Designated Community Statement

The OAIS (Open Archival Information System) Reference Model defines the Designated Community as ‘an identified group of potential Consumers who should be able to understand a particular set of information.’ Access to the Electronic Records Archive (ERA) 2.0 preservation repository is limited to federal agency staff responsible for the transfer of records, and NARA staff responsible for the ingest, processing, and preservation of born-digital and digitized records, and for public reference services. The general public does not have access to ERA 2.0.  NARA has identified ERA 2.0’s designated communities as:

  • Designated agency officials and records management staff who schedule and transfer United States Government Agency records to NARA for stewardship.
  • NARA staff who interact with the repository to process and preserve electronic records, provide electronic records in response to reference requests, and prepare records for public access in the National Archives Catalog.

The designated communities provide information to, and consume information from, the repository, and are able to render the information electronically. The designated communities are a subset of NARA’s broader stakeholders. The stakeholder communities have diverse needs; varying levels of knowledge of the government records management, scheduling, and transfer process and NARA’s role in it; varying levels of knowledge and skills for processing and preserving the records; and different approaches for identifying and preparing government records for public access. NARA provides specialized guidance and training to government records managers in the area of electronic records management and preservation; and to NARA staff about the processes, tools, and systems used for processing, preservation, and public reference services including support for public access and digital reference through the National Archives Catalog.  Reference archivists work closely with researchers to understand and provide for their needs. NARA frequently solicits and receives feedback from agency representatives and researchers.