Records Managers

ERA Video Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Select one of the questions below to see a short demonstration video on YouTube. Scroll down to see the transcription of each video.

Scheduling Records in ERA Video FAQs

1. How do I see if a legacy schedule is already in ERA? (Length: 2:47 minutes)

2. How do I cite a Superseded Item or a GRS Exemption in ERA? (Length: 6:25 minutes)

3. How do I specify media neutrality or media specificity for an item in ERA? (Length: 3 minutes)

4. How do I enter multiple accessioning instructions for one item in ERA? (Length: 2:47 minutes)

5. How do I attach a crosswalk to a big bucket schedule in ERA? (Length: 1:38 minutes)

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Transferring Records in ERA Video FAQs

1. How do I attach a schedule item to a Transfer Request in ERA? (Length: 1:41 minutes)

2. How do I identify access restrictions such as FOIA exemptions on a Transfer Request in ERA? (Length: 4:29 minutes)

3. How do I identify classified records on a Transfer Request in ERA? (Length: 3:31 minutes)

4. How does "Search with Download" work in ERA? (Length: 3:41 minutes)

5. What is the difference in ERA between the Transfer Request, the Transfer Processing Results form, and the Legal Transfer Instrument? How do I download a copy for my records? (Length: 3:45 minutes)

Scheduling Records in ERA

1. How do I see if a legacy schedule is already in ERA?

If you are unsure whether some or all of your Legacy Schedule has been entered, conduct a search in ERA:

  • Select Search and Business Object. 
  • Click on the Advanced Search Tab.
  • Under Select a Business Object, select Legacy Records Schedule (LS)
  • In the Records Schedule Number field enter the full N1 number.

Please note that the N1 citation must include a Record Group to three digits, the fiscal year in which the schedule was received to two digits, and the sequential order in which the schedule was received to three digits.  Searches without the full citation will return errors.  If you don’t know the full citation, use an asterisk to create an open-ended search.  For more information about performing search queries in ERA, see the ERA User Manual and the “Searching in ERA” online training on Archives.gov.

  • Click the Search button. 
  • Scroll down to see your search results.
  • The search result will yield a single Legacy Schedule. This is called a Disposition Authority Legacy (also known as a DAL).
  • Click on the hyperlink, and then click view to see the DAL.
  • Click on the Item information tab to see which Legacy Schedule Items (LSI) have been entered into ERA.

If your search returns no results or the LSIs associated with the DAL you need are not in ERA, you will need to request the input of a Legacy Records Schedule in ERA.

To do this, send an email to legacy.schedule@nara.gov with a complete disposition authority citation.  This is the NARA Standard Form 115, or SF-115, N1 number plus the item number. NARA will not accept manual citations.

Legacy schedule input generally requires forty-eight hours, but large requests for multiple authorities may take longer.  If you do not hear back from NARA within two business days, repeat your request or contact your Appraisal Archivist.

You will be emailed your DAL number once it has been created for your legacy authority. 

Repeat your search in ERA for the new legacy schedule.

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2. How do I cite a Superseded Item or a GRS Exemption in ERA?

Identify the previous schedule that your proposed item supersedes by going to the Records Control Schedule Repository (also known as the RCS).

  • Go to the RCS here: http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/rcs/
  • You see the URL here. 
  • Search by RG.
  • Sort the result Number/Filename by clicking over here.
  • Select the schedule and item number.
  • Note the item number.

Now that you have the exact schedule and item number, go to ERA to add this to the Superseded Authority Citation.

  • Scroll to the Superseded Item/GRS citation field.
  • Enter the full Records Schedule Item (RSI) citation that you found on the RCS in the This Item Supersedes Disposition Authority Number field of the Item Information Tab.
  • Click OK and Save.
  • If you wish to cite more than one item, click the Add button to add as many fields as desired.  Each superseded Records Schedule Item (RSI) should appear on a separate line.  Schedule and item titles are not required.

To request an exemption to a GRS authority, verify the GRS citation.

Now that you have the exact GRS citation, go to ERA to add this to the GRS or Superseded Authority Citation.

Requesting an exemption to GRS in ERA is similar to the steps followed when superseding agency program records. 

  • Go to the DAA in ERA and scroll to the Superseded Item/GRS citation field.
  • Enter the full General Records Schedule Item (RSI) citation that you found on the NARA website in the This Item Supersedes Disposition Authority Number field of the Item Information Tab.
  • Click OK and Save.
  • If you wish to cite more than one item, click the Add button to add as many fields as desired.  Each superseded General Records Schedule Item (RSI) should appear on a separate line.  Schedule and item titles are not required.

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Remember that you must justify all GRS exemptions.  You can do this in one of three ways. You can detail your reasons for deviating from the GRS retention in the Background Information field that is in the General tab, upload a document that explains your rationale, or communicate your reasons to your Appraisal Archivist.

Follow these steps to detail your reasons for deviating from the GRS retention using the Background Information field.

  • Go to the General Information tab
  • Scroll to the Background Information field.
  • Enter your prepared statement on GRS exemption request here.
  • Click OK and Save.

You can also use the Attachments Tab to upload a document detailing your reasons for deviating from the GRS retention.  See the ERA User Manual or the ERA Online Scheduling Training for more information about using the Attachments tab.

Remember to Save any changes to your Records Schedule before navigating away from the Records Schedule.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

If you do not wish to use the schedule to document your reasons for deviating from the GRS retention, contact your Appraisal Archivist outside of ERA.  

3. How do I specify media neutrality or media specificity for an item in ERA?

All Records Schedules (RS), as of December 17, 2007, are media neutral at the schedule level.  However, it is possible that one or more items within a schedule are created in one form.  This is also called media specific.   You must indicate whether each item in a schedule is or is not media neutral.

Follow these steps to specify whether an item is media neutral or not.

  • Scroll to the Is This Item Media Neutral? field.
  • Use the pull-down menu to select yes or no.  This field defaults to “yes”.  However, if your records are only one media (such as paper or electronic or special media), use the pull-down menu.

If you select No, a new field will appear.  The Explanation of Limitation field is required if your item is not media neutral.  It is an open-text field.  Briefly indicate why media neutrality does not apply to the Records Schedule Item (RSI).

Some examples of the reasons why an item may not be media neutral include things like web content, applies only to paper records, does not apply to databases.  But for our purposes today we’ll just say “the records are only in an electronic form.”

You are also required to indicate if “any of the records covered by this item currently exist in electronic format(s) other than email and word processing”.  This is a required field for all Records Schedule Items.

If you select “Yes”, a new field will appear: Do any of the records covered by this item exist as structured electronic data?  Remember that this may include databases, spreadsheets, and other fielded electronic information.

  • Select Yes or No.
  • Click OK and Save.

Remember to Save any changes to your Records Schedule before navigating away from the Records Schedule.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

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4. How do I enter multiple accessioning instructions for one item in ERA?

For records series that are created in more than one media (such as a series that is both paper and digital and a series of mixed special media), ERA allows agencies to create accessioning instructions that will apply to a specific medium.

Follow these steps to create multiple accessioning instructions for one item.

  • Go to the Item Information Tab.
  • Scroll to the Disposition Instruction and Additional Information section.
  • Open the down-menu beside “If this item has multiple sections, indicate here records to which this section apply.”
  • Scroll over the available selections.
  • Fill in the transfer and accessioning fields as they apply to that particular medium.
  • Select OK and then Save.

Follow these steps to add an additional disposition instruction.

  • Go to the Item Information Tab.
  • Scroll to the Disposition Instruction and Additional Information section.
  • Select Add.
  • Open the down-menu beside “If this item has multiple sections, indicate here records to which this section apply.”
  • Scroll over the available selections.
  • Fill in the transfer and accessioning fields as they apply to that particular medium.
  • Select OK and then Save.

Remember to Save any changes to your Records Schedule before navigating away from the Records Schedule.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

5. How do I attach a crosswalk to a big bucket schedule in ERA?

You are required to attach a crosswalk when submitting a flexible or “big bucket” schedule or item. It is easy attach your crosswalk to a schedule in ERA.

Follow these steps to attach your crosswalk. 

  • Go to the Attachments tab.
  • Click the Choose File button.
  • Select the crosswalk from your machine.
  • Click on the Upload button.
  • Close the pop-up.
  • Click the Refresh button, under list of attachments.
  • You will be able to see the attachment listed in the box below.
  • Continue to complete the form as required.
  • Click OK and then Save.

Remember that once a document has been uploaded to ERA, you cannot alter the title without removing it and changing the title in your own drive.  It is a good idea to use naming conventions and clear titles for documents before you upload them to ERA.

Remember to Save any changes to your Records Schedule before navigating away from the Records Schedule.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

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Transferring Records in ERA

1. How do I attach a schedule item to a Transfer Request in ERA?

A schedule item is attached to, or linked to, a Transfer Request at point of creation.  You must know your ERA schedule item, either Disposition Authority Agency (DAA) or Disposition Authority Legacy (DAL) number, before you begin creating the Transfer Request.

Follow these steps to attach a schedule item to a Transfer Request.

Go to the main menu on the Workbench.

  • Select Create.
  • Select Transfer Request.

To attach the schedule item:

  • Select the Attach button.

On the Attach Schedule page:

  • Enter the ERA schedule item number and select SEARCH.
  • The schedule item should appear in the Search Results at the bottom of the page.
  • Click on the hyperlink of the schedule item.
  • The schedule item has been attached to the Transfer Request.  Continue to fill out the form with the required information.
  • Click Save.

Remember to Save any changes to your Transfer Request before navigating away from the TR.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

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2. How do I identify access restrictions such as FOIA exemptions on a Transfer Request in ERA?

If your records are subject to Freedom of Information Act exemptions or are classified, this information must be identified on the Transfer Request in order for NARA to safeguard the information and provide appropriate access.

First, determine the Access Restriction Status - whether the records are Unrestricted, Restricted-Partly, or Restricted-Fully.

Unrestricted records are completely available to the public; these may include fully declassified records.

Restricted-Partly should be selected when unclassified, but FOIA restricted records, are identifiable within a transfer.  For example, you could have a three box transfer, where the files in box two are subject to FOIA (b)(6) and FOIA (b)(7), and all the records in boxes one and three are not subject. As a result, box two would be restricted and boxes one and three would not. 

There may be situations where entire transfers are fully restricted.  Restricted-Fully should be selected when all of the records in the transfer are subject to FOIA exemption(s), or if some records in the transfer are subject to FOIA, but you are unable to identify specific records in specific boxes.  For example, if you are transferring Correspondence files that are less than 20 years old, some of those records may include personal addresses but you don’t know in which box those records are located, you would identify the Access Restriction Status as Restricted-Fully.

Follow these steps to identify the access of FOIA restrictions on the Transfer Request.

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Go to the main menu on the Workbench.

  • Select Create.
  • Select Transfer Request.
  • Scroll down to the Access Restrictions Section of the Transfer Request.
  • Select the Access Restriction Status.
  • Select the Specific Access Restriction.
  • Place a note in the Access Restriction Note field.
  • Continue to complete the form as required.
  • Click Save.

Remember to Save any changes to your Transfer Request before navigating away from the TR.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

3. How do I identify classified records on a Transfer Request in ERA?

If your records are classified this information must be identified on the Transfer Request in order for NARA to safeguard the records.  All agencies are required to attach a completed Classified Transfer Checklist (form NA 14130) to the Transfer Request (this is a requirement for declassified records as well).

The Access Restriction Status for all Classified records, whether fully classified or declassified in-part, must be Restricted-Fully.

Follow these steps to identify that there are classified records in the transfer on the Transfer Request.

Go to the main menu on the Workbench.

  • Select Create.
  • Select Transfer Request.
  • Scroll down to the Access Restrictions Section of the Transfer Request.
  • Select the Access Restriction Status.
  • Select the Specific Access.
  • Select the Security Classification.
  • Select Special Markings, if applicable.
  • Select Statutory Citation, if applicable.
  • Continue to complete the form as required.
  • Click Save.

Follow these steps to attach the Classified Transfer Checklist (form NA 14130).

  • Select the Attachments tab at the top of the Transfer Request.
  • Click the Choose File button.
  • Select the document from your machine.
  • Click on the Upload button.
  • Close the pop-up.
  • Click the Refresh button, under list of attachments.

You will be able to see the attachment listed in the box below. Please be aware you will not be able to open and view any attachments after uploading.

  • Continue to complete the form as required.
  • Click Save.

Remember to Save any changes to your Transfer Request before navigating away from the TR.  If you navigate away before saving changes, all updates will be lost.

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4. How does Search with Download work in ERA?

ERA Search with Download can be used as a workflow management tool.  Search with Download is executed based upon Advanced Search criteria for a specific business object.  Once a search criterion is executed and results yield, users have two options for exporting and viewing the search results in an Excel spreadsheet.  Users may choose from a Full Results download or a Brief Results download.

The Full Results download provides field level information that appears in each tab of a business object.  It also provides each event associated with a business object.  For instance, a Full Results download provides every action taken on a Transfer Request including submissions, rejections, and approvals.

The Brief Results download provides field level information that appears in each tab of a business object, but does not provide each event associated with a business object.

When the results appear, choose the most appropriate download based on your business needs - Full Results or Brief Results.

Here are some example search strategies that can be used to manage workflow:

How many of my agency Annual Move transfers did NARA Approve?

  • Select Search and Business Object.
  • Select the Advanced Search tab.
  • Select Business Object:  Transfer Request.
  • In the Keywords field, enter “2014 Annual Move”.
  • Under Status, choose Approved.
  • Under Agency or Establishment select Department of Justice.
  • Click Search.
  • You will see your results below.

OR

How many of my agency transfers did NARA Accept Legal Custody?

  • Select the Advanced Search tab.
  • Select Business Object:  Legal Transfer Instrument.
  • Under Status, choose Legal Custody Accepted.
  • Under Agency or Establishment, select Department of Justice.
  • Click Search.
  • Then click Download Full Search Results.
  • Click close the pop-up box.

Once the spreadsheet is generated you can sort the results to suit your business needs.  For instance, you can sort to identify several data points including:  Type of Legal Transfer, Access Restrictions, Security Classification, Records Groups (if your agency has multiple Record Groups), Archive location where records are sent, and others.

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5. What is the difference in ERA between the Transfer Request, the Transfer Processing Results form, and the Legal Transfer Instrument? How do I download a copy for my records?

The Transfer Request (also known as the TR) documents the initiation of physical and legal transfer of permanent records from agency custody to NARA custody.

The Transfer Processing Results (also known as the TPR) form is used by NARA staff to document discrepancies found during the processing and verification of a records transfer (volume discrepancy, for example).

The Legal Transfer Instrument (also known as the LTI) formally conveys the legal custody of records transferred to the National Archives.  Any volume updates made to the Transfer Processing Results form will be reflected on the LTI, however the information on the Transfer Request will not change.

For example:

  • Select Search and then Business Object.
  • Choose All Business Objects.
  • Type the TR number in the Keywords field.
  • Select Search.

All business objects associated with that TR number will yield in the results box below.

Select the business object that you would like to view.  For example:

  • Click on the TR number for Physical Custody Accepted Status.
  • Click View.
  • Select the Transfer Details tab to view volume.
  • Review other tabs as needed.

To view the associated TPR:

  • Click on Search Results.
  • Scroll through the search results and select the TPR link.
  • Click View.
  • Select the Transfer Actuals tab to see the volume.
  • Review other tabs as needed.

  To view the associated LTI:

  • Click on Search Results.
  • Scroll through the search results and select LTI link.
  • Click View.

To save a copy of the TR, TPR, or LTI for your records:

  • Click on View PDF at the top, or bottom of the form.
  • Save file as you would any other document.

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Records Managers >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272