Archive for the ‘Records Management’ Category
On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law Public Law No: 113-187, the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This new law modernizes records management by focusing more directly on electronic records, and complements efforts by the National Archives to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records.
Key points of this law include:
- Strengthening the Federal Records Act by expanding the definition of Federal records to clearly include electronic records. This is the first change to the definition of a Federal record since the enactment of the act in 1950.
- Confirming that Federal electronic records will be transferred to the National Archives in electronic form.
- Granting the Archivist of the United States final determination as to what constitutes a Federal record.
- Authorizing the early transfer of permanent electronic Federal and Presidential records to the National Archives, while legal custody remains with the agency or the President.
- Clarifying the responsibilities of Federal government officials when using non-government email systems.
- Empowering the National Archives to safeguard original and classified records from unauthorized removal.
- Codifying procedures by which former and incumbent Presidents review Presidential records for constitutional privileges.
We welcome this bipartisan effort to update the nation’s records laws for the 21st Century. H.R. 1233 could not have become law without the efforts of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking … [ Read all ]
The Open Government Partnership, launched in the summer of 2011 can trace its roots to President Obama’s challenge to the members of the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2010—a challenge to work together to make all governments more transparent, collaborative, and participatory. The Partnership has grown from eight to more than 60 nations representing more than 1,000 commitments to improve the governance of more than two billion people around the world.
The United States issued its first Open Government National Action Plan in September of 2011 and the National Archives participated in the process. In December of 2013, the White House issued the Second Open Government National Action Plan, committing to work with the public and civil society organizations to implement initiatives to increase public integrity, to manage resources more effectively, and to improve public services.
I’m pleased (and proud) to report that five of the ten action items addressing public integrity have the National Archives written all over them!
- Improve Public Participation in Government. Our Citizen Archivist Dashboard activities and Federal Register 2.0 are just two experiments in increasing public engagement.
- Modernize Management of Government Records. Implementation of the President’s Memorandum on Managing Government Records and the Directive on Managing Government Records are works in progress in this arena.
- Modernize the Freedom of Information Act. Our Office of Government
… [ Read all ]
I am pleased to announce that the Office of Management and Budget and the National Archives released a memo yesterday afternoon to the heads of executive departments and independent agencies on managing email. Over the past few weeks, this issue has been brought into focus through testimony that I delivered to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In addition, we have received questions from agencies as they are reviewing our Capstone Bulletin to determine if this approach is feasible for them. This is also important in light of the requirement in the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18) for all email to be managed electronically by December 31, 2016.
The memo reinforces the importance for each agency to manage their email properly and includes a new NARA Bulletin to assist agencies. NARA Bulletin 2014-06 reminds agency heads of existing NARA guidance and resources to assist in managing email. The memo also reminds agencies of the upcoming deadline in the Directive to develop suitable training for all agency personnel.
Our Office of the Chief Records Officer is leading our efforts to work with agencies to meet all the goals in the Directive. For more information about this work, and other initiatives they are undertaking, please visit their Records Express blog.… [ Read all ]
The Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M12-18) charges the National Archives and Records Administration to lead the efforts to modernize records management in the Federal Government.
The Directive focuses on two main goals:
- agencies will require electronic recordkeeping by managing all their email in an accessible electronic format by the end of 2016 and managing all their permanent records as electronic records by the end of 2019.
- agencies must demonstrate compliance with all records management laws and regulations.
I talked about the importance of the Directive in a post when it was issued in 2012. Since then, we passed several milestones. Agencies have identified Senior Agency Officials to lead records management in their programs and I have met with them to discuss the challenge and collaborate on solutions. And they have reported on their progress.
Staff members Meg Phillips, Don Rosen, and Chief Records Officer Paul Wester mingle with vendors at “The Managing Government Records Directive: A Grand Challenge for Industry” event in September 2013.
In September, we hosted a successful industry day for the Federal information management community and vendors with automated electronic records management solutions and services. It was an opportunity to meet and discuss the solutions and tools needed to meet the goals of the Directive.
We followed industry day with a request for information, asking vendors to describe … [ Read all ]
The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) recently hosted an open meeting to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System, focusing on declassification prioritization. PIDB continues to advocate for public discussion on the report. This meeting represented opportunities to highlight recommendations from the report, continue the conversation about the current declassification system, and discuss the topics citizens want prioritized for declassification.
The meeting also hosted a panel discussion on “Perspectives on Prioritizing Government Records for Declassification and Public Access,” featuring Stephen Randolph, Historian at the Department of State; Joseph Lambert, Director of Information Management Services at the Central Intelligence Agency; Michael Dobbs, Journalist and Scholar-in-Residence at the Holocaust Museum; and Stephen Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists.
My opening remarks at the meeting were an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the National Archives’ role in this democratic process, and to highlight the work we are doing to eliminate the declassification backlog and modernize records management practices:
When people have open access to government information, they are able to hold government accountable for its actions. This is an essential part of our democracy. As Thomas Jefferson wrote from Paris in 1789: “whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government…whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on … [ Read all ]
I hope that you and your families are well and safe after Sandy’s visit to the Northeast.
The National Archives buildings were largely spared, thanks to extensive preparation based on “lessons learned” from similar weather events. I am grateful to all of our staff and especially to our facilities and emergency staff for their ongoing work in keeping personnel and records safe. None of our records were damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy, thanks to our staffs’ careful preparation.
At Archives I, in Washington D.C., our facilities staff took several precautionary steps prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, including pumping down sump pits and pre-deploying the flood gates at the A1 moat openings. Additional measures implemented after the 2006 flooding including the installation of coffer dams and watertight doors, successfully limited water leakage to a minimal amount. The generator fuel tanks were filled and ready in case power was lost.
East Flood Wall (7th Street), Archives I Building, Washington DC:
West Flood Wall (9th Street) Exterior, Archives I Building, Washington DC:
(Photo credit: Timothy Edwards, National Archives Facility Manager)
At Archives II, our facility at College Park, MD, advance preparations included pumping down the rain water storage tank and securing the exterior of the building, as well as filling the generator fuel tanks in case power was lost. Power service remained throughout. There … [ Read all ]
In his Memorandum on Managing Government Records, President Obama stated “…proper records management is the backbone of open Government.” The Memorandum began an executive branch wide effort to reform records management policies and practices and required each agency to:
- identify a senior official responsible for records
- provide plans for improving or maintaining its records management program, especially electronic records; and
- suggest obstacles to sound, cost effective management policies and practices
Finally, the Memorandum mandates that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and I issue a Records Management Directive which focuses on:
- creating a Government wide records management framework that is more efficient and cost effective
- promoting records management policies and practices that enhance the capability of agencies to fulfill their statutory missions
- maintaining accountability through documentation of agency actions
- increasing open Government and appropriate access to Government records
- supporting agency compliance with applicable legal requirements related to the preservation of information relevant to litigation; and
- transitioning from paper-based records management to electronic records management where feasible.
I am pleased to report that this morning Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of OMB and I issued the Managing Government Records Directive. With lots of hard work on the part of National Archives and Records Administration, White House, Federal agency staffs and stakeholder groups, the directive charts new directions for the management of the … [ Read all ]
Colleen Wallace Nungari’s painting, Dreamtime Sisters, was selected as the “brand” for the International Council on Archives Congress which closes today in Brisbane, Australia. More than 1,000 archivists from 95 countries gathered to dream about the future around the theme, “A Climate of Change.”
Dreamtime Sisters, by Colleen Wallace Nungari
I was particularly struck by the theme of Nungari’s artwork and the relationship to the week’s deliberations. Dreamtime, in Aboriginal culture, described the period before living memory when the earth and all living things were created by Spirits from above and below. Dreamtime stories embody the culture and customs passed down and celebrated to this day.
Against that backdrop, as the group gathered for the opening session where I was invited to speak about social media, I encouraged them keep that image in mind as we deliberated on the state of the art of preserving today’s and tomorrow’s “living memory.” Honor the past as we create the future.
Read the full text of my address at the International Council on Archives Congress in Brisbane, Australia.… [ Read all ]
Writing in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck quotes Kit Anderson, past president of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (check out their website! www.nsgcd.org): “Digital clutter doesn’t beget mice or interfere with walking around the house. But it’s more insidious because no one else is going to insist that you get help.”
It is an article which struck a chord with me as we encourage staff here at the National Archives to take a look at the digital files they are maintaining. But it is a message for non-work digital clutter also.
“Hoarding is officially considered a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but some hoarders also suffer from attention-deficit-hyperactive disorder. Some digital hoarders are driven perfectionists who don’t know when to stop researching or collecting.” Ouch!
“Don’t Kill Your Reputation; Organize Your Information, 1989” National Archives and Records Administration. Series: Posters Relating to Records Management Practices in the Federal Government, ARC ID 518156
Some tips offered in the article:
- Practice ‘zero email.’ Clear your inbox every day.
- Declare ‘email bankruptcy.’ Delete every unread message and alert your 10 best friends and colleagues to resend crucial messages. NARA staff—not advised!
- Unsubscribe to every newsletter and mailing list not needed.
- Make use of your spam filter
Beck also reports that people typically use only about 20% of what they save. So…how are you doing? Where on … [ Read all ]
In September 2011, the White House launched an online petition web site, We the People, where anyone can post an idea asking the Obama administration to take action on a range of issues, get signatures, and get a response from their government.
It’s an experiment in democracy, which is generating new ideas and improving on old ideas every day. One of those rising ideas is “Yes We Scan.”
Yes We Scan is an effort by the Center for American Progress and Public.Resource.org to promote digitization of all government information in an effort to make it more accessible to the world.
Here at the National Archives, we house the nation’s permanent records, and we think increasing access to our collections in this way is a great idea. Our most recent efforts to do this ourselves as part of our OpenGov initiative, include the Citizen Archivist project, a Wikipedian in Residence, Tag it Tuesdays, and Scanathons. We are also moving forward on implementing the President’s recent Memorandum on Managing Government Records, which focuses on the need to update policies and practices for the digital age.
Wikipedia “ExtravaSCANza” at the National Archives in College Park, MD. January 6, 2012. Source: Wikimedia Commons
But all those things aren’t enough. Yes We Scan calls for a national strategy, and even a Federal Scanning … [ Read all ]