NARA gets OMB directive: oversee revamping of fed records management

The National Archives and Records Administration will oversee the development of a robust records management framework based on cloud architecture, secure storage and analytical tools, according to an Office of Management and Budget directive.

The Managing Government Records Directive creates a records management framework that complies with the Presidential Memorandum, issued on Nov. 28, 2011 – Managing Government Records – aimed at reforming records management policies and practices.

The Obama administration’s goal is to develop a 21st-century framework for the management of government records, according to the directive, released Aug. 24 by Jeffrey Zients, acting director of OMB, and David Ferriero, archivist of the United States, with NARA.

“Records are the foundation of open government, supporting the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration. Well-managed records can be used to assess the impact of programs, to improve business processes, and to share knowledge across the government,” the directive states.

The directive is based on agency reports and feedback from consultations with agencies, interagency groups and public stakeholders. It is applicable to all executive agencies and to all records, without regard to security classification or any other restriction. 

It also identifies specific actions that will be taken by NARA, OMB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to support agency records management. Some of those actions include:

By Dec. 31, 2013:

• Complete, and make available, revised guidance, including metadata requirements, for transferring permanent electronic records, to include additional sustainable formats commonly used to meet agency business needs.

• Issue new guidance that describes methods for managing, disposing and transferring email

• Investigate and stimulate applied research in automated technologies to reduce the burden of records management responsibilities. NARA will produce a plan for the automated management of email, social medial and other types of digital record content, including advanced search techniques.

• Incorporate into existing reporting requirements an annual agency update on new cloud initiatives, including a description of how each new initiative meets Federal Records Act obligations and the goals outlined in the directive. For the initial report the agency will identify any existing use of cloud services or storage, and the date of implementation.

• Evaluate the feasibility for secure "data at rest" storage and management services for federal agency-owned electronic records. This basic shared service will adhere to NARA records management regulations and provide standards and tools to preserve records and make them accessible within their originating agency until NARA performs disposition.

• Continue to improve the effectiveness of federal records management programs through analytical tools and enhanced NARA oversight. NARA will identify a governmentwide analytical tool to help NARA and agencies measure program compliance aid in agency decision-making.

By Dec. 31, 2014:

.• The Federal CIO Council, and the Federal Records Council, working with NARA, will obtain external involvement for the development of open source records management solutions.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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