Digitization Regulations–The First Year

This post comes from our Policy and Standards Team.

A sailor resets his clock using a sun dial to reflect the one-hour difference between standard time and daylight-saving time. National Archives Identifier 6422494

One year ago, on May 4, 2023, the first regulation for digitizing permanent records went into effect. The regulation established a detailed set of requirements agencies must meet when they digitize permanent paper and printed photographic records. OMB M-19-21 tasked NARA to issue updated regulations for agencies to digitize records created in analog formats and dispose of analog originals. This was a key step in moving the federal government towards fully electronic recordkeeping. NARA plans to issue additional regulations for digitizing other media types and is currently working on regulations for film-based materials such as negatives.

Digitization Resources

In the past year since the regulations were issued, NARA created many additional resources to help agencies implement the new digitization requirements. These are available on our digitization webpage. For example, we issued a Quality Management Guide and FAQ on Non-Compliant Digitized Permanent Records.  We also issued an updated General Records Schedule 4.5, which agencies can use as the disposition authority to destroy source records when the agency validates that the digitized records meet NARA’s digitization standards. We even wrote a series of blog posts to explain the different aspects of the regulations.

As new resources are developed, we will add them to the webpage and announce them here on Records Express. NARA will be hosting our final Open Office Hours on M-23-07 on Friday, May 31. In this session, agencies can bring questions they have about the regulation or the guidance products.

GSA and Vendors

After issuing the regulations, NARA worked with our colleagues in GSA to help agencies to identify vendors that can meet the records digitization requirements. Vendors that self-certify that they can meet the digitization requirements and standards for temporary and permanent records are listed under a new SIN Subgroup under 518210DC: “NARA-Compliant Digitization Services for Federal Records.”  On May 23rd, 2024, GSA and NARA will host a webinar for vendors to learn about the new Subgroup and how to add it to their contracts.

Important Date for Digitization

The June 30, 2024 deadline will be here soon. After that deadline, agencies that do not have an exception to M-23-07 requirements must follow the regulations and digitize permanent records when transferring them to the National Archives.

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