Federal Records Management

NARA Bulletin 2008-03

ATTENTION! This page has been superseded. The information listed below is no longer accurate. For NARA's current guidance please visit http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/bulletins/2010/2010-02.html.   Please note that this page is available only as a technical and historical reference.

March 6, 2008

TO: Heads of Federal agencies

SUBJECT:Scheduling existing electronic records (NARA Bulletin 2006-02)

EXPIRATION DATE: October 1, 2009

1.  What is the purpose of this bulletin? This bulletin reminds Federal agencies of techniques that may assist them in scheduling existing electronic records in accordance with Section 207(e) of the E-Government Act of 2002, [44 U.S.C. 3601] and NARA Bulletin 2006-02, NARA Guidance for Implementing Section 207(e) of the E-Government Act of 2002.

2.  What is the background for this bulletin?

  1. NARA Bulletin 2006-02, issued on December 15, 2005, reminded agencies that all electronic records created and received by agencies are subject to the same existing statutory and regulatory records management requirements as records in other formats and on other media. It also established timelines by which Federal agencies and NARA must take action regarding records management of both temporary and permanent electronic records.
  2. NARA Bulletin 2006-02 specified that, by September 30, 2009, agencies must have NARA-approved records schedules for all records in existing electronic information systems. The Federal Records Council, an interagency group that advises NARA, suggested that NARA compile and issue recommendations to assist agencies with meeting this deadline.

3.  How should agencies determine their inventory of "existing electronic information systems"?

  1. In NARA Bulletin 2006-02, NARA defined the records subject to the scheduling deadline as records in "existing electronic information systems"; i.e., systems that are in steady-state operation or mixed life-cycle stage as of December 17, 2005, and electronic records in legacy systems that were not scheduled before decommissioning of the system.
  2. Unless an agency has already completed a separate survey of existing unscheduled electronic records and systems, agencies should use their existing inventories of information systems, such as the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) report inventory, to identify existing electronic information systems subject to NARA Bulletin 2006-02. Only those electronic information systems on the inventory that contain and provide access to computerized Federal records must be scheduled. Other information technology (IT) systems on the agency inventory, such as IT infrastructure systems, are not subject to the scheduling requirement.

4.  Are agency web records subject to the NARA bulletin requirements? Yes, agency web records are electronic records subject to NARA records management regulations and NARA Bulletin 2006-02. Agencies should prioritize their efforts at meeting the 2009 deadline for scheduling web records in the same way that they do for other electronic information systems. For guidance on scheduling web records, see http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/policy/managing-web-records-scheduling.html.

5.  What approaches are recommended for meeting the deadline for scheduling existing electronic records?

  1. Establish priorities. Agencies that have a backlog of unscheduled systems may consider using the resource allocation framework (http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/resource-allocation.html) to prioritize the application of agency scheduling resources, focusing first on electronic records systems the agency believes contain records warranting permanent preservation or that are mission-critical systems.
  2. Identify possible existing disposition authorities.
    1. NARA has issued the General Records Schedules (GRS) to provide disposition authority for records created in many administrative business processes (e.g., human resources, budget, travel, procurement). See http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/ardor/ for a list of the GRS and links to the specific schedules. With very few exceptions, the GRS disposition authorities apply to administrative records that are now in administrative electronic records systems.
    2. NARA recently revised its regulations in 36 CFR part 1228 to allow agencies to apply a previously approved schedule to electronic versions of the records when specific conditions are met. See §1228.31 at http://www.archives.gov/about/regulations/regulations.html. Further advice on using this media-neutral records schedule policy will be issued shortly.
  3. Consider multiple scheduling approaches. Agencies may continue to submit schedules covering series of electronic records, or may submit schedules covering specific systems. Agencies may also consider the approach in NARA Bulletin 2005-05, Guidance for flexible scheduling (http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/bulletins/2005/2005-05.html).

6.  Whom do I contact for additional information?

  1. NARA's Lifecycle Management Division provides assistance and advice to agency records officers of agencies headquartered in the Washington, DC, area and the Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance and advice to agency records officers of agencies headquartered in the field. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works for support in carrying out this bulletin. A list of the appraisal and scheduling work group and regional contacts is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.
  2. The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance to agency 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