” One instruction has a cutoff at the beginning of the lifecycle (retention is based on when the record was created). The other is based on the end of the lifecycle. This can result in the 5 year retention actually being shorter than the 3 year retention. For example, say the records here are administrative policies. That policy may still be actively used 5 years after it is created. You don’t want to destroy it if it’s in use. That is why the GRS states that it should be destroyed a certain period of time after use has ceased (it is superseded or obsolete). The GRS Team would not concur with the proposed bucketing of this item to 5 years, unless the cutoff was changed.
So how do you resolve this issue in big bucket schedules: the most common way we have seen other agencies do it while not having to completely blow apart their buckets is to include specific cutoff instructions in their crosswalks. The disposition instruction states “Destroy 5 years after cutoff” and the cutoff instruction for the bucket item refers to users to the crosswalk. Then each item will indicate the cutoff.
If you have questions related to bucketing GRS items, please contact GRS_Team@nara.gov. We’re happy to help.
The February BRIDG Meeting has been cancelled for today. The Office of Personnel Management has announced the following operating status: ALERT
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN and employees have the OPTION for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK.
As a reminder, our BRIDG meeting cancellation policy is the following:
NARA reserves the right to postpone or cancel a meeting at any time. We will make every effort to contact registrants by e-mail and telephone if that occurs, so complete information at the time of registration is very important. Meetings WILL BE CANCELLED if the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces a “closed”, “unscheduled leave”, “unscheduled telework”, and/or a “delayed arrival” policy for Federal employees for that day or if there has been an elevation to threat level RED in the Homeland Security status. Official Government closing and leave information is located on the OPM web site at at www.opm.gov.
Posted in General
We are requesting comments on a draft of an upcoming report on open source tools for records management. This report was produced in response to item A3.2 in the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18). This item actively encourages us to work with agencies to review and identify open source tools for records management tasks. To kickstart this discussion, we’ve compiled a selection of open source tools that could be used for various records management functions. The list will be a “snapshot” of available tools as of October 2014. We haven’t tested the tools, nor do we endorse them.
The draft is available (as a .pdf) here.
We would like your feedback by January 30, 2015. Have you used any of these tools? Do you know of other agencies that have used any of these tools? Do you have any additional recommendations?
Note that this project only focuses on currently available open source tools. NARA will not be developing any new records management solutions in the scope of this project. However, NARA will be exploring how to build relationships with the open source community to identify gaps in tools and identify opportunities for external involvement to develop new solutions. The intended audience for this document is not only records management and IT staff in Federal agencies, but also developers in the open source community and any other interested parties.
Please contact Beth Cron (email@example.com) or Lisa Haralampus (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any feedback.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Managing the Lifecycle of National Security Information is a one day class designed to improve the management of classified records in the intelligence, law enforcement and defense communities by integrating records management, information security and declassification concepts. The intended audience is anyone who handles classified records in agencies within the civilian Executive Branch, the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Defense.
• Explain the role of NARA in managing records and safeguarding National Security Information
• Identify the roles and responsibilities of Records Management and Classification Management personnel at every point throughout the record lifecycle
• Apply the rules and mandates that govern the management and safeguarding of National Security Information and records
• Define the additional requirements that pertain to National Security Information for each stage of the record lifecycle
When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015; 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: National Archives, Jefferson Conference Room, Washington, DC
Cost: $150.00. To register, follow this link.
You can also download a .pdf version of the course flyer here.
Posted in Upcoming
This week we issued AC Memo 9.2015 reminding agencies about the need to notify NARA if they are going to be using their own authorities instead of the General Records Schedule (GRS). The communication extended the January 16, 2015, deadline in AC Memo 03.2015 to submit notifications to March 1, 2015.
There are consequences to not submitting a notification or requesting a further extension:
• Consequences to permanent authorities. If an agency has not submitted a notification or requested an extension and has a permanent disposition authority for records now scheduled as temporary by the GRS, it will either have to use the GRS or submit a new schedule. This includes big bucket items. Where this is going to come into play with the most recent transmittal is for grant case files, because the GRS now makes them temporary. Quite a few agencies have scheduled them as permanent.
• Consequences for big bucket schedules. It also could seriously affect agencies with big bucket schedules, although with temporary records it will only affect transfers to the FRCs. If they do not inform us they intend to use their big bucket items that incorporate GRS items they may find themselves having to resubmit schedules, which means unnecessary work for them and NARA, plus the expense of recoding Records Management Applications.
Additionally, NARA will be reviewing notifications and may choose to withdraw agency authorities if we find that the GRS should be applied instead of the agency’s authority. The review process may take up to 90 days or more for requests involving a difference in disposition (permanent vs. temporary). It should take less time for requests involving changes in retention period and requests to use temporary big bucket items. During the notification review period, accessions to the National Archives under the affected disposition authorities will not be processed.
Please contact GRS_Team@nara.gov to submit notifications, ask for an extension, or if you have any questions.
Posted in GRS
Tagged GRS, notification
We are pleased to announce we have completed a review of the 2013 SAO (Senior Agency Official for Records Management) Annual Reports. The results have been issued in an Executive Report available here (.pdf). The Managing Government Records Directive issued in August 2012, requires all agencies to submit to NARA an annual report outlining their progress toward implementing the provisions of that guidance.
Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, Paul Wester, said “The Directive called for the establishment of an SAO for Records Management which was an important recognition that records and information management needs top management support to be successful. This inaugural report is an important baseline for Federal records management programs and will be a useful tool for agencies to learn from each other.”
Our office received 107 reports. Generally the reports revealed that agencies are:
- Working toward managing all email in electronic format by the end of 2016,
- Interested in the use of the Capstone approach for managing email,
- Beginning to explore and develop ways to manage permanent electronic records in electronic format by the end of 2019,
- Deploying cloud services for their email, administrative functions, and some mission-related activities,
- Concerned about their budgets,
- Also concerned about other challenges including information technology issues, staffing, training, lack of standards, and conflicting priorities
- Requesting assistance from NARA including additional technical and policy guidance, site visits/consulting, and training.
If you have any questions about the SAO Annual Report process, please leave a comment or contact Lisa Haralampus, NARA Records Management Policy Team, at email@example.com.
Earlier today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum to general counsels at all federal agencies. This memorandum lifts the litigation hold imposed in United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., Civil No. 99-CV-02496 (GK) (D.D.C.).
Because of this issue’s significance to the federal records management community, we are revising the agenda for next Wednesday’s Bi-monthly Records and Information Discussion Group (BRIDG) meeting. At this meeting, senior NARA officials and Allison Stanton, DOJ’s Director of E-Discovery, FOIA, and Records in the Civil Division, will discuss the records management implications of this memorandum.
In addition, David Weinberg, the Director of the Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP), will outline the next steps in lifting the tobacco litigation (TIL) freeze on records stored and serviced for customer agencies in the FRCP. David Weinberg said, “This is very significant moment for NARA, our customers, and the American taxpayers. Over the next few weeks, we will be developing a plan to move forward with all appropriate disposition actions.”
On Monday, we will be sending out the new agenda and reconfirming the logistics for the BRIDG meeting.
On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1233, The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This law modernizes records management by focusing more directly on electronic records and complements our efforts to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records. The law also represents the first significant changes to the Federal Records Act of 1950. The major points of this legislation are as follows:
- Strengthening the Federal Records Act by expanding the definition of Federal records to clearly include electronic records.
- Confirming that Federal electronic records will be transferred to the National Archives in electronic form.
- Granting the Archivist of the United States final determination as to what constitutes a Federal record.
- Authorizing the early transfer of permanent electronic Federal and Presidential records to the National Archives, while legal custody remains with the agency or the President.
- Clarifying the responsibilities of Federal government officials when using non-government email systems.
Passage and enactment of this law marks a significant moment in the history of Federal Records Management. We are in the process of reviewing our existing regulations in light of these new provisions and will have much more to say about changes to our regulations and policies in the future.
For additional information, please see the press release that was issued yesterday. Stay tuned to the blog for further updates. Do not hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question and we will do our best to respond.