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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Public Recordkeeping

The United States federal government issues recordkeeping laws and regulations for industries as varied as business and medicine. However, management of the public record is a foundational concern of records management and one that can get lost in the bureaucracy, especially when it comes to managing electronic records produced by government agencies.

On November 28, 2011, an executive branch effort to reform records management policies and practices was launched by the White House. The Presidential Memorandum on Records Management is a call to all government departments and agencies to modernize records management in an effort to “develop a 21st-century framework for the management of Government records.” A blogged response from National Archivist David S. Ferriero echoes the importance of records management in open government and supports the Presidential initiative and NARA’s role in it.

Goals for reform include a framework that will provide a foundation for open government, leverage information to improve agency performance, and reduce unnecessary costs and burdens. The primary focus of the Memorandum is the transition from paper to electronic systems, with highlights on improved accountability, transparency, compliance and availability.

There is no mention in the Memorandum of ARMA International or their Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®, but the directive aligns with GARP® quite nicely. In particular, executive oversight and records program reporting are both well-defined GARP® requirements–for accountability and transparency–and key to the new Presidential directives. Like any organization, government agencies that choose to adopt GARP® will have a ready-made framework to meet and exceed increased records management requirements.

Learn more


Read the Memorandum on Managing Public Records on the official website of the White House.


See the response from NARA leadership at AOTUS: Collector in Chief.


Review ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®, including citation information.

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