The National Archives and Records Administration will require federal agencies to turn video conferences and other online collaborations into records, it announced in a bulletin.
The administration announced that each time agency employees use an online, collaborative platform to conduct business, they are creating federal records that must be properly stored, according to the released bulletin. This includes video conferences, calendars, chat functions, emails, file sharing, document collaboration and more. NARA, however, said that this list is “non-exhaustive.”
NARA said that agencies have to treat records in collaboration platforms like all other federal records, in compliance with the administration’s approved records schedules.
NARA recognized the importance of collaborative platforms in its statement and said: “Within the federal government, these platforms provide an environment that supports rapid and effective collaborations. They have become a regular part of government work culture.”
“Record management concerns should not hinder an agency’s full use of collaboration platforms,” NARA said in the bulletin. “By providing these platforms, agencies maintain more control over the systems and can then determine a strategy to manage and capture content created in those systems.”
Agencies are not required to record and capture every conference and chat but should follow the established guidelines for record management to document decisions or substantive conversations during a video conference similar to an in-person meeting.
NARA said that when agencies implement record management into an existing collaboration program, they can consider how to handle requests for information or records that are contained in the system and if records could be migrated to a different platform if an existing system is replaced.
Agency records officers “must work with system administrators and program managers to perform a risk-based analysis of how they intend to use the collaboration platform and ensure recordkeeping requirements are identified and met,” NARA said in the bulletin.