November 5, 2015
TO: Heads of Federal Agencies
SUBJECT: Guidance on NARA Bulletin Expiration Dates
EXPIRATION DATE: Expires when revoked or superseded
1. What is the purpose of this Bulletin?
This Bulletin announces how NARA will indicate the expiration of its Bulletins. It informs agencies that NARA Bulletins will be in effect until revoked or superseded by NARA. In a few cases, NARA will give select Bulletins an expiration date.
2. What was NARA’s policy on Bulletin expiration?
Until 2014, NARA put expiration dates on all of its Bulletins. In some cases, Bulletins cover a set of circumstances that pass by a certain date, such as training requirements. In other cases, Bulletins remain in effect with no definite expiration date because they offer relevant guidance on technology or other subjects. Once a year, NARA would issue a Bulletin that listed “expired” Bulletins that were still in effect even though expiration dates might indicate that the Bulletins had expired.
3. Why was this expiration date policy adopted?
NARA expected that technologies or circumstances discussed in Bulletins would change in such a way as to make the Bulletins no longer valuable for agencies. This expectation has not proven to be the case. While technologies and circumstances change, NARA Bulletins generally do not discuss them in detail. Instead they provide broad records management guidance applicable for longer periods of time.
4. What changes has NARA made to expiration dates and expired Bulletins?
Recent Bulletins have been issued with a statement in the Expiration Date field that reads, “Expires when revoked or superseded.” This was adopted as a pilot, which proved successful. NARA reviewed all Bulletins and revoked those no longer valid. NARA put notices on those revoked Bulletins, but left them on NARA’s website. NARA will insert the “Expires when revoked or superseded” phrase in the remaining valid Bulletins. This change does not apply to those Bulletins that have an actual expiration date.
5. When will this go in effect?
NARA will complete the changes to the expiration dates on all valid Bulletins that do not have an actual expiration on November 1 with the issuance of this Bulletin. On an ongoing basis, NARA will review all Bulletins to ensure the expiration dates reflects the current status of the Bulletin.
6. Whom can I contact for further information?
If additional information is needed, or if you have questions about any part of this Bulletin, please contact your agency’s Records Officer. A list of Agency Records Officers can be found on the NARA website. Your agency's Records Officer may contact the NARA appraisal archivist with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal contacts is also posted on the NARA website. NARA Bulletins have a separate page on NARA’s website.
DAVID S. FERRIERO
Archivist of the United States