Federal Records Management

AC 31.2023

Date: May 4, 2023 

Memorandum to Federal Records Management Contacts: Release of Regulations with Digitization Standards for Permanent Records 

Today, NARA published new federal regulations with standards for digitizing permanent federal records. The regulations are in 36 CFR 1236, Subpart E. The regulations will go into effect on June 5, 2023.

The regulations establish standards for digitizing permanent paper records and photographic prints. They do not contain standards for digitizing film records at this time. 

When agencies follow these standards, they may transfer the digitized records to NARA and destroy the source records. However, destruction is dependent on agencies having an approved records schedule to authorize disposition. 

We will be issuing a new GRS 4.5 that covers digitizing records. The GRS and regulations work in tandem. The regulations provide guidance on how to digitize permanent records so that the digitized records can be transferred to NARA. The GRS provides disposition authority to destroy the source records. 

We have developed a website to provide information about digitizing federal records. It is available at https://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/policy/digitization. We are developing additional products and training to help agencies implement NARA’s digitization standards for permanent records. As we develop those resources, we will add them to this page.

We recognize that these regulations will have a significant impact on how agencies manage their records. We expect you will have many questions as you become familiar with these new requirements. Please be on the lookout for an AC memo inviting you to join an upcoming webinar to discuss these new digitization regulations in more detail. In the meantime, if you need further information, please contact rmstandards@nara.gov.


Chief Records Officer 
for the U.S. Government