White House sets 2022 deadline for digital records transformation

The US Office of Management and Budget has set a deadline of December 2022 for US Federal Government agencies to switch to electronic records. The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will not be able to accept non-electronic records after the deadline.

According to a memo from Russell T. Vough, Acting Director, US Office of Management and Budget, job descriptions for archivist and records management positions must also be updated to include proficiency in electronic recordkeeping skills.

According to the Whitehouse memo, “The Federal Government spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of hours annually to create, use, and store Federal records in analog (paper and other non-electronic) formats. Maintaining large volumes of analog records requires dedicated resources, management attention, and security investments that should be applied to more effectively managing electronic records. The processes that create analog records increase burden on citizens by requiring them to conduct business with the Government in person or by mail, rather than online, and trap valuable Federal data in paper records where it can only be extracted manually and at great expense.”

This memorandum directs all Federal agencies to:

  • Ensure that all Federal records are created, retained, and managed in electronic formats, with appropriate metadata; and
  • Consistent with records management laws and regulations, develop plans to close agency-operated storage facilities for paper and other, analog records, and transfer those records to Federal Records Centers operated by NARA or commercial storage facilities.

“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. Federal agencies have been required to manage all (permanent and temporary) email records in an electronic format since 2016 and are expected to continue to do so.”

“By December 31, 2022, all agencies must close agency-operated records storage facilities and transfer inactive, temporary records to Federal Records Centers or commercial records storage facilities. Temporary, analog records that become eligible for transfer after December 31, 2022 must be transferred to commercial storage facilities that meet NARA records storage requirements.”