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How To Remain In Compliance With The M-19-21 NARA Mandate

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). He tasked them with the maintenance and protection of significant historical records and documents of the Federal Government.

Over the next 86 years, NARA accumulated an estimated 10 billion pages of textual records, charts, photos, and other important documents. The maintenance of this vast archive has led to several challenges, including storage space, cost, and lack of overall efficiency.

This is why on June 28th, 2019, the Executive Office of the President issued Memorandum M-19-21, which sets a federally mandated deadline of December 31st, 2021, to have all temporary and permanent Federal Documents digitized and managed electronically.

If your business or organization supplies information to the Federal Government, read on to learn more about how this mandate will affect you and how you can remain in compliance.

NARA and M-19-21

In conjunction with the M-19-21 Mandate, NARA has established a strategic plan to become completely paperless by January 1st, 2022. At that point, they will no longer accept temporary or permanent records in analog format—everything must be digital and tagged with the appropriate metadata.

This translates into a considerable amount of work for State, Federal, and private industries with governmental ties. The digitization of an extensive archive can involve many factors, some of which may include:

Age of the source document – Depending on the age and physical condition of the document, it might require additional sensitive handling procedures.

Media type – The type of analog media, such as microfilm and microfiche, coupled with potential compatibility issues of modern equipment, might require additional steps to digitize safely and correctly.

Indexing requirements – How will you index your archive? Every single document will require the inclusion of associated metadata that will help identify it.

The volume of documents – How big are your volumes? Do you have the appropriate manpower and equipment to ensure accurate and safe digitization?

Filing and storage – How are you currently filing and storing? Is there a method at all?

Documents – Will the documents need to be returned, stored, or destroyed after digitization?

How to Prepare for the NARA 2020 Mandate

A thorough examination of your current records storage, back-office operations, and management processes can help prepare your organization to take the first steps in meeting the 2022 goal of NARA.

The Criteria for Successfully Managing Permanent Electronic Records put out by NARA will help guide you through a self-assessment while providing more detailed information that will allow you to make informed decisions.

It’s often more cost-effective and efficient to partner with a private vendor to assist with the digitization, storage, or distribution of documents. After all, many State, Federal, and private organizations that do business with the government do not have the manpower, resources, nor expertise to comply with the new mandate.

Selecting the Right Partner

After your agency or business has developed a game plan, it’s time to set it into motion by choosing an experienced partner, such as ILM. We have over 40 years of experience and have helped several State and Federal agencies, including NARA itself, work towards their goals of meeting this specific mandate.

We have a proven track record of providing expert document conversion, data entry, and information management services. We’re firmly committed to our ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality management.

As 2022 approaches, ILM is fully prepared to help guide our partners through this mandate and its requirements. For more information, please contact us.

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