RM Reporting Period Open

Yesterday we opened the records management reporting period, covering activities for 2016. The period runs from January 9, 2017, to March 17, 2017. Agencies should have already received additional communications with full details and instructions from our office.

This year, we are asking agencies to report the following:

  1. Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA) and Federal Email Management Reports. The RMSA serves as a method for agencies to evaluate their records management programs. This year we have added a supplement to the RMSA to evaluate email management programs using the Criteria for Managing Email Records in Compliance with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18). Survey tool information for these two reports was sent out on January 9th to Agency Records Officer or those responsible for responding to the 2016 RMSA. Agencies will have access to an individualized report of their results after completing the survey. We will publish the annual RMSA report later this year. Federal Email Management Reports will be posted to the NARA’s web page, a link to this page will be provided in the future. Questions about either of these reports may be sent to rmselfassessment@nara.gov.
  1. Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) Reports. This report measures progress towards the goals or requirements in the Managing Government Records Directive and other related records management initiatives. The template for the 2016 Annual SAORM Reports was distributed this week by email from Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the Federal Government to SAORMs with a copy to Agency Records Officers. SAORMs are listed here. If agencies need to designate an SAORM or make changes to this list, they may send a notification to prmd@nara.gov.

For more information about NARA’s Records Management Oversight and Reporting visit: here. Follow these links for previous RMSA and SAORM reports.

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Agency Responsibilities for Managing Web Records

We sent the following message to Federal agencies this morning.

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCIES CONTACTS: Agency Responsibilities for Managing Web Records at the End of the Administration

Agencies must identify and manage all Federal records on agency websites in accordance with NARA guidance. We remind all agencies that this includes scheduling and disposition of web content, including data sets.

NARA will neither conduct, nor require, a government-wide harvest (i.e., capture) of Federal agency websites as we last did in 2004. Since then, the Internet landscape and agencies’ use of the Internet has changed dramatically. NARA believes agencies are equipped to properly manage these digital Federal records. To help agencies do this, NARA has issued guidance for the scheduling, managing, and transfer of web records in NARA Guidance on Managing Web Records and Format Guidance for the Transfer of Permanent Records.

Managing Federal web records is especially important when agencies make significant changes to their web content, such as when they update pages relating to agency leadership or when their website undergoes a significant re-design. Agencies are required to manage these records, including scheduling and transferring them to NARA if they are appraised by NARA as permanent records. These requirements and responsibilities are discussed in detail in NARA’s web guidance.

We are aware that Federal agency websites are harvested and made available through non-Federal “archiving” organizations. Archiving efforts by these organizations (unless done under contract with an agency for records management purposes) do not relieve an agency of its obligations to manage its records in accordance with the Federal Records Act.

NARA’s records management operations are focused on identifying, appraising, scheduling, and transferring Federal records of permanent value. We believe that working with agencies to identify and schedule web records will result in the preservation of those records that are historically valuable and worthy of permanent retention for future generations of researchers.

In many cases, websites contain databases or datasets.  We remind agencies that such data, or the systems in which they reside, must be scheduled as Federal records. On the other hand, many records presented on agency websites are already scheduled and captured in agency systems that are properly scheduled in accordance with the Federal Records Act. Agencies must be able to identify situations in which this is the case.

If you have questions about NARA’s guidance on web records, please contact your agency’s NARA appraisal archivist.


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Agency Records Management Training Requirements

We are pleased to announce the release of the Agency Records Management Training Requirements Bulletin. The Bulletin specifies how often agency records management training must be administered, who must complete the training, and identifies mandatory content areas. The Bulletin provides promising practices intended to address the learning needs of personnel based on their position-level, role or responsibility. The Bulletin provides both, new and clarifying guidance in response to:

  • The Presidential Memorandum – Managing Government Records  issued in November 2011, which stated agency heads must take specific steps to reform records management policies and practices;
  • The 2012 OMB and NARA jointly issued Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18), which required agencies to develop suitable training to make employees aware of their records management responsibilities; and
  • The revised OMB Circular No. A-130 – Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, released in July 2016, also requiring agencies to provide training and guidance, as appropriate, to all agency personnel regarding their Federal records management responsibilities.

We would like to thank everyone that participated in making this guidance as helpful as possible for your agency programs. A follow-on briefing of this Bulletin will be provided at the Winter BRIDG meetings

If you have any questions about this bulletin, please contact RMT1@nara.gov.

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Top 5 Reasons Why NA-1005 Forms for Capstone Email Are Rejected for Registration

We have a few tips to assist agencies as they prepare an NA-1005 for approval to use GRS 6.1 and to ensure the process goes quickly and smoothly. The following list contains the top 5 reasons a NA-1005 might be returned for revisions after being submitted for registration.

  1. Not using the most recent form. The NA-1005 form has been updated a few times since its original issuance. To make sure you are using the correct form, look at the bottom right hand corner of the form for the date. The current form is dated 09-16.
  2. Not submitting one form per Record Group. NA-1005 forms should be submitted by Record Group (RG) number – one form per RG. For instance, ‘Agency A’ (RG 601) administers the programs of ‘Agency C’ (RG 604). Despite this interconnected nature, Agency A still needs to submit one form for RG 601 and another form for RG 604.
  3. Providing incomplete information. Make sure that all fields are filled out completely and all checkboxes are checked on the form. The most common omissions are not filling out the cutoff instruction field, or not checking the classified email question.
  4. Missing signatures. Both your agency Records Officer and your Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) must sign the form. Also, the approval check box must be checked and the date of signature entered. (A reminder – a digital signature on the form will not be accepted by NARA. Name, date and approval check box marked is sufficient.)
  5. Providing a URL to an intranet version of organizational charts. Organization charts are required for the review process. Providing a URL to an intranet version is not sufficient as the appraisal archivist cannot access it.
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Records Management Guidance for the Presidential Transition

As we have passed election day, the Federal Government is now in transition mode. The inauguration of a new President means not only a new administration in the White House, but also new senior staff across the Federal Government.

During this time of change, we will work with Federal agencies to ensure both incoming and outgoing political appointees are trained in their records management responsibilities and are properly preserving their records. Managing records is a daily activity and requires constant training and attention throughout an employee’s Federal service.

To assist agencies with these efforts, we created several products to reflect changes in guidance since the last Presidential transition and new requirements codified in the 2014 amendments to the Federal Records Act:

Further, we delivered briefings on records management responsibilities to the Partnership for Public Service, the Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Management Roundtable, and agency records officers.

Earlier today, we released AC 09.2017: Guidance Relating to President-Elect Transition Team Materials. This memo states PETT materials are not Federal nor Presidential records, but are considered personal materials. However, transition briefing materials created by a Federal agency and agency communications with the PETT are Federal records. If a PETT member becomes an official of a Federal agency and incorporates the materials into agency working files, they become Federal or Presidential records depending on the entity they work for.

Records management takes on an increased importance during transitions. The ability to capture and share knowledge is paramount to ensuring a smooth transfer of power. Federal records protect the rights and interests of the public, hold officials accountable for their actions, and document our nation’s history. Our mission is to protect these records and make them available to the public. Sound records management at such critical times ensures today’s records will be available for future generations.

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Agency Action needed for 2017 Annual Move

The 2017 Annual Move is well underway and for the 165 agencies who have records eligible to move, the deadline to submit transfers is rapidly approaching.  On October 1st, 8,473 transfer requests were loaded into ERA representing 87,142 cubic feet of permanent records eligible for accessioning. Now, we need your action.

All transfer requests must be proposed by agencies for transfer to the National Archives. NARA does not automatically assume legal control of the records. Agencies have until December 1st to complete this activity so the records can be physically moved into archival space.

As of this past Monday, only 1,738 transfer requests have been acted on by agencies.  We still have a ways to go to ensure the timely transfer of these historic records, some of which date back to the early 1900s!  It’s important to take action as these records deserve continued preservation by the archival staff at NARA.

We have several tools available to assist you in this task including an instructional webinar and a review tip-sheet.  The most useful tool in finding and submitting your TR is the ERA User Guide.  For more information please take a look at AC Notice 02.2017 or contact annualmove@nara.gov. Thank you!

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Social Media Guidance now in DYPS

We are pleased to announce we have added social media account guidance to our web publication, Documenting Your Public Service (DYPS). This guidance builds on NARA Bulletin 2014-02: Guidance on Managing Social Media Records and our Social Media Capture White Paper. It specifically addresses the administration of social media accounts during a time of transition. The guidance states the following:

  • Social media accounts created or used for official agency business must stay under the control of the agency. This could also include accounts that might be personally managed by an individual, but are obviously used for agency business and therefore must be captured and managed. If any employee does use a personal account, the account may become the property of the agency.
  • It is best practice to create unique agency-administered accounts when an employee uses a social media platform on behalf of the agency. This allows for a clear delineation of when an employee is acting in an official or personal capacity.
  • Departing employees should create new social media accounts after leaving an agency. If they wish to continue using a social media platform in their personal capacity, departing employees should send a sign off message from the existing agency account and provide followers with their new account username. In this way, their followers would not roll over to their new account. This process will allow the public to continue following the preferred social media account.

Additionally, agencies should remind employees using social media accounts they must copy or forward Federal records created or received in personal electronic messaging accounts to official agency accounts in accordance with 44 USC 2911 requirements.

If you have any questions please contact us by email at PRMD@nara.gov.

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New LMS for Records Management Training

Our Records Management Training Program will transition from the current learning management system (LMS) to a new one in the middle of November. We are planning to migrate the data in the current system on Friday, November 18 and bring the new system online on Monday, November 21. To ensure a successful transition, we will not enter any new data in the current LMS after November 10.

What does that mean for you? Starting November 11, agency personnel will not be able to:

  • take tests
  • register for classes
  • pay for classes

We anticipate resuming these services on November 21, 2016 when the new system is live.

Customers that completed all the requirements for the Certificate for Federal Records Management Training during September – December 2016 will not receive the certificate until January 2017.

We apologize for this inconvenience, but we want to ensure our records are accurate and we have time for testing the accuracy of the data migration to the new system. We will continue to conduct scheduled training courses during the transition to the new LMS.

In the coming weeks we will provide further information about the new LMS, including the website URL and updated information on when the new system will be available and how to access it.

If you have questions please contact Gary Rauchfuss, Director, Records Management Training, at (301) 837-1710 or by email to gary.rauchfuss@nara.gov

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Happy World Standards Week!

[T]echnology is not within national boundaries but on a global scale” — Dr. Patrick Gallagher, 14th Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

This week, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is celebrating World Standards Week (October 24-28).  ANSI bridges the gap between standards developers and governmental agencies that create legislation affecting the standards community. In addition, since the passage of The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-113) (NTTAA) as well as the issuance of The Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119, ANSI facilitates government agencies’ use of voluntary consensus standards created by the private sector as an alternative to agency-developed standards.

Federal agencies create records with wide-ranging variability. The different file formats, metadata, and agency recordkeeping practices pose challenges to NARA’s ability to ingest, describe, and provide access to records that belong to or will come to the National Archives of the United States. Voluntary consensus standards in NARA’s regulations and guidance helps agencies adopt widely-recognized approaches, system capabilities, record types, formats, and metadata across the Federal government. The more standardized Federal records management practices become, the better we will be able to accomplish our mission to preserve and make available the permanently valuable records of the federal government.

For more information about the use of standards in government, see “Incorporation by Reference, Reasonable Availability, and the U.S. Standardization System” ANSI has also posted a schedule of events for  World Standards Week 2016.

Stay tuned for future posts about standards and metadata work happening in our office.

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