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The following blog post reflects the thoughts of NARA’s Records Management Policy Team on the topic of managing records in a mobile environment. We will explore the benefits, records management implications, and best practices that have emerged to address these challenges in a series of three blog posts. The team is not at the point of creating formal guidance, but we would like to have a discussion with agencies about their ideas, thoughts, and concerns on this topic. Please join the discussion in the comment section.

In this first post, we explore the current mobile environment and the many benefits to agencies. In May 2012, the White House issued the Digital Government Strategy with three objectives:

  1. Enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.

  2. Ensure that, as the government adjusts to this new digital world, we seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways.

  3. Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.

This strategy pushes agencies to create an environment for mobility by offering government information, data, and services to the American people and their increasingly mobile workforce wherever they are and whenever they want. Agencies are encouraged to create an “information-centric” environment with the goals of interoperability and openness. This has led many agencies to provide employees with the capability to access government assets or environments through agency provided applications or thin clients when they are not in the office.

Additionally, the increasing use of mobile devices is one of the latest trends in improving how Federal employees perform their work. Mobile devices allow employees to access agency email, databases, resources, and systems while not at their desk.

Federal agencies often provide their employees with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to perform work and meet the agencies’ mission. Agencies are increasingly adopting policies that support  “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD where employees can use their own devices to perform government work. According to Robert Brese the Chief Information Officer at the Department of Energy, “[I]t’s just a matter of when, not if we will all be bringing our own mobile devices to the work environment.” Since the release of the Digital Government Strategy, a number of agencies have piloted BYOD programs and shared their lessons learned.

Some of the benefits for working in a mobile environment include:

  • Reduced costs for the agency by not having to provide government furnished equipment

  • Increased employee choice over the types of devices used for work

  • Increased employee productivity and flexibility when employees can work when and where they want

  • Adaptability to a changing workforce and improved job satisfaction

  • Easier sharing of resources among employees and their customers

What do you think about the increased use of mobility in the Federal government? Is this a trend you see in your agency?  Please comment below.

In future posts, we will look at records management implications and discuss how Federal records management may be affected.

Image credit: ”Wi-Fi” by Fuma Ren under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

We are pleased to announce that NARA is now seeking applications for the position of Director, National Records Management Training Program. This is a high-profile position responsible for overseeing NARA’s nationwide RM training activities including face-to-face and online instruction, content development, and management of NARA’s Certificate of Federal Records Management Training program. The opening closes on March 28. Additional position information and instructions on how to apply are included in the following links.

Vacancy Announcements for the position of Supervisory Instructional Systems Specialist, GS-1750-15  have been posted on the USAJOBS website.

JD1068837SHM (Merit Promotion – Government Wide) and

JD1069884SHD (Public Notice)

For general information about working for the National Archives, please visit:


We, with significant assistance from the Electronic Records Management Automation Working Group, have completed a draft report and plan to satisfy Managing Government Record Directive Goal A3.1.  This draft is available here (.pdf) for your review, suggestions, and discussion.

We decided that it would be most useful to satisfy the goal by drafting two things, a report and a plan.

The report addresses categories of suitable approaches for automating ERM and discusses their outcomes, benefits, and risks.  Our goal is to finalize the report in May 2014, incorporating the comments you send now.

The report covers the goals of electronic records automation, what the project has accomplished to date, NARA’s stance on DOD 5015.2, and a framework of 5 suitable approaches to automation that the Federal government can pursue.

The plan, on the other hand, will remain a living document.  It will be revised at least once a year as we complete initial tasks and assess the feasibility of the four major initiatives we will start exploring in the first year.

The plan is still basically an outline – we need input to flesh it out.  We hope you, both Federal agency staff and information management experts outside the government, will work with us to refine it.  You can help by commenting here on the blog now and continuing to provide input over time.

Some of the questions you should consider as you read this draft are:

  • What should the long term future look like to achieve vastly improved access to government information?
  • What steps could we take to get there?
  • Are there points (in the report or plan) that need clarification?
  • Are these the right goals?
  • Are these the right initiatives in the plan?
  • Are these the right tasks? Are there missing tasks? Who could do these tasks?
  • What stakeholders would need to be consulted?  What stakeholders are already working in these areas that we should coordinate with?
  • Are you in a good position to help with any of the tasks?

Comments are due by April 25, 2014

Update: To leave a comment, please visit this more recent posting. Thank you.

Capstone Briefings

by on February 18, 2014

While we had to postpone the Capstone briefing scheduled for last week, we have posted videos of the Capstone Session held on February 4.

This session was divided into two panels. The first was from our own records officer, Susan Sullivan. Susan shared information on how we planned the approach, stakeholder involvement, implementation steps to date, and lessons learned that might help other agencies who are considering implementing their own Capstone approach.

The second session consisted of a panel of NARA experts  to answer general questions on Capstone and email management. Included on the panel were staff from the following NARA offices: General Counsel, NARA records management, appraisal and scheduling, records management policy and electronic formats, and electronic records transfer.

As you are probably aware, the Washington, D.C. area is expecting a significant winter storm event Wednesday the 12th into Thursday the 13th. While we hope we are able to move forward with the Capstone technical webinar scheduled for Thursday  as part of the Electronic Records Management Automation agency presentation series, we will follow these guidelines:

  • If the Federal Government is open and under normal operating status, the webinar will happen as scheduled.
  • If the Federal Government is closed OR there is the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework OR there is a delayed opening, we will reschedule to an alternate date to be determined. We will try to schedule for early March and will send out another announcement with the new date.

Official Government closing and leave information is located on the OPM web site or contact our status line 301-837-0700.

We want everyone interested to be able to participate in this event. Thank you in advance for your patience as we plan for possible weather disruptions.


Update on February 13: OPM has announced that the Federal Government is closed, so we will be rescheduling the Capstone webinar.

April 2014
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