January 7, 1998
National Archives Puts Information About Federal Agency Records on the Web
College Park, MD . . . The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced the first-ever availability on the World Wide Web of centralized records disposition information for Federal agencies. Details about the records of 39 agencies are now available; other agencies will be added in the future. The information is available at http://ardor.nara.gov.
Federal agencies work with NARA to develop records schedules as part of the government’s records management responsibilities. A schedule (also known as an SF 115 or records disposition schedule) provides legal authority for destroying or preserving official records. Agencies prepare schedules, which are submitted to NARA for analysis. Archivists appraise the records described on the schedules and identify those materials that have sufficient value to be kept permanently. After the Archivist of the United States signs the schedules, they are sent back to the agencies for implementation.
NARA is offering this information as part of its ongoing Agency Records Disposition Online Resource (ARDOR) project. The project is a prototype for exploring improved methods for gathering and using information about management of the Federal government’s records. ARDOR will help identify customer needs for developing a true automated life-cycle records management system as described in the NARA Strategic Plan for 1997-2007, Ready Access to Essential Evidence. The data in ARDOR, although limited, is also useful for individual citizens in understanding how the current functions of government are documented. ARDOR is one initiative in NARA’s ongoing commitment to help the American people inspect for themselves the record of what government has done.
As a prototype, ARDOR does have limitations. There is no intent, now or in the future, to cover all Federal agencies, or provide schedules for all records of agencies that are included currently. In addition, ARDOR is strictly a reference tool and does not serve as an authoritative source for records schedules. NARA partners with agencies to keep the system as accurate and up to date as possible, but the infrastructure needed to assure complete accuracy does not yet exist. All users should consult with official agency records schedules for authoritative disposition information. ARDOR provides the name and address of the agency records management officer (or other designated individual) for each posted schedule.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or e-mail Public Affairs.