SAA/CoSA/NAGARA 2018 recap: Session 605

Session 605 – Taming the Web: Perspectives on the Transparent Management and Appraisal of Web Archives [RIM]

Session 605 offered different organizational perspectives on the management and appraisal of web archives. The perspectives included a municipality, a university, and state and Federal government.

Local Government Perspective – Austin, TX

First up, Katherine Cranford described the types of records found on their websites – many of them permanent. She explained how stakeholders approach web archiving from different perspectives. They manage web content by connecting their document management system, OpenText eDocs, to their websites via API. This ensures documents are protected and maintained according to records schedules. They use ArchiveSocial according to their social media policy. To ensure only necessary information is in their content management system, Drupal, they use policies. She recommends using a style guide if policies don’t work. She emphasized the ongoing importance of content audit and governance.

University Perspective – Johns Hopkins University

Next, Jordon Steele explained how they use the Archive-It service to capture websites and Facebook. The web archiving labor includes:

  1. Deciding on seeds (working with IT and student center to get a list of all officially registered groups)
  2. Performing test crawls
  3. Troubleshooting issues
  4. Saving crawls
  5. Quality assurance
  6. Metadata creation (embedded in Archives Space)
  7. Preserving archival records
  8. Performing reappraisal on a regular basis
  9. Repeat (annual or semi-annually)

Jordon discussed the ethical considerations of documenting student groups. They managing the tension between their ethical obligation to document campus life and the ethical obligation to ask permission. If they decide not to ask, can they mitigate using redaction or access restrictions? Could they apply standard restrictions to the web archiving platform? They are trying to determine what they should do based on their priorities.

Jordon mentioned the following key resources in developing their program: Collecting Policy for Duke University Archives, Middlebury College Web Archives, University of Virginia Data Documentation & Metadata, and Documenting the Now.

State Perspective – State Library of North Carolina

Next, Krista Sorenson explained how the State Library works with the State Archive to manage state publications, documents, and public records. They began using Archive-It in 2005 and ArchivesSocial in 2012. They perform bi-monthly capture of state agency websites and content, including publications only available on web.

After 13 years, they reevaluated their approach. They are focusing on user experience as they know patrons may find it difficult to find what they need. They performed an audit and are reconsidering their approach to metadata and documentation. They’ve determined they have to periodically review their approach and create clear documentation to make a well-managed, transparent web presence.

State Perspective – State Archive of North Carolina

Jaime Patrick-Burns discussed hot they capture websites, blogs, and social media of official state organizations using Archive-It and ArchiveSocial. For quality control in ArchiveSocial they monitor accounts and for Archive-It, they download crawls, look at data, and check seeds to see how they appearing. Then they add rules and do test crawls of their 700 active seeds. They take top 5% and bottom 5%, review all errors, check how they appear in the Wayback Machine, and record actions taken. With this approach, they are looking at the seeds most likely to cause problems. They are rolling out a new approach to divide seed list and check a section at a time so all seeds get checked annually. Their ongoing issues include the maturation of web archives, scalability, communicating with stakeholders, and limits on the number of accounts in Archivesocial.  

Federal Perspective – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Kyle Douglas gave an overview of the NARA guidance on managing web records. While the NARA Guidance on Managing Web Records is from 2005, it is still applicable. NARA is working on new guidance and considering various options, including pursuing Capstone-like approach to manage top-level web records.

NARA asked agencies about how they are managing website records in the 2017 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). In response, 55% of agencies said they are managing their websites as records and 45% said they were automatically capturing web records. 28% said they were transferring to NARA.

NARA is in the process of developing Use Cases for Website Records as part of FERMI. The use cases can be used by agencies to evaluate vendors’ ability to manage web records. Kyle also pointed to Documenting Your Public Service as a resource.


NARA’s Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative: An Overview

Today’s post comes from NARA’s Office of the Chief Records Officer. 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) launched the Federal Electronic Modernization Initiative (FERMI) to help agencies procure the services and solutions they need to manage their electronic records. We are approaching this in a few different ways. While Federal agencies may have different missions, structures, and resources, they do have common needs for managing their electronic records. They all need to manage their records in compliance NARA’s statutes, regulations, and guidance. We want to make it easier to figure out which services and solutions meet the requirements.

FERMI image 5-22-18

FERMI emerged from the Automated Electronic Records Management Plan, written to support the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18). FERMI aims to to provide a government-wide, modern, cost-effective, standardized, and inter-operable set of records management solutions providing common, core functionality to support records management services for Federal agencies.

First, we are working with two groups at the General Services Administration (GSA): the Unified Shared Services Management (USSM) office under the Office of Shared Solutions and Performance Improvement (OSSPI) and the Schedule 36 team under the Federal Acquisitions Services (FAS).   

Unified Shared Services Management

NARA is the Standards Lead for Records Management and participates on the Business Standards Council. We provide records management input to the other Services Areas (Human Capital, Financial Management, Grants Management, IT, etc.). USSM produced the Federal Integrated Business Framework (FIBF)  to help the Federal Government better coordinate and document common business needs across agencies and focus on outcomes, data, processes and performance.

GSA’s Schedule 36

We worked with GSA to create a Special Item Number (SIN) for Electronic Records Management (ERM) in Schedule 36. The existing SIN 51 504 was updated to solely include services related to physical records management. SIN 51 600 – Electronic Records Management Solutions was created for services necessary to provide a total ERM solution.  Vendors must self-certify they meet the Universal ERM Requirements to be included in SIN 51 600.

Universal ERM Requirements

The Universal ERM Requirements identify high level business needs for managing electronic records. They are baseline ERM program requirements derived from existing NARA regulations, policy, and guidance. They are a starting point for agencies to use when developing system requirements. Records management staff should work with acquisitions and IT personnel to tailor any final system requirements.

In addition, we worked with our stakeholder groups to develop the following two products:

Electronic Records Management Federal Integrated Business Framework (ERM-FIBF)

The ERM-FIBF is a model framework that identifies the key functions, activities, and capabilities necessary for agencies to manage their electronic records. The ERM-FIBF was developed according to standards set out in USSM’s FIBF. This document maps capabilities to authoritative references, including statutes, regulations, guidance, and standards.

Use Cases for Electronic Messages

The Use Cases for Electronic Messages serve as a tool agencies can use when procuring services or solutions to manage electronic messages. They can be used by agencies to demonstrate how vendors perform the described requirements and workflows. These are built directly off the ERM- FIBF. They tell the “stories” of how to manage electronic messages.

We posted the ERM-FIBF and Use of Cases for Electronic Messages for comment in January and received over 200 comments.

We are excited to share these updates about our FERMI project. If you are planning to attend the Joint Annual Meeting in August, you can hear more about FERMI by attending Session #405. Also you can follow NARA’s Record Express blog for FERMI updates!

Upcoming Hangout: Institutional Placement Survey — Records Management and Archival Services

Mark your calendars for the next Records Management Section Google Hangout!

On Monday, December 4 at noon Eastern, the Records Management Section will be hosting a hangout with Jackie Esposito from Penn State University. She will be talking about the report on her Institutional Placement Survey — Records Management and Archival Services.

Institutional archives and records management programs provide such a wide variety of services that institutions often “struggle to fit” them within administrative offices.

From July to December 2016, Jackie conducted a study on where records management and archival services are located within universities. She developed an online survey and visited all fifteen Big Ten Academic Alliance universities for on-site interviews with a variety of stakeholders. They discussed the needs, issues, successes, and failures for different models of placement.

Review the report and be sure to tune in live to ask questions or watch later at your convenience. You can view the Hangout here.

We will be accepting questions for our speaker from you. If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment here or use the #saarms hashtag on Twitter.  We will also monitor the comments on the YouTube live streaming page.


Managing Federal and Presidential Records

Mark your calendars for the next Records Management Section Google Hangout!

On Thursday, July 6 at noon Eastern, the Records Management Section will be hosting a hangout on the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act. We will be joined by Gary Stern, (General Counsel), Hannah Bergman (Assistant General Counsel), John Laster (Director, Presidential Materials Division), and Laurence Brewer (Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government) all from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

You may have additional questions after reading NARA’s Role in Preserving Presidential and Federal Records by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, in the latest Archival Outlook. Here is your chance to ask!

Be sure to tune in live to ask questions or watch later at your convenience. You can view the Hangout here.

We will be accepting questions for our speakers from you.  If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment here or use the #saarmrt hashtag on Twitter.  We will also monitor the comments on the YouTube live streaming page.

Records Management Bibliography

During our annual meeting at Archives*Records 2016, the Records Management Roundtable Steering Committee debuted the new Records Management Bibliography. The reenvisioned bibliography is now in Zotero and is available for all to use and collaborate. Zotero is a free, open-source research tool that helps users collect, organize, and analyze resources and share them in a variety of ways. Zotero provides the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references. Zotero also provide the ability to organize, tag, and search resources.

The Records Management Bibliography in Zotero builds upon the bibliography the RMRT published in 2012. By sharing the bibliography in Zotero, anyone can join the group to contribute to the resource list. It is no longer a static document.


It is really easy to add resources to Zotero as you are searching the web. After you install the browser extension, Zotero can sense when you are viewing a book, article, or website and then save the reference information for that item. The Zotero Mini-Guide is an excellent resource for an introduction to Zotero and the basics of adding resources.

To contribute to the bibliography, you must first create a Zotero account. Then you can request access to join the SAA RMRT Group.

The bibliography is in a Group Library in Zotero and currently has 24 categories and over 300 resources. We hope to add, with your help, even more resources. The RMRT Steering Committee will create a process to regularly review resources to ensure they are up-to-date and will add new resources as they become available.

Please contact Beth Cron ( if you are interested in adding resources! We are looking for volunteers to review publications, such as American Archivist and Information Management magazine, to find resources to add to the bibliography.

Updated on 11/20/17: Fixed link.

Liaison Management Lessons

Today’s post comes from RMRT member Holly Dolan, MLS. She is Assistant Manager of Electronic Records at Denton County Records Management in Denton, TX.

As a rookie in field of records management I’ve quickly learned that the work we do is as much about people and their behavior as it is about records. Spanning 58 local government departments, the Records Liaison Officer program in Denton County is meant to provide clear channels for communication, training, and collaboration. Yet, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Right now, our goal is to reach a point where our liaisons understand and feel comfortable with their roles. However, I believe that eventually we’ll achieve even more than that—a network of knowledgeable and enthusiastic records liaisons. In the meantime, I’m approaching my job with creativity and a healthy sense of humor.

If you’re also working with liaisons, here’s some advice from the work I’ve done so far:

Make your expectations for liaisons clear. People may get confused if they are appointed to a position or get an ambiguous line on their performance agreement without any clear-cut information about what is expected of them. I’ve worked through this by creatively summarizing information. As a local government, we have an official resolution that spells out records liaison expectations–this might be something like a policy/procedure document or an operational plan if you work in academia or the private sector. I took this lengthy resolution and made it in to a colorful, easy-to-read infographic that spells out these expectations but only takes a couple of minutes to read. The infographic cites the official resolution so that liaisons know where to find the complete document.

Liaison Infographic

Be a face, not just an e-mail. I’m making a point to go out and meet each one of our liaison officers individually. Is it difficult to get meetings with 58 people? Yes. Is it worth it to form trusting work-relationships with people? Yes. After an in-person meeting, my liaisons seem to understand that my goal is to make everyone’s jobs easier, so they’re more open to asking questions. I also receive invaluable information about the workflows of these departments that help me when designing training.

Think about scale and relevance when designing training. Remember that training materials for a department of 3 people may be very different than training materials for a department of 50. Try to learn as much as you can about the functions and needs of your liaisons’ offices before sending them training materials. Some liaisons can learn all the information they need from a handout. Others will probably need webinars, in-person trainings, or even several weeks of hands-on consultation to achieve records management goals. Try to cater to the needs of the department.

Don’t take anything personally. Even though you’re not trying to “shake things up,” implementing records liaisons is a change and people may resist you. You’ll be met with a few strained-but-polite smiles, ignored e-mails, or brusque responses. Keep smiling. Keep giving people information and responding with compassion.

RMRT at SAA in Atlanta

ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2016 is quickly approaching! The CoSA/SAA Joint Annual Meeting in Atlanta will be the first week of August. Now is the time that many of you are planning your time in Atlanta. Please add the Records Management Roundtable and Local Government Records Roundtable meeting to your schedules. The RMRT will be holding a joint meeting with the Local Government Records Roundtable in Salon D.

The RMRT and the LGRRT will meet Friday, August 5, 7:30 am – 9:00 am. Here is our agenda:

  • Meg Phillips will introduce Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officer for the US Government
  • Michael Strom, State Archivist for Wyoming, who will provide an update on Council of State Archivists’ State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI) and the PERTTS (Program for Electronic Records, Training, Tools and Standards) Portal as it relates to records management
  • Jackie Esposito, Penn State University, will provide an update on her survey concerning the organizational placement and functions of college and university records management programs
  • RMRT business update
  • LGRRT business update
  • Michelle Bradley presentation on life of the Records Manager
Additionally, the RMRT created an online schedule on Check out the list to see events related to records management and easily add them to your schedule.

Thank you and hope everyone has a great meeting in Atlanta!

Watch Wednesday Hangout on ePADD for Email Archives

Please join the Society of American Archivists’ Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) for the next installment of RMRT’s Virtual Hangout series, airing Wednesday, May 4 at 10:00AM PDT (1:00PM EDT).

Join the project team from ePADD as they talk about their open source and freely downloadable software that harnesses machine learning, including natural language processing and named entity recognition, to support the appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives.

As always, we’ll be accepting questions for our speakers from you. If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment on this post or use the #saarmrt hashtag on Twitter. 

Watch the ePADD for Email Archives broadcast live here. We’ll also update the blog with links to the archived YouTube video.

Save the dates for two upcoming RMRT events!

The Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) is pleased to share with you two upcoming events.

Save the date for the next installment of RMRT’s Virtual Hangout series, airing Wednesday, May 4 at 10:00AM PDT (1:00PM EDT).

Join the project team from ePADD as they talk about their open source and freely downloadable software that harnesses machine learning, including natural language processing and named entity recognition, to support the appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives.

Watch the ePADD for Email Archives broadcast live here. We’ll also update the blog with links to the archived YouTube video.

The RMRT Steering Committee is also hosting a webinar with the Sacramento State and San Jose State University SAA student chapters. Eira Tansey, Digital Archivist/Records Manager at the University of Cincinnati, will be talking about support and careers in records management. Eira is also the Student Committee coordinator for the RMRT Steering Committee.

Join the live discussion Sunday, May 1 at 4:00 PM PDT (7:00 PM EDT):

Listen to the recording:

RMWebinarGraphic (1)

Hope you will be able to tune in!

Watch the Hangout on Email and Predictive Coding

On Thursday, March 3, the Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) held a Virtual Hangout on processing Capstone email using predictive coding.

Joanne Kaczmarek and Brent West of the Records and Information Management Services at the University of Illinois provided an update on their work on processing and making email available. At University of Illinois, they are using predictive coding used by the legal community to identify and prioritize sensitive content for review and redaction while generating descriptive metadata of themes and trends.

Here are a few of the resources and tools mentioned during the Hangout:

Thank you to all those who attended live and asked questions! If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you can view the YouTube video here.

View past Hangouts here.