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We are happy to announce a new on-line presence for the Washington DC area accessioning staff:  The accessioning staff has created this robust and informative resource as a hub for information about transferring permanent Federal records to NARA. Staff consulted other NARA units including the National Declassification Center, FOIA and Special Access, research room staff, as well as Federal agency records management personnel to identify areas of interest.

This new web page provides a general overview for agencies on the transfer and accession processes into Textual, Special Media, and Electronic Media archival units in the DC area. There is also information concerning the transfer of records using ERA, the transfer of Federal Records Center records, the transfer of electronic and special media format records, and access to accessioned records by agencies.

Accessioning staff will continue to add content on a regular basis. Topics for future updates include:  donations, box & folder list examples, NARA accessioning procedures for textual transfers (both direct offers and the annual move), as well as transferring microforms.  Content feedback and suggestions are welcome by leaving a comment here or by sending a message directly to the accessioning staff by email at

February BRIDG Meeting

by Arian Ravanbakhsh on February 11, 2013

Please mark your calendars for the next BRIDG meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

The meeting will be held at the National Archives and Records Administration downtown building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Metrorail’s Yellow or Green lines to the Archives/Navy Memorial station) in the McGowan Theater. Please enter on the Constitution Avenue side of the building, the “Special Events” entrance (which is actually the exit for the general public).

We will begin with an informal networking hour from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the Washington Room (mezzanine level). The BRIDG meeting will run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the McGowan Theater (basement level). Following BRIDG, a Staff Meet and Greet for all Federal agency attendees who work with Appraisal Team 1 will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Jefferson Room (mezzanine level). At subsequent BRIDG meetings, we will continue to hold  Meet and Greet sessions for agency attendees that work with one of the other three appraisal teams.

Meeting agenda items include the following:

·        PRMD Guidance and Projects

Laurence Brewer, Director, National Records Management Program, and William Bridges, Director, National Records Management Training Program

Mr. Brewer and Dr. Bridges will discuss NARA’s guidance and projects to assist agencies in meeting the training requirements in the Presidential Records Management Directive

·        WNRC Storage Update

Chris Pinkney, Acting Director, Washington National Records Center

Mr. Pinkney will provide an overview of the current organization of the WNRC as well as updates on facility issues, operations, and classified records

·        Permanent Records Capture Team

Matthew Eidson, Supervisor, Permanent Records Capture Team

Mr. Eidson will give an overview of the recently established Office of the Chief Records Officer Team, its mission and priorities, and mode of interaction with Research Services and Federal agencies

·        Accessioning Resources

Dawn Sherman-Fells, Accessioning  Archivist, Research Services

Ms. Sherman-Fells will introduce the Research Services’ accessioning team’s web site, including information for agencies on transferring records to NARA

Please visit this link ( to view the steps you will need to take to view the webcast.

NARA will provide free wi-fi to on-site participants in the McGowan Theater. We will also be monitoring questions from both the on-site and remote audiences through Twitter. If you would like to ask a question or make a comment, please use the #NARABRIDG hashtag.

To reserve a place for the Agency Services-BRIDG meeting and/or the pre-BRIDG networking hour, please provide your name, telephone number, and agency name via email to, no later than Monday, February 11, 2013. You may reserve places for several staff in the same email, but for security purposes we must have each individual’s name, telephone number, and email address. If you would like to attend the pre-BRIDG networking hour, please RSVP in your email response, so that we can determine an accurate headcount for catering. You do not need to RSVP if you plan to attend via the webcast.

To reserve a place for the Appraisal Team 1 Meet and Greet, a reservation is required. This meeting will provide an opportunity to meet with Appraisal Archivists and the supervisor from Appraisal Team 1, FRC account representatives, textual and electronic records accessioning staff, declassification and ERA training staff, and staff from the Permanent Records Capture Team. Agencies in Team 1 include, but are not limited to: Department of Justice, Treasury, Judicial agencies, and General Services Administration among others. All agencies listed as part of Team 1 are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Please email Shannon Olsen at, or call 301-837-3486 if you need assistance.

NARA encourages agencies to participate at BRIDG by presenting best practices or lessons learned that would be helpful to other attending agencies. If you wish to lead a discussion, please reply to this RM Communications. NARA reserves the right to postpone or cancel a meeting at any time. We will make every effort to contact registrants by e-mail and telephone if that occurs, so complete information at the time of registration is very important. Meetings WILL BE CANCELED if the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces a “closed,” “unscheduled leave,” “liberal leave,” or “delayed arrival” policy for Federal employees for that day or if there has been an elevation to threat level RED in the Homeland Security status. Official Government closing and leave information is located on the OPM web site at

This update is from the GRS Team

Back in October,  the GRS Team issued its plan for updating and revising the GRS (RM Communication AC 02.2013). The plan may be downloaded (as a .pdf) at This year, the team is working on approximately ten schedules in the Finance Management, Technology Management, and Information Management sections. We wasted no time getting started on the new schedules, taking October to review existing schedules and background documentation.

In November we solicited agency volunteers for five topical working groups to aid in the development of schedule requirements. We gratefully acknowledge the 64 volunteers from 39 agencies that volunteered. These groups have been working since mid-November to draft new GRS schedules. Their work concludes in the next few weeks and will be followed by review groups that will further refine the schedules. In the coming months we will be finalizing the draft schedules, entering them into ERA, and writing appraisal reports. We are currently planning to make the new schedules available for external review in late May. For monthly updates on the progress of the GRS update, please visit our website:

In the meantime, the team has also been working on other GRS related projects. The first week in December project lead Galen Wilson visited with various agencies in the DC metro area about their intranet sites. Galen is in the process of finalizing a draft GRS for web records that we hope to have available for external review in the near future.

Our training and guidance sub-team has been working on various products to assist in using and interpreting the GRS. We are in the final stages of issuing a general FAQ on the GRS and soon will be starting work on an FAQ about requesting exceptions to the GRS. We are also still working on guidance for incorporating GRS items into agency big bucket schedules. We plan to issue this guidance in early 3rd quarter.

If you have any questions about any of the projects the GRS Team is working on, please feel free to contact us at

Webinar Next Week!

by Arian Ravanbakhsh on January 7, 2013

On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, NARA will be hosting a free hour long presentation and discussion about the Presidential Records Management Directive. Preston Huff, Head of the Project Management Office (PMO) in the Office of the Chief Records Officer, will provide a high level overview of the goals set forth in the Managing Government Records Directive which was jointly issued by OMB and NARA last August.

The stated objectives of the Directive are to transition the Federal Government from an analog environment to a modern, electronic record keeping system by the end of the decade to ensure transparency, efficiency and accountability. Also the Directive aims to provide a foundation to ensure agencies can demonstrate compliance with Federal records management statutes and regulations. For more information about the Records Management Directive, check out this blog post from August.

There are a limited number of seats available for this presentation. To register, please visit This webinar is a part of a series of free Webinars that NARA is offering to help Federal agencies meet the challenges of a complex and evolving records management environment. To receive more information regarding upcoming sessions, please send a request to

Webinar This Wednesday!

by Arian Ravanbakhsh on December 17, 2012

This Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm EDT we will be hosting a free, hour-long encore presentation and discussion about the recently issued Request for Disposition Authority Quality Control Checklist. There are a limited number of seats available for this presentation.

Recall that back in October, we wrote about the “backlog schedule” project. During that project, we collected data and lessons learned which are being used to improve our process for completing future records schedules in a more timely fashion. One of the more significant lessons learned is a need to better enforce the requirements for record schedules found in 36 CFR and better enforcement our own Standard Operating Procedures. We created a checklist based on these requirements to assist agencies when reviewing records schedules for submission to NARA.  The checklist is available (as a .pdf) from this link.

Rachel Ban Tonkin, who currently serves as the supervisor for Records Management Services’ Appraisal Team 1, will be presenting this webinar. To register for this upcoming webinar, please visit:

This webinar is a part of a series of free Webinars that NARA is offering to help Federal agencies meet the challenges of a complex and evolving records management environment. To receive more information regarding upcoming sessions, please send a request to

PIDB Report Released!

by Arian Ravanbakhsh on December 6, 2012

Today, the Public Interest Declassification Board released online its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System.  The full Report can be found at

The report centers on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes.  In advance of today’s release, the Board publicized some of its recommendations on its blog Transforming Classification.  A public release event took place earlier today at the National Archives to discuss the report with current Board members.

This is being reposted from Transforming Classification

The Public Interest Declassification Board will host an open meeting on Thursday, December 6, 2012 to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System.  The full Report to the President will be published online on December 6th at  The meeting will focus on the Board’s fourteen recommendations.  The recommendations center on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes.  Press and media are welcome to attend.

When: December 6, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Doors Open: 8:45 a.m.

Where: The Archivist’s Reception Room, Room 105 in the National Archives Building

Address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

(Note:  Attendees must enter through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.)


Space is limited and attendees must register via; provide your name and professional affiliation (if applicable).  You will receive a confirmation e-mail from the Public Interest Declassification Board staff confirming your reservation.  Please note that one form of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license) is required to gain admittance.

In anticipation of the report’s release, today the Board will re-engage its followers by re-opening its blog, Transforming Classification, where it will post summaries of some of the key recommendations in the report.  Be sure to stay connected to the Board’s activities and look for more information about the Board on its website:

Yesterday, we passed one of the first major milestones called for in the Managing Government Records Directive. David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, convened the first meeting of Senior Agency Officials.

This meeting brought together the agency-appointed Senior Agency Officials (SAO), agency record officers, and NARA staff for the first time. Over 100 people attended the meeting and heard remarks by Archivist Ferriero, Chief Records Officer for the Federal Government Paul Wester, and the head of the Project Management Office for the Directive, Preston Huff.  In addition to reviewing the goals and milestones in the Directive, their remarks focused on important role the SAO plays in supporting individual records management programs in Federal agencies. Another important theme was engaging SAOs  both within their agency and with our staff to improve records management policies and practices. After the presentations, a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, which included Director of Policy Analysis and Enforcement Donald Rosen, covered specific items of concerns such as the training and reporting requirements spelled out in the Directive.

Donald Rosen, Paul Wester, Preston Huff

Also, we should note that yesterday was also the anniversary of the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum that launched this process. While we have come a long way and accomplished much, there remains much work to do. We are looking forward to working with the SAOs across the Federal Government, as well as all of our stakeholders, to complete that work and improve records management across the Federal Government.

The first deadline in the Managing Government Records Directive that was released earlier this year is fast approaching. Agencies have two weeks to name their Senior Agency Official (SAO). Goal 2.1 of the Directive requires the designation of the SAO by November 15, 2012.

We have received many questions about this process and have compiled an FAQ to answer some of the more pressing issues:

1. What is the requirement for having a SAO?

The Presidential Memorandum – Managing Government Records dated November 28, 2011 required agencies to designate a Senior Agency Official (SAO) to oversee a review of their records management program. The Memorandum also required the development of a directive by OMB and NARA. The Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18), dated August 24, 2012, outlines the duties and responsibilities of the SAO.

2. Is the SAO required just for Executive Branch departments and independent agencies or does it also include agencies within the Judicial and Legislative Branches?

The Directive requires all Executive branch departments and agencies and independent agencies to designate a SAO. NARA recommends that Legislative and Judicial agencies that are governed by the Federal Records Act should designate a SAO as a good records management practice. If you have questions about whether your organization is required to designate a SAO, send an email to

3. When is the due date for submitting the name of the designated SAO?

The Directive requires each agency to name its SAO by November 15, 2012 and to reaffirm annually.

4. Who should be the SAO for an agency?

The Directive states that the:

SAO is a senior official at the Assistant Secretary level or its equivalent who has direct responsibility for ensuring the department or agency efficiently and appropriately complies with all applicable records management statutes, regulations, NARA policy, and the requirements of the Directive.

The SAO must be located within the organization so as to make adjustments to agency practices, personnel, and funding as may be necessary to ensure compliance and support the business needs of the department or agency.

5. Can a department have more than one SAO designee?

Yes. Agencies must determine where to designate SAOs within the organization. For example, rather than designating a single SAO, a large department may determine that additional SAOs at the agency level are appropriate. Regardless of the approach, departments and their agencies should coordinate the selection of the SAO(s) and report the designations to NARA.

6. Can the Agency Records Officer also be the SAO?

No. The SAO and the records officer have different responsibilities to ensure the agency’s full compliance with records management statutes and regulations. The SAO and the Agency Records Officer should work collaboratively to have a fully successful program.

7. Can an agency change their SAO?

Yes. Agencies will reaffirm their SAO by November 15th of each year. However, agencies may designate a replacement SAO at any time. For example, a SAO designee may leave their position or the agency may determine another senior official is more appropriate.

8. How do we notify NARA of the agency designee for SAO?

Submit the following for your designee via email to
• Name of SAO
• Position Title
• Address
• Office Telephone Number
• Email Address

9. Whom can I contact for more information?

If you have any questions, contact your appraisal archivist or send an email to For more information, go to the Records Express blog.

You can download a .pdf version of this FAQ by visiting this link. Please let us know if you have any additional questions by leaving a comment here on this post.

Hurricane Sandy

by Arian Ravanbakhsh on October 29, 2012

As you know, Hurricane Sandy is significantly impacting the east coast of the United States this week. Federal agencies from Virginia through the New England states will be affected by high winds and heavy rains from this historic storm.

Depending on the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, it may be necessary for your agency to implement a records recovery operation. Water damage will likely be the major records recovery issue. For advice and assistance on records recovery operations please refer to:

There,  you will find a template for contracting for records recovery services:

You will also find a list of records recovery vendors. This list of vendors is provided by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for informational purposes. Inclusion on the list should not be viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the vendor’s services.

NARA staff members are available to provide additional information and guidance. The following are points of contact for national records recovery and records management advice from NARA:

For advice on records recovery issues, please contact Doris Hamburg, NARA’s Director of the Preservation Programs Division on 301-837-1785 or via email at or Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Chief of the Conservation Branch on 301-837-2906 or via email at

For advice and assistance on other records management issues arising from the storm, including to report on the emergency destruction of records under 36 CFR 1229.10 or the loss of records under 36 CFR 1230.14, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. Please see a list of agency staff assignments and points of contact at





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