The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have issued a joint memo reiterating that Federal agencies have until June 2024 to manage and store all records digitally.

“It is critical that Federal agencies move beyond paper-based processes and embrace the opportunities afforded to improve [the] government by transitioning fully to an electronic environment,” the memo states.

Previously, Federal agencies had until Dec. 31, 2022, to fully transition to electronic recordkeeping, but in Oct. 2022 NARA told MeriTalk that it was extending that deadline by 18 months after an assessment showed that more than one-third of the government wasn’t quite ready to make the switch.

NARA and OMB announced the original 2022 target deadline in a 2019 joint memo informing Federal agencies that it was time to go paperless. The memo directed Federal agencies to manage all permanent and temporary records in an electronic format with metadata.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has since impacted the government’s ability to digitize records and has slowed things down in reaching the December 2022 deadline. Federal agencies now have until no later than June 30, 2024, to fully transition to a paperless environment.

“Strong records management is necessary for transparency and accountability and underpins our democracy. Transitioning Federal agencies to an electronic environment is a priority to enable and increase the ability of the public to engage with government in new and more efficient and effective ways,” the memo states.

After June 30, 2024, “NARA will no longer accept transfers of permanent or temporary records in analog formats and will accept records only in an electronic format with appropriate metadata,” the joint memo states.

By June 30, 2024, NARA also plans to issue updated regulations and guidance to provide clear standards for fully electronic recordkeeping. NARA also plans to establish Electronic Records Management (ERM) standards and requirements for Federal agencies procuring ERM solutions and services no later than Dec. 31, 2023.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.