Release of Regulations for Digitizing Permanent Records

Today, we published new federal regulations with standards for digitizing permanent federal records. The regulations are in 36 CFR 1236, Subpart E. These regulations will go into effect on June 5, 2023.

The regulations establish standards for digitizing permanent paper records and photographic prints. They do not contain standards for digitizing film records at this time. 

When agencies follow these standards, they may transfer the digitized records to NARA and destroy the source records. However, destruction is dependent on agencies having an approved records schedule to authorize disposition. 

We will be issuing a new GRS 4.5 that covers digitizing records. The GRS and regulations will work in tandem. The regulations provide guidance on how to digitize permanent records so the digitized records can be transferred to NARA. The GRS provides disposition authority to destroy the source records. 

We have developed a website to provide information about digitizing federal records. We are developing additional products and training resources to help agencies implement NARA’s digitization standards for permanent records. As we develop those, we will add them to this page.

We recognize that these regulations will have a significant impact on how agencies manage their records. We expect there will be many questions as people become familiar with these new requirements. Please be on the lookout for a future invite to join an upcoming webinar to discuss these new digitization regulations in greater detail. In the meantime, if you need further information, please contact

2 thoughts on “Release of Regulations for Digitizing Permanent Records

  1. Seems like the National Archives cannot even learn from mistakes. We went through this with microfilm. Records were destroyed. The microfilm did not do its job, and we lost the history.
    Digitization is not a Preservation solution, and anyone who knows technology understands that your decisions are going to have a negative impact on history.
    THEY ARE HISTORICAL RECORDS. A truly pathetic and irresponsible solution to an agency that just doesn’t seem to know what an Archives is.

  2. I can see digitizing permanent records as a way for making them more accessible, but destroying the original paper is not IMHO not a good idea

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