Modernizing the Proposed Records Schedule Commenting Process

The records management program at the National Archives has been working to build an open and collaborative electronic records management community with federal and industry stakeholders for many years. A key component of this effort has been increasing access to both approved records schedules via the Records Control Schedule portal and making it easier for the public to review and comment on pending records schedules. These records management efforts have consistently been a cornerstone of NARA’s Open Government Plans.

Since 2017, we have been planning, developing, and engaging with stakeholders inside and outside of the National Archives on a new approach for public comment and review. We have now changed the process by which the public can review and comment on proposed records schedules. Now, these schedules will be available on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, regulations.gov.

Proposed Records Schedules on regulations.gov

Prior to this change, individuals interested in making comments had to request copies of the proposed schedules based on a single sentence description in the Federal Register. This request, and all subsequent comments, had to be made by email or regular mail.

The new process, via regulations.gov, eliminates the need to request copies of proposed schedules. After posting on regulations.gov, the public will have immediate access to proposed schedules and supporting documentation for a review and comment period that has been extended from 30 to 45 days.

We are transitioning to regulations.gov as a way to improve our own internal business processes, and also to be responsive to clear, widespread interest from the public to use a web-based platform for a more modern, transparent, and efficient way to review and comment on records schedules. On May 30, staff from our Office of the Chief Records Officer will be holding a webinar to discuss these changes with the commenting public. Additional details about the webinar will be available on their blog, Records Express, in the coming days.

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