Does your agency have documented and approved policies requiring permanent electronic records be managed in an electronic format for eventual transfer to NARA?
Over 30% of agencies lack approved transfer procedures for digital records.
Source Data: NARA, 2018 Records Management Self-Assessment, N=255, totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Core Elements of an Effective Electronic Records Transfer Strategy
After December 31, 2022, all agencies will transfer permanent records to NARA in electronic formats and with appropriate metadata, in accordance with NARA regulations and transfer guidance, except where an agency has been granted an exception under procedures to be developed by NARA.
“It is probably easiest to transfer records on Compact-Disk, Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) or Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), because agencies typically have the drives for this media and it’s inexpensive. Other acceptable media include magnetic tape and tape cartridges, such as Digital Linear Tape (DLT). You may also use File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Additional types of media, such as external hard drives, may be acceptable if discussed in advance with the accessioning program unit.”
NARA guidelines for specific content types are:
- Textual records – use plain ASCII or in Portable Document Format (PDF) or format or scanned images.
- Scanned images of textual records – the preferred formats are Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) and Portable Network Graphics (PNG). Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) and, Basic Image Interchange Format (BIIF) are also acceptable.
- Data files and databases – convert tables to files with fixed-length fields or fields defined by delimiters.
- Digital geospatial data – Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) or Geography Markup Language (GML) records incorporate preferred formats that are evolving, so contact NARA for assistance.
- Digital photographic records – Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) and File Interchange Format (JFIF, JPEG) are also acceptable.
- Web Records – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and other formats such as TIFF or PDF that either are embedded in the HTML or referenced by it are typical examples.