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In the Loop - October 2009

Some In The Loop articles and links are pertinent to EPA staff and are available to EPA Intranet users only.

ALERT: Final revisions to NARA regulations (13-OCT-2009)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has published the final version of its comprehensive revision to the records management regulations in the October 2, 2009 Federal Register. The changes to 36 CFR Chapter XII, Subchapter B - Federal Records Management will be effective November 2, 2009.

Here is a brief summary of the significant changes:

  • Regulations are renumbered and reorganized. This affects references to the regulations in NRMP documents, and we will be reviewing them for needed changes. You will also need to review your internal records management documents. The Federal Register notice includes a table ("derivation table") showing the changes in location which will help with this process.
  • The revisions include references to statutory authorities and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 15489 at the beginning of each major section.
  • Revises conditions under which nonrecord materials may be removed by departing employees from agency custody, e.g., records restricted under the Privacy Act or other statutes may not be removed from government custody except under the provision of those statutes. (Part 1222)
  • Requires agencies obtain prior NARA approval to loan original permanent or unscheduled records to other federal agencies. (Part 1228)
  • Requires agencies to notify NARA in all cases where records constituting a continuing menace to human health or life or to property are identified. Previously, agencies could deal with deteriorating nitrocellulose base film unilaterally and notify NARA within 30 days. (Part 1229)
  • Added a new section to address how NARA and agencies are to handle credible allegations of unlawful or accidental removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of records. (Part 1230)
  • Broadens the coverage of regulations on electronic records to include all unstructured records; that is, records created using office automation software such as e-mail and other messaging applications, word processing, or presentation software. (Part 1236)
  • Expands and updates audiovisual records management provisions to address aerial photographic records, architectural engineering records, cartographic records and digital photographs. (Part 1237)

Includes new criteria for NARA inspections, stating that they will undertake inspections of records management programs when an agency fails to address high-level records management risks or when specific problems are identified (e.g., in a government report or the media). (Part 1239)

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