Accessioning Textual Records
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When you are ready to begin the process of accessioning your permanent records to NARA please consult NARA Textual Accessioning Guidance & Policy for the Washington DC Area.
Federal agencies are required to accession their permanent records into the National Archives. Authority and regulations for this requirement are found in 36 CFR 1235. Additional requirements and guidance include:
- NARA Bulletin 2012-03, Instructions Concerning the Use of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) for Scheduling Records and Transferring Permanent Records to the National Archives.
In order to transfer your permanent records to NARA you much complete and submit a Transfer Request in ERA. Please be sure to complete the following, in addition to all ERA system requirements as indicated by a red asterisk (*) on the Transfer Request form. ERA system requirements are further explained in the Agency ERA User Manual.
If your Agency plans to accession permanent records associated with a Legacy Records Schedule, follow these instructions: In order to create a Transfer Request in ERA, the user must select the disposition authority for the records. Not all currently approved disposition authorities have been entered into ERA. Records Management Services (ACNR) is responsible for systematically entering legacy disposition authorities into ERA. When preparing to transfer records, check ERA for the Legacy Records Schedule Item. If it is not in ERA, ACNR will enter legacy disposition authorities upon request.
To request entry of a legacy disposition authority:
- Send your request via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request must be a complete disposition authority citation (NARA job number and item number). We will not accept manual citations. Please see the ERA Agency User Manual for further details.
Transfer Group Description
This field should contain a simple title, not Major/Minor Subdivision offices or a historical synopsis.
Major/Minor Subdivisions (not required fields)
These fields should consist of the offices under which the records being transferred were created, NOT the Records Management offices transferring the records. Only complete these fields if the information is known.
The Access Restriction is a required section and provides information about the access restrictions associated with the records that will be transferred under the Transfer Request. Please, only choose Restricted-Fully, Restricted-Partly, or Unrestricted.
Access Restriction Status field allows you to select whether the records being transferred are restricted or unrestricted, such as security classification and FOIA restrictions.
- Restricted-Fully: All records in this transfer are restricted.
- If records are security classified (Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, SCI) choose Restricted-Fully
- If records are subject to the Privacy Act please completed the required associated fields, identify the records as Restricted—Fully and choose FOIA (b)(6) as the specific restriction.
- Restricted-Partly: Some records in this transfer are restricted.
- If you chose this option the folders/boxes containing the restricted records must be identified in the attached file unit/box list. Only the identified boxes will be restricted from public access until reviewed by NARA’s FOIA staff.
- If records are subject to the Privacy Act please completed the required associated fields, identify the records as Restricted—Partly, and choose FOIA (b)(6) as the specific restriction.
- Unrestricted: Records in this transfer are not restricted.
Please identify records containing RD/FRD by selecting FOIA (b)(3) and the statute Atomic Energy Act.
Please appropriately identify Controlled Unclassified Information with the appropriate FOIA (b)(2) - (b)(9) restriction.
ERA is an unclassified system. However, a Transfer Request should be completed for classified records transfers. Keep in mind that no classified information may be included in ERA, particularly box/folder titles. Please include only unclassified information to identify box/folder titles.
The form NA-14130 should also accompany all classified records Transfer Requests as an attachment.
Location of Records
The Current Physical Location of Records is a required area that contains information about the location of the records.
The Agency Location field allows you to select whether the records are coming directly from an Agency location, a commercial records center, or a FRC.
- Select Yes to display the Agency Name and Address field.
- Select No to display the Location and Current Custodial Unit fields.
- If records are located at a Federal Records Center (FRC) always select No.
The Destination Physical Location of Records area contains information about the destination of the records.
- Select a NARA facility such as Archives II, College Park, MD from the Location field.
- In the Destination Custodial Unit field select the specific NARA custodial unit to which the records will go.
Attach documents pertinent to the records such as box lists, memoranda, letters, or correspondence related to the transfer. The information provided should include sufficient detail to describe the body of records being transferred.
For textual transfers box lists are required for all Direct Offers and must be attached to the TR at the time of submission to NARA. An Excel spreadsheet is the preferred format.
- Please include the TR number in the Attachment title, e.g. TR-0313-2011-0007_boxlist.xls.
Standard Size Containers
Please use standard containers only.
Physical Media Type & Quantity
For textual records transfer only:
- If you are transferring 25 containers of paper records place 25 in the Quantity field and select Paper in the Transfer Media Type field.
- If you are transferring 25 containers of microform place 25 in the Quantity field and select Microform in the Transfer Media Type field.
A TR may be returned to Draft status by NARA if we identify discrepancies with information. You will receive an ERA system or e-mail notification. The reason(s) why a TR is rejected will appear in the Rejection Comment field at the bottom of the General Information tab. Please review this information before contacting your accessioning POC. In such cases, the TR can be resubmitted to NARA after cited discrepancies are addressed.
Once your request to transfer records is approved by NARA your A1 or A2 textual accessioning POC will contact you to discuss the delivery method. If the records are located within 50 miles of the DC-Metro area your records may be eligible for pick up by our Motor Pool.
Generally, the majority of records can be packed in Standard-size record box (14¾" x 12" x9½") for legal- or letter-size files (NSN 8115-00-1178249 available via GSA Advantage).
Please note: Boxes exceeding these dimensions will not fit on NARA shelving. If your records do not fit into a standard box with these measurements please contact your A1 or A2 textual accessioning POC to discuss alternatives before choosing a different size box.
Please use standard containers only. Containers can be ordered from http://www.gsaadvantage.gov.
- Please do not over pack the boxes. Leave a 1- to 2- inch space in each box to allow ease of reference.
- Do not put additional material on the bottom, side, or top of the records in the box.
- Please include a copy of the folder unit list in the first box of the transfer.
- Classified records should be doubled wrapped and shipped in accordance with your agency security procedures as well as the 32 CFR 2001.46 requirements.
- See an example of double wrapped packaging.
Updated: January 31, 2013