NARA issues guidance on archiving e-mail

The National Archives and Records Administration recently released a guide on how agencies can submit e-mail and message attachments to NARA for archiving as records. Agencies now can use a standard markup language or an e-mail program's native format. Previously, NARA only allowed the ASCII text format.

By Dec. 31, NARA will issue guidelines for submitting image scans of documents for archiving and by March 31 a policy for Adobe Portable Document Format files, said Nancy Allard, a NARA project manager.

The e-mail guidance instructs agencies to separately document each e-mail file, identifying the
e-mail application, operating system, total number of messages and attachments, a list of message definitions, the structure used for each e-mail item in the file and the arrangement of records.

NARA is requiring agencies to ftp their e-mail files or send them on Type IV digital tape, in addition to previously approved transfer methods.

For the e-mail guidance, go to www.archives.gov/records_management/initiatives/email_attachments.html.

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