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General Records Schedule 6.1: Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach 

Given public interest in Federal Government email management, and in conjunction with its publication in the Federal Register, NARA is soliciting comments on General Records Schedule 6.1: Email Managed under a Capstone Approach. To facilitate the comment process, a copy of the review package comprised of the proposed records disposition schedule, accompanying FAQ, and appraisal memoranda, can be downloaded (.pdf).  To aid in public understanding of this GRS, we created a White Paper (.pdf) that provides additional background information on the Capstone approach, appraisal of records at NARA, and the development of this general records schedule.

This records schedule was developed to provide disposition authority for agencies who implement a Capstone approach to managing their email as outlined in NARA Bulletin 2013-02: Guidance on a New Approach to Managing Email Records [Capstone]; and to assist agencies in meeting Goal 1.2 of the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18), which requires agencies to manage both permanent and temporary email records in an accessible electronic format by December 31, 2016.

So that we can insure all comments are received and considered, comments must be sent to no later than June 1, 2015.

An open public meeting will also be held to solicit comments on this schedule. The meeting will be held on Thursday, May 21, 2015, in the McGowan Theater (basement level), National Archives and Records Administration downtown building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Metrorail’s Yellow or Green lines to the Archives/Navy Memorial station). Please enter on the Constitution Avenue side of the building, the “Special Events” entrance (which is actually the exit for the general public). Additional information on this meeting is published in a separate Federal Register Public meeting Notice.

OPM released a memorandum for Chief Human Capital Officers announcing the final version of the Records Management Occupation Flysheet (O308) and the Qualification Standard on March 10. This action formally created a new occupational series of records and information management. We believe this will elevate the roles, responsibilities, and skill sets for agency records officers and other records and information professionals.

The task of establishing the occupational series is an important target in the Managing Government Records Directive. OPM conducted multiple rounds of review, focus groups, and received numerous comments from us, the federal records management community, and other interested groups as they created this series.

OPM Deputy Associate Director, Recruitment & Hiring, Kimberly A. Holden said “Establishment of this new series brings into focus the records and information management workforce using one occupational series to provide consistency in describing, classifying, and recruiting for records and information management specialists across the Federal Government.”

For specific questions regarding how this series will be applied at your agency please contact your Human Capital Office for details. General questions or feedback to NARA can be sent to: Preston Huff at or Lisa Haralampus at We look forward to hearing from you about this new series

We are pleased to announce the release of a report on open source tools for records management. This report was produced in response to item A3.2 in the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) and is available here. This item actively encourages NARA to work with agencies to review and identify open source tools for records management tasks. To start this discussion, we’ve compiled a selection of open source tools that could be used for various records management functions. The list is a “snapshot” of available tools as of October 2014. We haven’t tested the tools, nor do we endorse them.

We will now be moving this discussion to the ERM Automation Working Group wiki. The wiki provides a space for federal employees to contribute to the list and share their experiences with the tools. Members of the wiki are encouraged to describe how they have used tools and share additional recommendations.

Note that this project only focuses on currently available open source tools. NARA will not be developing any new records management solutions in the scope of this project. However, NARA will explore building relationships with the open source community to identify gaps in tools and identify opportunities for external involvement to develop new solutions. The intended audience for this document is not only records management and IT staff in Federal agencies, but also developers in the open source community and any other interested parties.

Please contact Beth Cron ( or Lisa Haralampus ( with any feedback.

We look forward to continuing this discussion!

We have launched a new portal to share information about our ongoing work on the Automated Electronic Records Management Plan. The portal displays a table corresponding to the three parts of the framework in the plan: governance, procurement, and technology. We will post on our ongoing projects to the portal. All of these projects demonstrate what we are thinking about and acting on the vision of the Managing Government Records Directive.

This update is from our General Records Schedule (GRS) Team

The GRS Team has recently been reviewing a number of schedules from agencies that bucket GRS items. (This review is part of the normal internal stakeholder review process that all schedules go through and any schedules superseding GRS items are reviewed by the GRS Team.)  One of the problems we commonly encounter when doing these reviews relates to cutoff instructions, so we wanted to take a moment to remind agencies about why cutoff instructions—even in big bucket schedules—are important to consider, especially when bucketing GRS items.

We will often see cases where an agency has included a GRS item with a 3 year retention in a 5 year bucket item. This all seems well and good until you look at the cutoff instructions. Many bucket items just have a simple instruction like “Destroy when 5 years old.” But the GRS item it is superseding says “Destroy 3 years after superseded or obsolete.” One instruction has a cutoff at the beginning of the lifecycle (retention is based on when the record was created). The other is based on the end of the lifecycle. This can result in the 5 year retention actually being shorter than the 3 year retention. For example, say the records here are administrative policies. That policy may still be actively used 5 years after it is created. You don’t want to destroy it if it’s in use. That is why the GRS states that it should be destroyed a certain period of time after use has ceased (it is superseded or obsolete). The GRS Team would not concur with the proposed bucketing of this item to 5 years, unless the cutoff was changed.

So how do you resolve this issue in big bucket schedules: the most common way we have seen other agencies do it while not having to completely blow apart their buckets is to include specific cutoff instructions in their crosswalks. The disposition instruction states “Destroy 5 years after cutoff” and the cutoff instruction for the bucket item refers to users to the crosswalk.  Then each item will indicate the cutoff.

If you have questions related to bucketing GRS items, please contact We’re happy to help.

July 2015
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