NARA likely to seek agency records archival plans

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—The coming directive for archiving electronic
records will likely require agencies to develop plans for storing and destroying
electronic records, according to a legal adviser at the National Archives and Records

Agencies should expect that they will have to establish new records management
schedules within two years, said Miriam Nisbet, special counsel for information policy in
NARA’s Office of the General Counsel. She spoke this month at the Interagency
Resources Management and Chief Information Officers Council Conference.

On Sept. 14, NARA’s Electronic Records Workgroup submitted to NARA Archivist John
Carlin its recommendations on setting plans for archiving electronic records.

“The challenge is great for us to come up with solutions,” Nisbet said.
“Only 40 percent of agencies have electronic records management practices in place or
know their records officer.”

The workgroup released its first proposal in July and received about 50 comments, most
of them agreeing with the group’s ideas, Nisbet said.

The comments focused on the group’s recommendations for dealing with electronic
source records, which NARA defines as the online versions of electronic documents used to
create official federal records in record-keeping systems.

Since November, the workgroup has considered a number of options for replacing
NARA’s General Records Schedule 20, which lets agencies delete electronic documents
once they had been copied either to paper or in an electronic format.

Federal Judge Paul L. Friedman earlier had rejected the schedule and ordered the
government to develop an alternative records management plan to replace GRS-20. He
directed NARA to have a new policy done by Oct. 1.

The workgroup posts its reports on the Web at http://www.nara/gov/records/grs20


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