Virtual Training in FY2015

Records Management Virtual Classroom Training FY15 Schedule

The National Archives and Records Administration will be offering Basic Records Operations and Vital Business Operations Online Classes in FY 2015. These online courses were designed to reach a geographically dispersed audience.

Basic Records Operations

This synchronous online course describes what to file, how to file it, and how to remove files no longer needed for current business. It covers the variety of activities involved in the maintenance and use, as well as the disposition, of Federal records. It presents practical applications in handling records of various types.

$125 – Four 90-Minute Sessions. Participants must complete all four sessions to receive a Certificate of Completion.

Dates                                     Time

October 8, 15, 22, 29              10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern

January 7, 14, 21, 28               10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern

March 9, 16, 23, 30                 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern

April 8, 15, 22, 29                   10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern

June 9, 16, 23, 30                    2:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Eastern

September 9, 16, 23, 30          10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern


Vital Business Information

This synchronous online course provides the knowledge and skills required to identify, protect, and make readily available the vital records needed to support the resumption of critical business functions after a disaster, and to establish and administer a vital records program. The course is based on the vital record requirements contained in FEMA’s Federal Continuity Directives (FCD) 1 and 2 and 36 CFR Part 1223.

$125 – Four 90-Minute Sessions. Participants must complete all four sessions to receive a Certificate of Completion.

Dates                                       Time

February 4, 11, 18, 25             10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern

August 10, 17, 24, 31             2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern



NARA’s records management online courses have a limited number of lines available. Register online at Also visit our YouTube channel  for useful records management videos.


What people are saying……….

“Very informative and gave me more ideas to apply to the RM program. I have a better understanding and can figure many things out on my own.”

“This made record management much clearer and I have a better understanding of the responsibilities involved.”

“This course really helped me get some clarification on what is a vital record and what is not and the tools to begin to implement a plan for our office.”

Posted in Upcoming | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A3.1 Report Released

You may recall that earlier this year, we issued a draft of the Automated Records Management Report and Plan. This document has now been finalized and is available here.

The report addresses categories of suitable approaches for automating electronic records management and discusses their outcomes, benefits, and risks.  It covers the goals of electronic records automation, what work we have accomplished to date, our stance on DOD 5015.2, and a framework of 5 suitable approaches to automation that the Federal government can pursue.

The plan, on the other hand, will remain a living document.  It will be revised at least once a year as we complete initial tasks and assess the feasibility of the initiatives we will start exploring in the first year. We are in the process of launching a website where we centralize the information about all of our activity related to this project.

Posted in Presidential Memorandum | Tagged | 1 Comment

Flexible Disposition Instructions in the GRS

We have received a number of comments from agencies about the new flexible disposition instructions in the GRS and want to provide some additional explanation as to why we have taken this approach and how agencies can use and benefit from these instructions.

Purpose of Flexible GRS Instructions

The GRS is not like agency schedules. It has to apply to all agencies throughout the federal government and not all agencies have the exact same retention needs for records. We have approached the GRS instructions as guidelines for agencies in retaining their records: we establish basic retention requirements, usually minimum retentions, but otherwise leave it to the agency to determine their business needs for the record. In other words, NARA sees no need to review disposition instructions for records covered by the GRS as long as they meet basic retention requirements.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • GRS disposition instructions make it clear what the basic retention requirements are and when they can be longer or shorter.
  • Agencies don’t have to request deviations to the GRS as long as their retention falls within the parameters of the GRS instruction.
  • The new instructions make clear which items can be bucketed to the longest common retention.
  • We can potentially cover more temporary items in the GRS, even if agencies have different retention needs.
  • Agencies may find that all they have to do to implement the new GRS is update disposition authorities.

How to Implement Flexible Instructions

Implementation is going to take some work, but then updating agency schedules to match the new GRS is going to take some work anyway. Agencies should update their schedules to reflect new GRS items and in doing so determine what the appropriate retention is for your agency. You may:

  • Use only the minimum retention: do not use “Longer retention is authorized for business use” in disposition manuals.
  • Set a specific retention or retention band within the parameters established by the GRS.
    • For example, if the GRS says “Destroy when 3 years old; longer retention is authorized for business use,” then the agency may say “Destroy when 5 years old.”
  • Use disposition instruction exactly as written, leaving specific retentions up to offices or individual users.

In some cases you may not have to do anything other than update the GRS disposition authority. The flexible instructions should benefit agencies that have or are implementing bucket schedules. For example, an agency that has scheduled procurement records in a 7 year bucket can cite new GRS 1.1, item 010, because it sets a minimum retention of 6 years, but allows for longer retention. It will also benefit agencies that have their own items for records that are new to the GRS. As long as the agency retention falls into the parameters of the GRS you can site the GRS instead of informing NARA that you will be using your own authority.

We understand that the flexible disposition instructions may still cause some confusion. We will be conducting a customer satisfaction survey in 2015 to get some feedback from agencies on how implementation of new GRS, including the flexible schedules, is going. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact We are happy to be of assistance.

Posted in GRS | Tagged , | 2 Comments

GRS Transmittal 23

The Office of the Chief Records Officer is happy to announce the publication of GRS Transmittal 23 (.pdf). This transmittal makes available five new General Records Schedules:

  • GRS 1.1: Financial Management and Reporting Records
  • GRS 1.2: Grant and Cooperative Agreement Records
  • GRS 3.1: General Technology Management Records
  • GRS 3.2: Information System Security Records
  • GRS 4.3: Input Records, Output Records, and Electronic Copies

It also includes the “old” General Records Schedules marked up to show superseded and active items as well as guidance and tools to help with implementation.

What is a GRS Transmittal?

A GRS Transmittal is how NARA issues new General Records Schedules. New schedules are not available for use until they are formally transmitted to agencies. Long ago, NARA issued a complete version of the GRS in each transmittal, then we gradually shifted to issuing only new parts of the GRS. As we are now in the process of revising all schedules, we will be issuing a complete new version of the GRS in each transmittal. These transmittals will include both the new schedules as well as the old schedules that still have active items. Not all items on each of the old schedules will be superseded at once due to the way we are revising the GRS.

Guidance and Tools in GRS Transmittal 23

  • Crosswalks showing the relationships between both new to old and old to new items.
  • Schedule specific FAQs.
  • FAQs about the GRS in general as well as the GRS update project.
  • An implementation checklist to help walk agencies through the steps of updating their records disposition manuals to match the new GRS.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Agency Records Officers must disseminate the new schedules within their agencies no later than March 2015.
  • Use of the new GRS is mandatory and applies retrospectively and day-forward for all described records.
  • If your agency intends to use agency-specific schedule items instead of the new General Records Schedules, you must inform within 120 days. You will need to provide the agency-specific schedule and item number as well as the related GRS item.

For more information, please visit the GRS webpage or contact the team at

Posted in GRS | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Release of OMB M-14-16

Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Archives released a Memorandum (.pdf)  to the heads of agencies on Guidance for Managing Email. This Memorandum also includes NARA Bulletin 2014-06.

This Memorandum reinforces the importance for each agency to manage their email properly and the need for all Federal employees to be aware of their responsibilities for managing email records. As you know, this has been an important issue for Congress and the Administration over the last few months. It is also an animating issue as we continue to work towards the goal in the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18) that all email be managed electronically by the end of 2016.

Our Bulletin 2014-06 reminds agency heads of existing NARA guidance and resources to assist in managing email. This includes our Capstone Bulletin and other resources located here.



Posted in Email Management 2.0, Presidential Memorandum | Tagged , ,

And Then, There Was Cake

Sometimes, you get so caught up in the day-to-day world of work that it is easy to overlook some significant milestones. The end of August is the time of year when our office has two significant milestones to celebrate. In 2012, the Managing Government Records Directive was released on August 24. And on August 29, 2013, we issued the groundbreaking Capstone approach to managing email. Earlier this week, we took time to mark these milestones, with, what else, cake.

Image of two cakes

Our staff enjoyed the opportunity to take a few moments to mark all the work that has been accomplished over the last few years. It’s been a busy few years and we anticipate it will get even more busy as all of us in the Federal records community work toward the 2016 and 2019 goals in the Directive. Use the comments to let us know how we are doing. Stay tuned.

And yes, no Federal records were harmed in the baking, cutting or consuming of these cakes.

Chief Records Officer for the US Government Paul Wester cutting into the cakes

Chief Records Officer for the US Government Paul Wester cutting into the cakes

Posted in General | Tagged , ,

Opportunity for Comment: Appropriate Age for Scheduling Transfers

We are requesting comments on a draft NARA Bulletin entitled “Determining the Appropriate Age for Scheduling Permanent Records Transfers to the National Archives.”

This draft Bulletin provides Federal agencies with guidance on determining the appropriate age at which permanent records, regardless of their media or format, should be scheduled for transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Bulletin also has a questionnaire for agencies to use when determining appropriate transfer age.

NARA Bulletins are designed to provide fundamental guidance to Federal agencies who must then determine the most appropriate ways to incorporate the guidance into their work.

Please make your comments about the draft Bulletin and questionnaire by September 10, 2014. We will review all the comments we receive. Thank you.

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Issues for Federal Agency Counsel Course Offering

We will offer The Case for Records Management: Issues for Federal Agency Counsel in College Park, MD on October 21, 2014.

Why attend?

Legal professionals know when business-critical information is missing or inaccessible, an agency risks damage to its reputation, failure to perform its mission, and expensive litigation. This half-day briefing by National Archives and Records Administration legal and records management staffs will discuss issues related to discovery, records retention and legal holds, and electronic information.

Who should attend?

This briefing is targeted toward general counsel, inspectors general, attorneys and paralegals interested in the management of their own records and/or responsible for providing legal direction in Federal agencies regarding agency records management and litigation.

Location:  Archives II, College Park, MD

Date:  Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Length – 1/2 Day   9:00AM – 12:00 Noon

Cost: none

Enroll by clicking here

For persons unable to travel to College Park, a recording of an earlier briefing is available on our YouTube channel.

Part I: Approximately 80 minutes.

  • Key points in Federal statutory and regulatory requirements that relate to agency records
  • Best practices in building a defensible records management program
  • Counsel’s role in an agency records management program
  • Challenges and legal issues associated with electronic records

Part II: Approximately 75 minutes.

  • The Nexus Between E-Record Keeping and E-Discovery
  • Email, Backup Tapes, Metadata
  • Legal Holds on Records and the Duty of Agency Counsel
  • The Presidential Memorandum and Implementing the Managing Government Records Directive

Posted in Upcoming | Tagged ,

Records Storage Facility Compliance

The National Archives unit involved with Federal agency records storage standards (36 CFR 1234, formerly numbered 1228 subpart K) has resumed contacting Federal agencies regarding the specific locations where they store records and the status of the certification of those facilities. The efforts now are to make contact with agencies that did not reply to previous attempts for the information or were not on the agency list we used when the initial effort to obtain this information took place in 2008 and 2009.

We seek information about agency records centers and commercial records centers that have not been previously certified by an agency as compliant with the standards. For those agencies that HAVE indicated an agency records center or commercial facility is compliant in the annual Records Management Self Assessment survey, but have not sought or received NARA approval to store records, we’ll ask for certification and documentation of compliance if we do not already have that material.

Our current effort will be directed to certain agencies using the Records Management Officer list maintained by NARA’s National Records Management Program unit and/or using information gleaned from question 38 of the 2013 Records Management Self Assessment survey which asked: “Where does your agency store its inactive records?”

Should your agency be contacted, or if any readers have a question about this, please contact standards compliance manager Rick Blondo at

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