How to Meet the NARA 2019/2022 Deadlines – PART 1 of 3

Posted by Deja Logan

In 2012, the Executive Office of the President of USA, Barack Obama issued a memorandum that defined the end of the road for paper-based workflows. The NARA 2019/2022 Deadline, as it’s known in the industry, expects government agencies to fully convert to digital formats.

The 2022 deadline is closing in fast; government agencies are scrambling to get on board on time and meet the NARA 2019/2022 requirements. The hardest push seems to be digitizing permanent records and finding an acceptable way to manage this data digitally.

To assist our clients, Armedia presents a  three-part blog series on how government agencies can meet the NARA 2019/2022 deadlines.

In this blog, we will cover the following:

Part 1:

  • What are the 2019 & 2022 mandates and how can you become compliant in a way that helps you simultaneously organize things electronically
  • What to do to get ready to meet the deadline
  • Why you need an ECM, and how Alfresco can help
  • How to evaluate your content before configuring an ECM

Part 2:

  • How to make a plan for scanned content to comply with the 2019 and 2022 mandates
  • Further evaluation of your content to ensure correct configuration
  • Why it is important to map out what you have and how to link it to your retention schedule
  • Examples of configuration and implementation of electronic solutions for your 2019 and 2022 ingested content
  • Setting up and configuring a content library
  • Seamless mapping to your retention schedule
  • How using an ingestion tool like Ephesoft can speed up your progress

Part 3:

  • Implementing a lifecycle for day forward content

So, let’s start with Part 1.

What are the 2019 and 2022 Mandates?

Official portrait of President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, Source: Wikipedia)

As you may know, a memorandum from the Executive Office of the President, M-12-18, August 24, 2012, Subject: Managing Government Records, included the following:

1.1 By 2019, Federal agencies will manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format.

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. By December 31, 2013, each agency will develop and begin to implement plans to achieve this transition. Agencies should also consider the benefits of digitizing permanent records created in hard-copy format or other analog formats (e.g., microfiche, microfilm, analog video, analog audio).”

In addition to the President’s memorandum, the National Archives and Records Administration FY 2018 – FY 2022 Strategic Plan covers the 2019 and 2022 mandates and planning for all agencies and NARA to become more efficient by going paperless. By 2022, all temporary records in your agency will need to be in electronic form for transfer to NARA.

This strategic plan states:

By December 31, 2022, NARA will, to the fullest extent possible, no longer accept transfers of permanent or temporary records in analog formats and will accept records only in electronic format and with appropriate metadata.

Basically, the remainder of your content that needs to be in electronic form, and the deadline is coming up fast.

If you are in line for full compliance of the 2019 mandate, then you may already understand the amount of work that can go into complying with these mandates. Since, typically, there are fewer permanent records than temporary records, the next mandate may be a bigger endeavor. Getting ready for the next deadline as soon as possible will pay off.

The good news is that Armedia can assist in this effort.

Getting Ready to Meet the NARA 2019/2022 Recommendations

NARA requirements Timeline

The first step is evaluating what you have. Most of you may already know what you have that needs to be scanned into electronic form. If you do, that is a good start! If you do not, then take a look at your current scene.

Ask yourself: What records need to be made available in electronic form for compliance to the 2019 and 2022 mandates?

Here are some questions to help you map out the workload you’re facing:

  • Where are these records currently?
  • How many are there?
  • What state are they in?
  • Do they need to be cleaned up? Is there any order or structure to them? Do they have clear categories or labels?
  • Is there any kind of inventory of them somewhere? (paper or electronic inventory)
  • How much time and money would it take to scan them all?
  • What resources do you need in order to do this? (employees, printers, etc.) Do you have the resources already or do you need to outsource the job?
  • Do you have enough time to reach the mandates (starting with permanent records for the 2019 mandate if you have not done that already)?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it’s a good start. It’s not a detailed game plan. It’s more of a 30,000-foot snapshot of all the ground you will need to cover as part of meeting the NARA 2019/2022 requirements.

Why Should You Consider an Enterprise Content Management System like Alfresco?

The Alfresco Governance Platform is a fully DOD 5015.2 certified ECM. All of the tools you need for Records Management controls are there waiting for you.

However, just dumping content into an Enterprise Content Management system may not be very helpful. End-users will need reliable categorization of this content so they can do meaningful, routine actions. This is why it is important to have a plan of action that will not upset the current business process flows of the users in the agency during this whole transition.

Alfresco Content Services and Alfresco Governance Services can give you full support in content management as well as all of the records management tools you will need:

  • Data capture
  • Metadata editing
  • Security markings
  • Customized workflows
  • Data retention
  • Legal holds
  • Destruction and transfer, etc.

Alfresco has it all.

You can spend less time worrying about having the tools you need and more time configuring the system to meet all your unique requirements in addition to industry standards and NARA guidelines.

Questions to Consider Before Configuring Your ECM

Now let’s look at some questions you’ll want to consider before you start to configure your ECM.

It is best to have a plan of action before you start scanning. Ask questions like:

  • How do you make sure the incoming content gets its proper retention applied?
  • How can you be sure that content is getting the lifecycle it needs in the system?
  • How can you be sure that only users who are on a ‘need to know’ basis can access these newly scanned in records without having to bottleneck everything through to the Records Manager or RM staff?

All of these can be answered easily using Alfresco – Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS) plus Alfresco Governance Services.

Alfresco enterprise content management and governance services logo

If the paper records that must be scanned have already completed their lifecycles, the solutions and answers to these questions can be fairly straightforward. However, you may still need a plan and a strategy before you just start ingesting everything.

You will need to know the components of what you need and the components of what your ECM can DO out of the box and what you may need to customize.

If you use Alfresco, the answers could be something like:

  • Q: How do you make sure the incoming content gets its proper retention applied?
  • A: I can add proper metadata to match them to a File Plan Schedule OR I can add the content to a folder that is already mapped to a File Plan Schedule.
  • Q: How can you be sure that content is getting the lifecycle it needs in the system?
  • A: I can create a fully automated lifecycle using Alfresco Processing Services OR a part manual and part automated lifecycle using out of the box rules and tools once I have my lifecycles defined.
  • Q: How can you be sure that only users who are on a ‘need to know’ basis can access these newly scanned in records without having to funnel everything through the Records Manager or RM staff?
  • A: I can set up libraries for each Division/Department or area that can control permissions of users on a ‘site level’ and then further inside the Library at the folder level with a role type (Consumer, Contributor, Collaborator or Manager).

Alfresco has a lot to offer, and this is why we at Armedia are going to it as our default ECM choice.

Further Evaluation on What You Have and What You Need

Think about the content you are about to scan in. What do you have that needs to be scanned in to meet the 2019 and 2022 mandates? What information do you need to know in order to set up things in your ECM before you scan it all in?

Run through these questions for the records:

  • Where does this content belong on the retention schedule?
  • What group, department, division, etc., did this content derive from?
  • Do the users from that division/area still need access to this content? How frequently?
  • For what purpose do they access this content? What do they still need for it? What will they need to do with it? (read, download, add to a process, etc.?)
  • Is this content involved in any type of legal action or audit? Will it be needed for any audit or other similar purposes in the near future?
  • What are the criteria for users in order to find this content? What would the search filters be?
  • What metadata will need to be associated with this content? Ask yourself:
    • How can you classify it or connect it to a retention schedule?
    • What is the document “date” (the year it was put into use)? for FY retention purposes?
    • Are there any other dates that could be important to capture based on the content type? For instance, an “event date” or an “action date”? For example: If it was an Employee file, the “date it was put into use” may not be needed, but the “Employee Separation Date” might be more useful, since your retention ‘count down’ may not start until the employee has separated the agency – i.e. retain 6 years after the employee leaves the company etc.
    • What metadata is needed to find it in the system using the search criteria: subject, project, program, ID numbers, etc.? Note: in order to have a search filter for it, the metadata may need to be associated to each document scanned in.
    • What metadata is needed to transfer the records to NARA? Per NARA’s guidelines, they want: “filename, record ID, title of the record [its name], a description, agent responsible for the record, creator, creation date and rights [all out of the box with Alfresco]. And IF applicable: “coverage” and Relation” – see guidelines at: https://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/bulletins/2015/2015-04.html
    • Do you want to add a “Transfer Confirmation Number” to the content after it has been transferred or will you delete the content after it has been successfully transferred?
    • Do you have any type of security markings or supplemental markings for this content (Top Secret, confidential, U.S. Only, FOUO)?

In Alfresco you can use tools to add the metadata you need, whether automatically or manually.

Alfresco already captures a wealth of metadata ‘out of the box’, little to no configuration needed. Some metadata is available out of the box, you just need to let the system know when and where it needs to be applied. But above all, every agency is different and quite commonly every document type may need its own unique set of metadata for retrieval, compliance, and retention purposes.

Wrapping Up

Meeting the NARA 2019/2022 Deadlines means a lot of hard work and a lot of planning. It’s not something that agencies can just rush through. There are no cookie-cutter, copy-paste strategies.

This is why companies like Armedia exist.

If you feel like this is overwhelming, feel free to reach out to us using our Contact Us form, or simply call us.

Make sure you’ll read the next two parts of this series:

Thanks for reading, I hope this can help! Please let me know if you have any questions.

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