Success Criteria for Managing Permanent Electronic Records

I am pleased to announce the publication of the Criteria for Successfully Managing Permanent Electronic Records. The guidance supports the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18), which states “By December 31, 2019, all permanent electronic records in Federal agencies will be managed electronically to the fullest extent possible for eventual transfer and accessioning by NARA in an electronic format.”

The guidance describes what agencies should consider from a high-level when managing their permanent electronic records. It includes operational activities, which describe practical “how to” instructions for accomplishing key tasks agencies must carry out as they move towards the 2019 target of managing all permanent electronic records in electronic format. The guidance also reinforces the value of NARA’s Universal Electronic Records Management (ERM) Requirements, and provides an ERM Maturity Model example question for agencies to preview how they will be measured.

A briefing on the success criteria will be provided during the upcoming BRIDG meeting.

If there are any questions or comments, feel free to post your question or email

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Roles and Responsibilities for Records Management Programs

We frequently receive questions about the roles and responsibilities for Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORM) and Agency Records Officers. This post is intended to clarify their differences.

The head of each agency has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining an active and efficient records management program. NARA recognizes two formally designated officials that carry out program responsibilities on behalf of the Agency Head — the SAORM and Agency Records Officer.

We released NARA Bulletin 2017-02 to consolidate SAORM requirements from previous directives and guidance. The Bulletin provides an in-depth explanation of SAORM responsibilities for ensuring agency compliance with all applicable records management statutes, regulations, and NARA and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policies.

SAORMs serve as an executive sponsor with broad responsibility for the agency records management program. The incumbent primarily operates at the strategic level to establish an agency records management program’s vision, goals, and objectives in alignment with NARA and agency-specific strategic plans. SAORMs ensure their records management programs receive adequate resources to complete their mission.

Agency Records Officers manage and implement agency records management programs. Their focus is primarily operational, ensuring that the agency is in compliance with the  foundational requirements for records management. Agency Records Officers work closely with NARA and serve as records management advisors to SAORMs.

Due to many variables such as organizational size, structure, culture, or other elements, an Agency Records Officer may be required to perform more of the strategic, high-level SAORM responsibilities referenced above. In other limited instances, there are micro agencies that have an Agency Records Officer that also serves as the SAORM.

SAORM and ARO Responsibilities: 

The table below is a list of primary SAORM and Agency Records Officer responsibilities. They are derived from existing regulations, policies, and current practices, including 44 U.S.C. Chapter 31, 36 CFR SubChapter B, and NARA Bulletin 2017-02.

Item Senior Agency Official for Records Management Agency Records Officer
1. Provides agencies with a clear vision and strategic direction to modernize agency records management program(s). Interprets and advises senior agency officials on existing, new, or potential records management statutes, regulations, or other legal requirements impacting the agency. May also be responsible for strategic direction in micro agencies.
2. Ensures adequate records management resources are embedded into the agency’s Strategic Information Resources Management (IRM) Plan Integrates records management and archival requirements into the design, development, and implementation of electronic information systems.
3. Provides adequate budgetary and personnel resources to implement an efficient and effective agency records management program. Works with internal stakeholders to identify budgetary, personnel, and system requirements. Participates in the Capital Planning and Investment Control process.
4. Establishes, where appropriate, agency-level records management program offices to ensure adequate management of routine mission support functions. Manages department-level and/or agency-level records management program office(s). Routine mission functions may include the transfer of permanent records to NARA, records storage and retrieval, development and update of records schedules, management of litigation holds or records freezes, and administration of internal program evaluations, including performance measurements where possible.
5. Ensures the designation of records management responsibilities in each program (mission area) and administrative area to ensure the incorporation of record-keeping requirements and records maintenance, storage, and disposition practices into agency programs, processes, systems, and procedures. Implements and assesses each program area’s record-keeping practices, including but not limited to records maintenance, storage, and disposition practices into agency programs, processes, systems, and procedures.
6. Ensures agency staff are informed of and receive training on their records management responsibilities. Develops and administers agency-wide records management training. See NARA Bulletin 2017-02.
7. Issues agency directives, policies, and initiatives supporting OMB and NARA Directive goals and subsequent guidance for transitioning towards a fully electronic government. Carries out records management modernization initiatives resulting from new records management directives, policies, or standards.
8. Ensures agency compliance with NARA requirements for electronic records, including the electronic management of all permanent electronic records to the fullest extent possible for eventual transfer and accessioning by NARA. Monitors and reports compliance with NARA and agency-specific requirements for the management and transfer of permanent electronic records.
9. Directs agency efforts across program areas to ensure email records are managed electronically and retained in an appropriate electronic information system that supports records management and litigation requirements, including the capability to identify, retrieve, and retain the records consistent with NARA-approved disposition authorities and regulatory exceptions. Establish procedures and guidance for email records. Coordinates with IT to ensure systems adhere to records management retention and disposition policies.
10. Ensures policies, procedures, and systems are in place and configured to protects records against unauthorized removal or loss. Coordinates with IT to ensure records management considerations for systems access and security controls are implemented. Participates in agency reporting processes involving unauthorized removal or loss of records and formally notifies NARA.
11. Directs the use of agency-wide records management internal controls, self-assessments, and remediation plans. Implement agency-wide records management internal controls to ensure records, regardless of format or medium, are properly organized, classified or indexed, and made available for use. Oversees self-assessment and remediation activities.
12. Reviews NARA’s annual Records Management Self-Assessment analysis and risk ratings to determine vulnerabilities and identify plans for improvement. Supports SAORMS and/or leads in gathering data and developing responses to NARA’s oversight and reporting activities.

Additional information on records management responsibilities can be found in OPM’s Records and Information Management, 0308 Position Classification Flysheet, and OMB Circular No. A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, paragraph 5(h).

Language identifying roles and responsibilities for SAORMs and Agency Records Officers will be considered in future updates to NARA regulations.

Post your feedback or submit questions about this blog by emailing

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Records Management Training – Upcoming Courses – March, April, May, 2018

We offer a Certificate of Federal Records Management Training to individuals who successfully complete Knowledge Area courses 2-6 and pass exams associated with each course. Upon completion of the courses and exams, participants will receive a certificate signed by the Archivist of the United States.

We also offer specialty and overview courses like Electronic Records Management (ERM) and Basic Records Operations (BRO), Vital Business Info (VBI), Sustainable Formats and Permanent Electronic Records (SFPER).

Register here. Questions? Please contact or (301) 837-0660.

March  April  May
KA2 – KA6
March 5 –  March 16, 2018
Washington, DC
KA2 – KA6
April 2 – April 13, 2018 College Park, MD
KA2 – KA6
April 30  – May 11, 2018 College Park, MD
KA2 – KA6
March 19 –  March 30, 2018
College Park, MD
KA2 – KA6
April 16  – April 27, 2018
College Park, MD
May 14, 2018
College Park, MD
March 6 – March 27, 2018
April 3  – April 24, 2018
May 15  – May 16, 2018
College Park, MD
March 5 – March 30, 2018
April 2  – April 27, 2018
May 1  – May 22, 2018
April 4  – April 25, 2018
May 2  – May 23, 2018
April 30  – May 25, 2018

*Online courses

March 2, 2018: Updated to reflect new dates and change of location. 

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Reminder: Comments due by February 23, 2018 on Draft ERM Federal Integrated Business Framework and Use Cases for Electronic Messages

As we announced in a previous post, we are requesting comments on two draft documents as part of our Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative (FERMI). The documents are the Electronic Records Management Federal Integrated Business Framework (ERM-FIBF) and the Use Cases for Electronic Messages.

We would like to receive feedback from a variety of stakeholders, so please share widely. Comments are due on Friday, February 23, 2018.

If you have any questions about the documents, please contact

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Updates to Records Management Web Pages

Over the coming months, we will be making minor changes to our website. We will be reorganizing our pages to to make it easier to find the resources from these pages. We have started with reorganizing and consolidating the records management guidance and regulations pages.

We wanted to inform you in case any existing bookmarks need to be updated. We wanted to assure you that links to individual resources, such as NARA Bulletins or FAQs, will not change.

We are always looking to improve our website. Please leave a comment below or email us at if you have any suggestions or feedback you’d like to share.

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Opportunity to Comment: Draft ERM Federal Integrated Business Framework and Use Cases for Electronic Messages

We are requesting comments on two draft documents as part of our Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative (FERMI). The documents are the Electronic Records Management Federal Integrated Business Framework (ERM-FIBF) (Excel spreadsheet) and the Use Cases for Electronic Messages (Word document). Through FERMI, we have been working to improve the way agencies acquire ERM services and solutions. These documents serve as tools agencies can use when procuring services or solutions to manage electronic messages. They can be used by agencies to demonstrate how vendors perform the described requirements and workflows.

We welcome participation in the development of the ERM-FIBF and the Use Cases. As we would like to hear feedback from a variety of stakeholders, please share widely. You can comment here or fill out our feedback form (Excel spreadsheet) and email to with any questions or comments for consideration by February 23, 2018. We will review all the comments we receive.

We anticipate releasing the final version of the Use Cases for Electronic Messages in Spring 2018.

We developed the ERM-FIBF according to standards set out in the Federal Integrated Business Framework (FIBF) developed by GSA’s Unified Shared Services Management (USSM) office. The FIBF serves as a model to help the Federal government better coordinate and document common business needs, improve processes and performance, and drive economies of scale. With the development of the ERM-FIBF, NARA hopes to ensure records management requirements conform to the FIBF and are addressed in all Federal Service Areas.

This Use Cases for Electronic Messages document is based on the ERM-FIBF. The Use Cases document, which also includes visual workflows, is written from a high-level perspective and is intended to cover all types of electronic messages. We intend for agencies to use the use cases to demonstrate how vendors and service providers meet the requirements for managing electronic messages. The scenarios reflect an ideal flow of events and do not have to be accomplished in the exact way they are outlined in the Use Cases. The goal is to meet the requirements.


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PDF Day – January 29

PDF Day, a program with educational sessions designed for Federal agencies and stakeholders, will take place Monday, January 29, at the National Archives in Washington, DC (Archives I) in the William G. McGowan Theater from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

The PDF Association (PDFA) has been sponsoring an annual PDF Day for the past four years. PDF Day brings industry experts, vendors, and managers together to discuss the importance and utility of the Portable Document Format (PDF)–including its various ISO standards and the wide-ranging technologies available to government workflows. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) manages standards that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

There will be 18 educational sessions in two tracks that will offer a wide range of topics such as PDF and Artificial Intelligence; eSignatures; digitization of paper documents; Section 508; PDF and engineering documents; and accessibility issues.

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero will deliver the welcoming remarks at the event. Additionally, John Martinez, supervisor of NARA’s Policy and Standards Team (ACPS), will conduct a session about NARA’s new Draft Strategic Plan, highlighting the impact and implications for Federal records managers of the draft Strategic Plan and its goals for electronic records management, as well as upcoming digitization guidance.

Register at Registration also includes refreshments, lunch, and a networking function immediately following the event.

For those who can’t attend in-person, much of the event will be broadcast live and recorded via YouTube, similar to the Bi-monthly Records and Information Discussion Group (BRIDG). We’ll share the direct video link when it becomes available.

You can read more about the sessions and presenters at

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Opening of 2017 Reporting Period

Today, we opened the 2017 records management reporting period. Agencies will have until March 16, 2018 to submit the following three reports:

  1. Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA): The annual RMSA asks questions that assess compliance with records management statutes and regulations as well as NARA policies and guidance. The survey link was sent today via email to Agency Records Officers and those designated to respond to the RMSA. After completing the assessment, agencies will have access to their results. Questions about the RMSA may be sent to
  2. Federal Email Management Reporting: This survey is designed to evaluate how well Federal agencies are managing their email records according to the Criteria for Managing Email Records in Compliance with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18). The survey link was sent today via email to Agency Records Officers and those designated to respond to the email survey. Questions about the email survey may be sent to
  3. Senior Agency Official for Records Management (SAORM) Annual Report: This report gathers data on agency progress towards the goals of the Directive and other important records management initiatives as identified by NARA. The template was emailed to SAORMs today. Questions about the SAORM report can be sent to

We will post the SAORM and Federal Email Management Reports to our website as we receive them. We’ve also posted previous year’s RMSA, Email Management, and SAORM reports. For FY16, NARA produced a combined analysis of all three reports.

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Completion of Goal 3.2 of the Managing Government Records Directive

We are  pleased to announce the completion of another target from the Managing Government Records Directive. Target 3.2 of the Directive was to complete an overhaul of our General Records Schedule (GRS). This project is complete with publication of General Records Schedule (GRS) Transmittal 29 (.pdf).  We’ve now completely superseded the old GRS! GRS Transmittal 29, and all of the GRS, can be accessed on our website

Signing of GRS Transmittal 29

Katherene Kim (left), Laurence Brewer (middle), and Margaret Hawkins, join David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, as he signs GRS Transmittal 29, the final GRS package that satisfies the Managing Government Records Directive goal to overhaul the GRS by December 2017.

The above photo commemorates this significant milestone. Here, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero is signing the transmittal. Behind him are (from left to right), GRS Team member Katherene Kim, Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government Laurence Brewer, and Director of Records Management Operations Margaret Hawkins. We also want to take this opportunity to thank all the agencies that assisted in this project by answering questions and providing comments on draft schedules.  

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