August 22, 2005
TO: Heads of Federal agencies
SUBJECT: Additional requirement for transferring permanent records to the National Archives of the United States directly from agencies
EXPIRATION DATE: Expires when revoked or superseded
1. What is the purpose of this bulletin?
The purpose of this bulletin is to alert Federal agencies of additional documentation required when transferring records to the National Archives of the United States directly from agencies. The National Archives of the United States is the designation within NARA for holdings that are in the legal custody of NARA.
2. Why is NARA taking this action?
Agency records that are stored in a records storage facility must include documentation sufficient to identify and locate files as required by 36 CFR 1228.154. For agencies that use NARA records centers, Standard Form (SF) 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt, with a folder title list serves this purpose (36 CFR 1228.160). We are now requiring this documentation for transfers of permanent records to the National Archives of the United States that are transferred directly from the agency.
3. What are the current requirements?
As described in 36 CFR 1228.272(b), transfers of permanent records are initiated by submission of an SF 258, Agreement to Transfer Records to the National Archives of the United States. Each SF 258 must relate to a specific record series as identified on the SF 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, in accumulations of one or more consecutive years.
4. What is the specific requirement described in this bulletin?
From this day forward, all SF 258s for transfers of records directly from agencies must be accompanied by a folder title list of the box contents or equivalent detailed records description. The detailed list will allow us to verify that we have received the records that the agency intended to transfer. It will also serve as an elementary finding aid to the records.
a. For electronic records, this requirement is satisfied by providing the documentation and indexes specified in 36 CFR 1234.32 and by following the technical standards in 36 CFR 1228.270, and, where appropriate, NARA guidance on transfers of newer formats of electronic and digital records.
b. For other records, the detailed list may be provided in hard-copy or electronic format (word processing, spread sheet, database, or PDF).
5. Why is this change necessary?
The volume of records being accessioned into the National Archives of the United States is growing annually, and most records cannot immediately be processed and described. As an example, in FY 2004 NARA received 248 transfers of records directly from agencies amounting to over 12,000 cubic feet. Without a detailed list of the records transferred, NARA staff cannot effectively provide reference service on those records for your agency or other researchers.
6. What if I am unable to meet the requirements described in this bulletin?
If your agency is unable to comply with the requirements described in this bulletin, your agency's records officer should contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works. Contact information is listed in paragraph 8 below.
7. Is further information available within my agency?
Your agency's records officer has more information on your agency's current procedures for transferring records to the National Archives of the United States. The list of agency records officers is available online at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/agency/officers-lists.html.
a. NARA's Life Cycle Management Division provides assistance and advice to agency records officers in the Washington, DC, area. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal and scheduling work groups is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.
b. The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance to records officers across the country. A complete list of NARA regional facilities may be found at http://www.archives.gov/locations/.
Archivist of the United States