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FCW : May 30, 2016
D espite a DeaDline of December 31st, about one-third of federal agency leaders still don’t know how they will comply with NARA requirements. This statistic, from the latest round of self-assessments reported to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), underscores the difficulty agencies are having in finding the best way to manage growing stores of records in more varied formats. The NARA 2016 and 2019 mandates require agencies to put systems and processes in place to manage temporary and eventually all permanent email and records in an electronic format by set deadlines. This includes the ability to identify, store, retrieve and retain those records for as long as they are needed so agencies can quickly locate and deliver them in a timely manner that is trustworthy and complete. Many agencies still use the print-and-file approach of printing all e-mails and filing them manually or use e-mail archiving systems that save all e-mails, regardless of whether their retention is required. Other agencies use first-generation electronic records management systems which include multiple discrete point solutions from different vendors. They meet the minimum needs for records management; however, these systems are costly and complicated and typically can’t handle unstructured data like content from mobile devices and social media or digital assets such as video. Most existing systems and processes won’t be able to fulfill the 2016 NARA requirements. Among other things, systems will need to distinguish between temporary and permanent records and purge the system of temporary or non-critical e-mail records after a designated time period. The best way to meet the NARA mandate is to find a way to manage all records in a single repository. A single system would help agencies manage all electronic content—not only e-mail and Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents; but also mobile content, social media and digital assets such as video files. “It’s not easy to commit to a new system, but it’s really the only way to ensure that you meet all aspects of the NARA requirements,” says Tara Combs, a records management specialist at Alfresco, which developed the modern enterprise content management and business process management systems used by many government organizations. An enterprise approach to managing content can pay off in numerous ways, besides meeting the mandate. According to Gartner, it can reduce the operational costs associated with managing diverse repositories while also creating opportunities for optimizing business processes and making information easier to share. Meet the Mandate Before finding the right system, it’s important to identify applicable policies. How long will the system retain different types of physical and electronic records? When they will be deleted? How will the system handle content from other systems, such as e-mail attachments? These are the types of policy questions that need answers. Another important part of this step is and identifying the agency’s Capstone officials. These are generally top-level senior agency leaders and other key decision-makers. Capstone officials are separated into three levels based on how critical they are to the organization and the relative importance of their e-mail. NARA released a new directive called Criteria for Managing E-mail Records in Compliance with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12 -18), on April 6, 2016, defining the success criteria for the 2016 deadline. The key success criteria are to: Policies: Agency-wide policies and training must inform account holders of their responsibilities for managing e-mail records. Systems: Agencies must have systems in place that can produce, manage, and preserve e-mail records in an acceptable electronic BeyonD Meeting the naRa ManDates Satisfying NARA requirements is just one reason agencies should change the way they manage records. SpoNSo R ed RepoR t NARA MANDATE ConsiDeR open souRCe naRa anD Many agenCies have rules in place to ensure electronic records will always be accessible and readable, no matter how much time passes or technology changes. For example, the dod’s 5015 standard, which NARA has adopted, defines an impor t/expor t schema for interoperability between records management systems. the best way to ensure records remain accessible and readable is to choose a content management system based on open standards and open source code. these systems are transparent, easy to integrate and allow contributors to improve everything from the repositor y to the web interface and mobile apps. dependency from a single vendor is reduced. Users will often contribute new features as well, which after being vetted by the vendor, are added to enhance usability und guarantee the highest security levels.
May 15, 2016
June 15, 2016