In May 2023, NARA issued regulations with digitization standards for permanent paper and photographic print records. These digitization standards provide detailed information on how to create digitized permanent records that can be preserved as part of the U.S. National Archives.
While NARA issued the standards in 2023, agencies have been digitizing permanent records for decades and following the standards available at the time. Many agencies have been asking questions about what to do with these previously digitized permanent records that do not comply with the new NARA digitization standards. In November 2023, NARA issued an FAQ about Non-Compliant Permanent Digitized Records to answer these questions.
On January 10, 2024, our office hosted a webinar to walk through the FAQ and discuss options and paths for non-compliant digitized permanent records. The recording of the webinar and the presentation slides are now available on the Digitization of Federal Records webpage. The webinar also provided a forum for participants to ask questions and have discussions. Agencies wanted to understand the other options available besides rescanning the records to meet the new standards.
Agencies asked about the option to reschedule records and how that would work. The goal of rescheduling the permanent records is to provide clear disposition authority for both the digitized records and the source records. It’s possible that previously digitized records may be able to serve as an archival record and that the source records could be destroyed. The scheduling process allows agencies, NARA, and the public to consider what the best decision would be for each series of records.
Agencies also asked about the option to send “born digital” records instead of the printed or digitized records. It is also possible that, in some cases, the born digital records may be an appropriate version to send to NARA. That option would need to be carefully analyzed by agencies and discussed with NARA.
The discussion also covered questions about the upcoming deadlines in M-23-07 for NARA to stop accepting records in analog format. The deadline is June 30, 2024 and agencies who need an exception to continue sending paper records to NARA should follow the guidance in NARA Bulletin 2020-01, Guidance on OMB/NARA Memorandum Transition to Electronic Records (M-19-21). If you have any questions about the FAQ, webinar, or digitization standards, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.