The Capstone Approach and Legacy Email

Agencies using GRS 6.1, Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach, are expected to apply items the agency uses to all existing email, including legacy email. Legacy email is defined as email that still exists in an electronic format, at the time of Capstone implementation (see GRS 6.1 FAQ #19). When submitting an NA-1005 form, agencies must summarize the state of their legacy email. For example, “no legacy email exists for this agency, as traditional records management with a print-and-file policy was enforced prior to Capstone adoption” or “agency will be including legacy email for all items being used, dating back to approximately 2010.”

If agencies do not know the status of their legacy email–for example, they are not certain if they can access or read an older format–they may still submit an NA-1005 form, but must note what action is being taken to determine if the email is readable or unreadable. For example, “agency has legacy email dating back to 2005 and will notify NARA within [30, 60, 90 days] if email is readable or unreadable.” Readable email is email that is retrievable and usable for as long as needed to conduct agency business and to transfer permanent email records into the National Archives. Agencies must submit an agency-specific schedule for email that is not retrievable and usable, i.e. unreadable.

Please refer to GRS 6.1 Frequently Asked Questions for more information, and as always, please feel free to contact the GRS Team at


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ARMA Live! Federal Roundtable

Are you travelling to San Antonio to attend ARMA Live! 2016? If so, we would like to point out a special event for attendees interested in our work.

The U.S. Federal Government Roundtable will be held in room 206-A of the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center on Tuesday, September 27 from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm. Meet Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government and other staff and leaders from our office during the event. We hope to see you there.

If you are planning to attend and would like to hear more about a particular topic, please leave a comment and we will be sure to discuss it in San Antonio.

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Opportunity for Comment: Draft Training Bulletin

We are requesting comments on a draft Bulletin entitled “Agency Records Management Training Requirements.” The draft is available here.

We anticipate releasing this Bulletin later this year. It was developed to support  the July release of OMB Circular A-130, as well as current laws and Directives governing Federal records management programs. This Bulletin will specify agency records management training requirements and best practices, including who must take training, the frequency of training, and the content that should be covered.

We welcome participation in the development of this guidance. Please comment here or email with any questions or comments for consideration by September 29, 2016. We will review all the comments we receive.

A status update of this Bulletin will be provided at the November 17, 2016 BRIDG meeting. Thank you.

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More flexibility for managing permanent email under GRS 6.1!

Transmittal 26 includes a revision to GRS 6.1, Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach, that provides a more flexible period for transferring permanent email to NARA. Agencies raised concerns about transferring records containing highly sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII) 15 years after cutoff. The new instructions provide a retention band, allowing agencies to select a transfer period between 15 and 25 years. Agencies should indicate the transfer period for their permanent email on the NA-1005. The disposition instruction still allows for transfer after declassification as well. Please refer to question 8 of our FAQ for GRS 6.1 for additional information on the new transfer instruction.

Also, just as a reminder, NARA issued a change to the cutoff instructions for permanent email in GRS 6.1 in AC 18.2016. Originally, GRS 6.1, item 010, required cutting off records at the end of the calendar year. The current instruction allows for cutoff in accordance with agency business needs. The agency does need to indicate the cutoff instruction it will use on the NA-1005.

If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact the GRS Team at

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Release of Electronic Messages White Paper

We are pleased to announce the release of the Electronic Messages White PaperThroughout fiscal year 2016, NARA conducted research to assess current practices in Federal agencies regarding the management of electronic messages and use of electronic messaging technology. This white paper represents NARA’s findings as of March 2016. On the whole, NARA’s research indicates that records management practices around electronic messages are emerging. As new electronic messaging technologies are created in the marketplace, Federal agencies must determine how to manage the records they create when they implement these tools.

This white paper is intended to help agencies begin to address the management of electronic messages beyond email. NARA’s research included a review of current guidance, analysis of agency reports, forums with agency records managers, and research into capture tools. For the purposes of this research project, we focused on text and chat/instant messages. NARA will continue to ask for detailed information on agency use of electronic messaging. NARA’s future goals include producing guidance and sharing promising practices to manage electronic messages.

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2015 SAO Reports Analysis

We are pleased to announce the 2015 Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) Annual Reports Analysis is now available (.pdf).

David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, said:

Working together, NARA and all agencies continue to make progress on the key goals and requirements in the Directive. For us to succeed as a records management community, the SAORMs in each agency must drive the change that needs to happen if we are to realize the vision of a digital Government. Based on the data summarized in this report, we are making progress, but there is still much work to do.

The analysis shows that SAORMs reported they:

  • Will meet the email target by the end of this year (92%).
  • Will meet the target to manage permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019 (92%).
  • Are taking actions to ensure records in non-official messaging accounts are captured in an official account within 20 days (83%).
  • Will submit schedules for all existing paper and other non-electronic records by the end of 2016 (91%).
  • Are preparing for the upcoming change in Presidential administration (79%).

In addition, a majority of SAORMs indicate they are considering or using the Capstone Approach for managing email records.

This year, in the interest of transparency and open government we posted all SAORM reports on our website for all to view. We plan to continue to post future SAORM reports to the website.

We also released the 2015 Records Management Self Assessment (RMSA) in July. We encourage you to review both the 2015 SAORM Annual Report Analysis and the 2015 RMSA.

In the fall, we will send agencies information about the upcoming 2016 reporting cycle. If you have any questions about the SAORM reporting process, please leave a comment or contact

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Widespread Flooding in Louisiana May Threaten Records

The recent flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster since Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Numerous households and businesses have been severely impacted. We remind Agency Records Officers that NARA posts records emergency information and other useful guidance in order for them to pass along this information to other agency personnel – including applicable staff in regional offices in the impacted area.

For advice and assistance on records recovery operations after flooding, please refer to the preservation section of our website. Here, you will find several sections about records recovery processes.

Depending on the damage caused by flooding, it may be necessary for your agency to implement a records recovery operation. Water damage alone can cause major records recovery issues but often floodwaters contain a variety of contaminants as well. The web page also includes a template (.pdf) for contracting for records recovery services and a list of records recovery vendors. This list of vendors is provided by NARA for informational purposes. Inclusion on the list should not be viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the vendor’s services.

NARA staff members are available to provide additional information and guidance.

For advice on records recovery issues, please contact the Preservation Programs Division at Preservation staff monitors the email address and will respond accordingly.

For advice and assistance on other records management issues arising from the flooding, including to report on the emergency destruction of records under 36 CFR1229.10 or the loss of records under 36 CFR1230.14, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. Please see this list of agency staff assignments and points of contact.

For advice and assistance on issues concerning classified national security information, please contact the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) via email at or 202 357 5250.

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Veterans Affairs Records Management Symposium

We have been asked to share news about this event by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This post was updated on Monday, August 15.

2016 VA Records Management Symposium

Topic: Management of Information and Records Into the Future

Date: August 30, 2016 – 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Location: VA Central Office, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Conference Center – Room 230)

The 2016 VA Records Management Symposium theme, “Management of Information and Records into the Future” consists of three pillars: Modernizing Records Management, Digital Transformation, and Electronic Communications.  

Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, will deliver the keynote speech.  Other featured speakers include Lisa Haralampus (National Archives and Records Administration), Marcus Smallwood (Internal Revenue Service), and John Newton (Alfresco), along with VA panelists such as Samuel Nichols (Agency Records Officer), Martin Hill (Alternate VA Records Officer), Mechelle Powell (National Cemetery Administration Records Officer), Dwayne Jones (Veterans Benefits Administration Records Officer), and Matthew Staden (Veterans Health Administration Records Officer).

The event is open to federal employees as well as government contractor personnel.

Participants can register today for the Symposium via and select the preferred attendance option (i.e., in-person or virtual).  Questions about the Symposium may be directed to

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Update to OMB Circular A-130

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the updated Circular No. A-130, Managing Federal Information as a Strategic Resource late last week. The Circular details policy updates regarding records management, information governance, open data, cybersecurity, privacy, and acquisitions. The Circular had been under revision for several years, and now complements NARA’s regulations and many of the goals and targets outlined in the OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18).

Records management is featured more prominently in the new A-130. For example, the Circular states Federal agencies shall:

  • Institute records management programs to document agency activities
  • Ensure the ability to access, retrieve, and manage records throughout their lifecycle
    regardless of form or medium
  • Manage electronic records in accordance with Government-wide requirements
  • Manage all permanent electronic records electronically to the fullest extent possible
  • Manage all email records electronically and retaining them in an appropriate electronic system that supports records management and litigation requirements
  • Submit records retention schedules to NARA for approval in a timely fashion
  • Ensure the proper disposition of Federal records in accordance with an approved records retention schedule
  • Provide training and guidance, as appropriate, to all agency employees and contractors
    regarding their Federal records management responsibilities
  • Designate a Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) who has overall agency-wide responsibility for records management

Additionally, the Circular requires NARA to:

  • Administer the Federal Records Act and NARA regulations
  • Continue to develop regulations relating to electronic records management
  • Work with agencies to ensure the transfer of permanent Federal electronic records in digital or electronic form to the greatest extent possible
  • Ensure agency compliance with records management requirements, provide records management training, and facilitate public access to high-value Government records
  • Serve as the Executive Agent for the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) program (NARA’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO))
  • Work with CIO Council to assess how the Federal Records Act impacts information resources management activities

Beyond records management, the Circular has many impacts on information management. We look forward to working with agencies in implementing the goals of the Circular.

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Regulations Update

We are pleased to announce that we have submitted proposed rules affecting records management regulations to the Office of the Federal Register. We are proposing these regulation changes to reflect the Managing Government Records Directive (.pdf) and updates to the Federal Records Act. We also want to account for changes in technology, practice, and NARA’s organization structure.

The specific 36 CFR Chapter XII Subchapter B regulations proposed for revision are:

  • Part 1235, Transfer of Records to the National Archives of the United States;
  • Part 1236, Electronic Records Management; and
  • Part 1237, Audiovisual, Cartographic, and Related Records Management.

We invite you to access the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking on to review these proposed changes. The parts will be available for comment through September 12, 2016. Comments should be made through the comment process on

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