Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation March 2–3, 2020
- Richard Immerman, Chairman
- Mary Dudziak
- David Engerman
- William Inboden
- Adriane Lentz-Smith
- Susan Perdue
- Trudy Peterson
Office of the Historian
- Kristin Ahlberg
- Carl Ashley
- Margaret Ball
- Forrest Barnum
- Sarah Berndt
- Josh Botts
- Myra Burton
- Tiffany Cabrera
- Mandy Chalou
- Elizabeth Charles
- Thomas Faith
- David Geyer
- Renée Goings
- Charles Hawley
- Kerry Hite
- Adam Howard
- Aiyaz Husain
- William McAllister
- Michael McCoyer
- Christopher Morrison
- Mircea Munteanu
- David Nickles
- Paul Pitman
- Alexander Poster
- Kathleen Rasmussen
- Zury Reeves
- Matthew Regan
- Amanda Ross
- Seth Rotramel
- Daniel Rubin
- Nathaniel Smith
- Melissa Jane Taylor
- Chris Tudda
- Dean Weatherhead
- Joseph Wicentowski
- Alexander Wieland
- James Wilson
- Louise Woodroofe
Bureau of Administration
- Tim Kootz
- Marvin Russell
- Eric Stein
National Archives and Records Administration
- Cathleen Brennan
- William Fischer, Director, National Declassification Center
- David Langbart, Archives II Reference, Research Rooms and Augmented Processing Branch
- John Laster, Office of Presidential Libraries
- Bevin Maloney
- Don McIlwain, National Declassification Center
- Cary McStay, National Declassification Center
- Amy Reytar
Department of Defense
- George "Frosty" R. Sturgis
- Paul Jacobsmeyer
- Bill Burr
- Seth Denbo
Open Session, March 2
Approval of the Record
Historical Advisory Committee (HAC) Chairman Richard Immerman called the meeting to order. After brief introductory remarks, Immerman moved for approval of the minutes from the December HAC meeting, with amendments proposed by Dudziak. The approval was seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Immerman opened the session by offering two comments. First, he observed that regular attendees of the HAC meetings have likely noted the absence of Laura Belmonte. In August 2019 Belmonte began her tenure as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech University. Belmonte had subsequently found that these new duties along with regular academic work precluded continuing participation on the HAC. Immerman wanted to share for the record the committee’s gratitude to Belmonte for her nearly ten years of service and to extend good wishes for her future endeavors. Second, Immerman noted David Engerman’s generosity for joining the HAC on short notice. He explained that Engerman had opted against proceeding with the renewal of his appointment. As a general matter, Immerman added, the security clearance process can be challenging for people who are not full time government employees. Immerman closed by extending the committee’s gratitude to Engerman for his contributions to the HAC. He then invited Ambassador Daniel B. Smith, Director of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to share comments.
Remarks by the Director of the Foreign Service Institute
Smith began by thanking the audience for attending the meeting. He then also extended the gratitude of FSI to Belmonte and Engerman for their service on the HAC. Smith explained that the HAC provides an essential service and that Belmonte and Engerman had made important contributions. Noting the current vacancies on the committee, Smith described the need to fill them as critical and a challenge going forward. He next lauded the online publication of the Office of the Historian (OH) project: “War, Neutrality, and Humanitarian Relief: The Expansion of U.S. Diplomatic Activity during the Great War, 1914–1917.” This history, he explained, presents the exploits of Department of State personnel in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia who responded to unprecedented challenges and provided humanitarian relief in the period leading up the United States’ entry into the war. Smith noted that on October 29, 2019, the OH historians who contributed to the project convened a panel as part of the “Heroes of Diplomacy” series. He remarked that this panel was exceptionally well-received and he thanked the members of the OH for their participation and cited foreign government interest and participation. Smith also described a February 27, 2020, “Heroes of Diplomacy” event, which was held at the National Museum of American Diplomacy and highlighted the groundbreaking contributions of Dr. Ralph Bunche to the Department of State, U.S. diplomacy, and the Civil Rights movement. The event included academic experts as well as Ralph Bunche III. Smith transitioned to discussing the publication rate of the Foreign Relations (FRUS) series, noting that after a year of only publishing two volumes, the office is planning on publishing 5 volumes next year, along with the digital version of a microfiche supplement to the John F. Kennedy FRUS sub-series.
Report by the Executive Secretary
Immerman then turned the session over to OH Director Adam Howard for his update. Howard re-affirmed the gratitude and praise for Belmonte and Engerman, noting that Belmonte was especially helpful and supportive of the office’s public diplomacy initiatives. In praising Engerman for his contributions, Howard recognized the challenges of serving on the committee while retaining an academic position. He stressed the importance of the support of the FSI leadership from Ambassadors Smith and Julieta Valls Noyce in breaking declassification logjams. Howard next surveyed the state of publication of FRUS. He opted to focus on issues that were under the control of the office (rather than the ongoing declassification blockages). He described an initiative to work with FSI Information Technology experts to find ways to streamline and simplify the production and processing of FRUS volumes. Howard also noted ongoing outreach efforts to direct interested readers to the office’s website and digital resources.
Report by the General Editor
Once Howard was finished with his updates, Immerman invited FRUS General Editor Kathleen Rasmussen to offer her comments. Rasmussen noted that 3 volumes had been submitted to declassification since the last HAC meeting in December. In 2020 OH plans to publish 5 volumes covering the 1970s and 1980s and 1 microfiche supplement covering the early 1960s.
Immerman finished this portion of the open session by stating that the HAC was in the process of preparing the annual report and that he found it depressing to note that only 2 volumes were published last year. He noted that it had once been the norm for 7 or 8 volumes to be published each year, and that those numbers were still not quite sufficient to meet the 30 year line publication goal. The return to publishing 5 volumes in 2020 is an improvement but still below the average of the previous several years. The major challenge of declassification blockages, he emphasized, needs to be addressed.
There were no questions and Immerman adjoined the meeting for a lunch break.
Closed Session, March 2
Status of Declassification of Department of State Records
Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS)
Richard Immerman opened the session and welcomed Eric Stein.
Stein opened his remarks by noting that he looked forward to the HAC’s March 3 session, at which IPS would respond to the HAC’s questions on records management in the Department of State.
Stein reported that IPS and the National Declassification Center (NDC) were developing a plan to digitize, transfer, and review State’s 1980 and 1981 N- and P-reels; that plan should be finalized before the HAC’s next meeting. Stein further noted that once the 1980 and 1981 N- and P-reels were reviewed, the Department would be able to transfer the entire Central Foreign Policy File for those years to NARA.
Stein stated that the Department is preparing its plan for the transition to eRecords; that plan should be finished by September 2020. In addition, IPS has hired several new employees to work on declassification and it continues to recruit retired FSOs as reviewers.
Immerman noted that IPS had continued to reduce its backlog of MDRs and asked what accounted for that success. Stein responded that the progress was a result of several factors, including a review of the Department’s MDR process, setting metrics, and partnership with other agencies. The overall goal is to eliminate the MDR backlog.
Peterson asked whether the N- and P-reels would be scanned at the Department or at the NDC; Stein replied that the location had not been decided yet but that he would be able to provide details at the HAC’s next meeting.
Office of Presidential Libraries
John Laster was asked about the status of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush emails. He explained the history of the records. Those using PROFs during these two administrations assumed that emails would just be transitory records, and the users would print a copy of anything that rose to the level of a Presidential Record. A court order prevented the NSC from deleting them, however. The records were then stored on back up tapes and was eventually restored from those tapes. However, the restored data, while readable, was rendered in a non-user friendly manner. Many years later, as part of a CIA-funded project aimed at testing new declassification review tools, the information in these records was restructured in order to make it searchable and to be viewed as an email.
The current status is that there has been some review and declassification of the Reagan emails containing CIA equities, but this process is made more challenging by the personal nature of large numbers of the emails. There has been no action on the Bush emails. Laster does not see that changing as the emails are only a small percentage of the overall volume of Bush classified files, they are more problematic to review than the textual files, and there is no budget for developing a system to allow for their electronic review. As such, they are lower priority.
Dudziak asked about the nature of the settlement and NARA’s obligations.
Langbart and Peterson weighed in to explain that the history of the preservation of email was controversial and had been the subject of litigation. The argument had been made that the content covered by the printouts was sufficient for preservation purposes, but the courts had ruled that the metadata was also a valuable part of the records as was the electronic nature of the materials. For example, a “read receipt” response could be important.
Dudziak asked how much this was driven by budgetary considerations and Laster said, entirely. Immerman clarified that nothing would change without a surprise budget increase, and Laster felt that was the likely scenario.
Howard asked about the movement of the classified records from the libraries to DC. Laster said that George H.W. Bush was still scheduled for April. Clinton and Reagan are scheduled for August. The timing is not up to NARA, but driven by military schedules, because of transport.
National Declassification Center (NDC)
William Fischer began his presentation at 1:45 p.m. Before proceeding to the business at hand, he announced an event at Archives I scheduled for March 12, which would cover the past 10 years of declassification and the future of declassification. Included in the event was a panel and public forum. Participants could dial in. Fischer added that OGIS will have a panel in the afternoon about FOIA.
Fischer then reported on the efforts to digitize the P and N reels. He noted that he had a productive meeting with Eric Stein on the topic. Fischer then called on Cary McStay, Division Chief for Electronic Records at the NDC, who reported on the reviewing of the P reels. Her team successfully loaded 122,000 into a review module. Fischer then noted that the NDC’s infrastructure was challenged by several issues, and that the system is old and limited. Thereupon Immerman asked what happens to the original reels after they are digitized and whether they were thrown away. Fischer said that the NDC would have to ask the Research Services staff. Langbart indicated from the audience that he could address this question when he was up to speak.
Howard moved on to the subject of the moving material to DC from the presidential libraries. Fischer explained that the Kennedy library might begin as early as April. Howard asked about the George H.W. Bush library, noting that that is FRUS’s priority, adding that he would like to know how soon FRUS compilers could get access. Fischer said he didn’t know how soon that would be possible, adding maybe a month or so after the transportation to DC. He noted that the NDC will work with FRUS as much as it can, but the move won’t be seamless.
Rasmussen asked about the process declassification of the George H.W. Bush documents. Fischer said that there will be two processes at work. The first will be the FOIA-MDR process headed by Don McIlwain at the document level, the second will be a systematic review on how this task can be done in bulk. Fischer noted that after the NDC completes its review, then other agencies need to do their work. Once that is completed then the documents are ready for the open stacks. Rasmussen followed up with a question about the RAC and whether it would be available to the FRUS compilers. Fischer said that there are no plans for RAC access.
Don McIlwain began his presentation with comments on the review process, specifically on Department reviewing referrals. He then reviewed the work of his office in general, noting that he will establish points of contact for the presidential libraries. Once the material is here, his backlog will increase by a factor of 12. Lastly, McIlwain noted that, regarding the plan for the Department providing funding for a NARA employee to facilitate access for FRUS, “everyone wants this.”
Fischer and McIlwain’s presentation ended at 2:45 p.m.
David Langbart wished the HAC good afternoon and proceeded to provide a summary of Research Services' activities at NARA. He stated that there was a reorganization of Research Services that went into effect on February 16. He explained the major organizational changes that would be of interest to the Committee. He said that so far in FY2020, records had been accessioned into the following record groups 59, 84, 268, 373, and 490 and referred to the written report for the numbers. He also noted that there had been some processing of foreign affairs and intelligence records and again referred to the written report for the numbers. He reported that the research rooms have been busy and the Archives II reference staff have answered numerous reference inquiries. He also noted that work on finding aids for USIA records mentioned art the previous meeting was proceeding. He remarked that work on digitizing NARA microfilm publications continued and highlighted the digitization of the "Miscellaneous Letters, 1789–1906." He concluded his remarks by noting that work on the reintegration of telegrams to the Central Foreign Policy File continues.
Immerman inquired about the status of the P-reels. Langbart responded that the 80–81 P-reels had been digitized without quality control, and that beginning with the 82 P-reels there would be quality control when digitizing. He further explained that NARA had made the determination that after digitization the microfilm would be destroyed. Immerman asked if the destruction of the P-reel film was negotiable. Tim Enas stated that there was a mandate to accession all media format not digital, but a scheduling process for accession and destruction had not yet been set. Immerman remarked that he did not feel comfortable with the film being destroyed. Enas replied that the process had not yet begun and he would keep Immerman’s remarks in mind.
Dudziak asked what information would be lost and when destruction would occur. Langbart explained that theoretically no data would be lost, but that was based on quality control. He said that the National Archives was open to input, but the bottom line was that a new disposition schedule would eventually be submitted for approval and then the issue of whether records would be designated as temporary and destroyed would be open to public comment.
Immerman said since the 80–81 P-reels were not subjected to quality control during the digitization process, he assumed the film would be kept. Langbart confirmed that that was the plan.. Immerman asked about the 82 P-reels that were being subjected to quality control. Langbart indicated that was the plan.
Langbart stated that the disposition schedule, which was not yet drafted, dictated when digitization and destruction could occur. He stated that the plan was that after the microfilm was scanned with quality control, the microfilm would be destroyed. Immerman was curious if there was any incentive for destroying the original film, since the film itself did not take up much space.
Lentz-Smith said that past deterioration of microfilm was a cautionary tale about destroying records that had been transferred to other formats. Langbart said that properly processed and stored film can last forever and that he thought the “cloud” was less secure than microfilm, but the destruction of microfilm had to do with OMB’s directive regarding the reduction of paper by 2022.
Dudziak remarked that this was a fast moving process and there was a need for users to comment. Peterson expressed concern that OMB’s directive would result in agencies producing fewer records. Dudziak again stated it seemed NARA was moving quickly to get rid of microfilm.
David Geyer said that the original P-reels lost data because of poor quality control and that more data would be lost in the transfer to digital records. Immerman stated that every time a copy is copied, information is lost.
Immerman asked if the “one pull” decision at NARA was final. Langbart said no final decision had been made and reminded the Committee that the policy was modified to one cart and one shelf pull at a time and that pulling was continuous.
Remarks ended several minutes after 2:50 p.m. and the HAC took a short recess.
Department of Defense
Immerman reconvened the meeting.
Sturgis began by thanking the Committee for inviting him back. He noted that since the last meeting in December that his office and members of OH had had some productive meetings. But there was nothing to celebrate about. He noted that members from the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USDP) will be meeting with OH staff for the first time ever on March 18. He believes both sides can express its concerns about DOD not meeting its statutory requirements. He will facilitate the discussion between OH and USDP.
Immerman asked if a new Under Secretary (DP) had been named. Sturgis said the incumbent remains and once he leaves then hopefully a new one will be announced quickly. He then asked the Committee if it had any questions for him.
Howard asked Sturgis to introduce his new assistant, Paul Jacobsmeyer. Sturgis explained that Jacobsmeyer will be devoted to FRUS matters and speaking to offices with which the Directorate for FOIA and Security Review interacts.
Immerman noted that the HAC Annual Report will be issued soon, and noted that there will be criticism of DOD again. Whether the Report is issued before the March 18 meeting or not, he said they will again be recommending the creation of an office at DOD dedicated to FRUS similar to the one at the CIA. He noted that Sturgis had previously indicated that senior DOD personnel must understand the importance of FRUS and its statutory responsibilities. Immerman inquired whether senior DOD officials will be at the March 18 meeting.
Sturgis replied that the people scheduled to attend are Senior Executive Service-level people who are empowered to make decisions.
Inboden asked Sturgis what would strengthen his position within the Pentagon? Sturgis replied that he doesn’t have the answer that will fix the bottleneck. If the March 18 meeting doesn’t go in the right direction then he is prepared to go back to the drawing board.
Inboden noted that Capitol Hill is interested in this issue and they will continue to follow up on DOD’s failure to perform timely FRUS reviews. Sturgis needs to relay to his higher-ups that there’s expressed interest in this from the top.
Immerman again noted that other agencies have dedicated declassification shops for FRUS, and some of them have declassification authority. CIA and IPS have these and he noted how CIA’s reviews have improved since the establishment of this dedicated team. Sturgis agreed and said that he hopes brainstorming with such proposals will help.
Dudziak repeated Inboden’s comments about Congressional interest and pressure from the top and wondered whether Sturgis thought how the two were related. Will bipartisan Congressional interest help DOD comply with the FRUS Law?
Sturgis referenced the memo from Congress to Secretary Pompeo that Howard had shown him and said that Secretary of Defense Esper needs to be invited as well. He cannot act without the Secretary being on board. Howard said OH’s expectation is that Secretary of Defense Esper will be invited.
Jacobsmeyer said that he has suggested that OH can help the action officers who are burdened with first line duties for the Secretary, and who are also tasked with doing FOIA and Congressional requests. Just asking those type of questions about OH can help these line officers will get their attention. He believes that a potential signal of their seriousness is that they requested that OH members coming to the meeting pass their clearances to DOD. Sturgis said that passing clearances indicates they will engage in serious, substantive discussions and their attention is now on the issue of FRUS.
Lentz-Smith suggested that Sturgis note that he’s overwhelmed with doing too much and this could give him ammunition to create a team dedicated to FRUS. Immerman and Inboden seconded her and noted their experiences at CIA and State. Inboden added that he didn’t know whether Sturgis or Howard should make Lentz-Smith’s case. DOD isn’t the only agency with competing priorities and they must figure out a way to fix a problem that isn’t going away, especially with limited resources since it’s a statutory responsibility.
Sturgis again noted that he hoped to facilitate the March 18 meeting and would repeat these comments at the meeting, and reiterated that this meeting is a big, unprecedented step. Goings agreed and said this is a huge step for OH.
Sturgis said no one knows what the outcome of the meeting will be. He doesn’t expect a resolution from it. But he hopes the USDP higher-ups will be receptive to OH’s and his office’s proposals. Jacobsmeyer said USDP’s willingness to meet with OH is impressive.
Goings said that since people at the top will change or move in and out of position, this is the exact time to enact some last changes and improvements in the declassification process and the relationship between OH and USDP.
Howard asked whether Sturgis believes that USDP sees OH as redundant given all the other historical offices within DOD. Sturgis replied that he doesn’t really see that. He just believes that USDP believes that it has other priorities.
Immerman thanked Sturgis and Jacobsmeyer for coming and said the HAC’s goal is to take a different position in the Annual Report for upcoming years. The meeting then adjourned for the day.
Closed Session, March 3
Briefing on IPS Modernization Plan
Immerman called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m., welcomed Eric Stein and Tim Kootz of IPS, and thanked them for giving the HAC a presentation on the IPS modernization plan.
Stein opened with an overview of the environment which shaped the IPS modernization plan and focused on the big picture. Over the past 20-30 years, the information management universe has transformed. The question for records managers is how to balance the various constituencies and respond to their needs: how to keep up with demand for information and records and how to store large volumes of electronic records; how to keep up Department officials’ compliance with mandatory and statutory requirements; and how many resources to pour into the 25 year auto-declassification review and temporary storage. Compliance with legal mandates is a priority, but so is training federal officials about their individual records accountability. IPS, Stein added, is focused on training officials to know what their document retention and retirement responsibilities are. To date, IPS has trained an estimated 60,000 Department employees. With this training comes more buy in and hopefully more accountability of officials and employees.
He continued that differences remain on how to treat born digital documents versus paper that has been digitized. OMB requires that the new records management plan to create and manage all records electronically be implemented by 2023 across all agencies. Over the next two years (2020-2022), IPS intends to foster discussion of the scope of documentation to be retained permanently and look at necessary carveouts. Stein emphasized the important responsibility IPS had in making records available to the public and fulfilling its obligations to those charged with overseeing this process. At the same time, he acknowledged the problem of dealing with the mixture of documentation that is classified (marked and unmarked) and unclassified, while ensuring that records are properly retained. He also discussed the challenging nature of interagency document and information sharing, which presents special records challenges. He asked the HAC for their input to aid this process.
From here, Kootz discussed the IPS modernization in depth. Immerman expressed hope that he would be able to clear up misconceptions about DOS document retention and destruction practices. Kootz began by distributing illustrative handouts to HAC members and talking about the evolution of records management for documents that were born analog and became digital versus documents born digital. He outlined the format for his presentation, proposing to walk the HAC through the records management process and the decision-making that underpinned the modernization planning, followed by a question- and-answer session with the HAC membership.
Kootz stated that the modernization project was driven by six goals. First, IPS launched a comprehensive review of all records disposition schedules. That process had not been done for many years; some existing schedules had been created for offices and other DOS entities which no longer existed. IPS realized that a holistic approach needed to be taken and began to inventory what documents were being produced and where.
Second, IPS is focusing on how to manage the transition from a majority paper process to a majority born-digital process, in keeping with Federal mandates.
Third, IPS is working to consolidate and standardize the disposition schedules. In doing so, they found there were many inconsistencies across DOS entities, with few standards existing from office to office.
Fourth, IPS sought to increase the flexibility of records schedules and retain as much flexibility to follow changes in the organization’s structure. Under prior practice, every organizational consolidation or movement required schedules to be rewritten. When changes occur, consolidated records schedules allow for flexibility, such flexibility, Kootz argued, would bring additional resiliency to the longevity of disposition schedules.
Fifth, IPS is trying to ensure the accurate capture of born-digital records. To do this, it is trying to cast as wide a net as feasible to ensure the new records disposition schedules and underlying inventory capture as much of the relevant documents as possible. Moreover, IPS would then take on responsibility of proposing to NARA what is and what is not a permanent record.
Sixth, IPS in consultation with NARA determined that analog records will retain their existing analog records schedules. NARA and IPS, it agreed that it was too resource intensive to reorganize and reclassify those schedules.
From here, Kootz’s presentation turned to an overview of the internal process for records scheduling. He discussed the four phases of the process. 1) IPS gathered information on the existing processes and documents in an office. This required pulling existing schedules, as well as NARA records appraisal reports, and reaching out to DOS bureau records coordinators. 2) IPS creates an inventory and documents the process. Kootz stated that IPS visited with offices to see how they currently organize their records and sought to understand the offices’ individual functions and internal practices. From these exchanges, IPS sought to identify what was similar across entire bureaus, as well as their needs and obligations. 3) IPS then produces the draft disposition schedule and sends them out for NARA appraisal. As part of this, IPS has sought to get out front of developing issues with informed reviews. In doing so, they learned from NARA ways to improve the schedules. This part of the process also had the advantage of increasing coordination with NARA and ensure a ‘lock-step’ approach. IPS has submitted draft schedules to NARA for 40 of the 47 DOS bureaus/offices it identified. The 7 remaining are administrative bureaus. 4) IPS then makes formal submission of schedules and ‘crosswalks’. A review by NARA-stakeholder entities then occurs. Schedules are then entered into the Federal Register for public comment; changes are made based upon these. Anything scheduled for destruction is posted in the Federal Register for 90 days of public comments. The Archivist of the United States is the final decision maker on records schedules.
Stein re-emphasized the need to develop a holistic approach, in order to account for the variety of records as well as technical platform changes. Kootz added that the IPS approach sought to be ‘platform agnostic’ and to take as broad an approach to the records as possible moving forward. He further explained the capture, specifically for Senior Ranking Departmental officials, is “platform agnostic;” meaning this allows for the capture of official records and communications on whatever application or platform the official used. In order to account for the rapid changing of technologies and popularity of various systems—nothing is excluded.
Kootz explained that the engagement effort with domestic DOS offices revealed a high willingness among officers to be engaged and to ensure that they are compliant with regulations. Stein noted that this engagement was higher than he had seen before. Kootz observed that one of the selling points for offices to cooperate with IPS on the implementation of this revised records management process is that it relieved offices from records control decisions about permanency and assigned these to the Bureau of Administration. To illustrate the scale of document flow, Kootz stated that a two-year period produced 1.4. billion Department emails, 40 million of which were from capstone officials. IPS aim is to make this large amount of material searchable, accessible, and retrievable.
Kootz went on to discuss approaches to records disposition schedules. The first is role-based. IPS’s approach has been Bureau-wide and planned the process with an eye at being compliant with federal regulations. Since each bureau has a specific mission, IPS looked at how to update disposition schedules in such a way as to reflect their mission. IPS also wanted to retain flexibility in case a bureau/office is merged into another bureau/office or if new bureaus/offices appear. IPS looked at the historical evolution of bureaus/offices to see how to develop Records Management Schedules that capture most of the needed information, knowing that the records fell into three distinct categories: those to be retained permanently, those determined as temporary, and those that were government-wide. They found that hundreds of items in old schedules had not been updated and needed to be made to conform to with the rest of the U.S. Government.
Peterson asked how they were dealing with other items, specifically paper items. Kootz stated that IPS was working with NARA and that schedules would be media-neutral for the years moving forward from 2012. Peterson said that this made sense. Kootz added that they wished to avoid the burden of having to account for any unique circumstances.
Returning to process, Immerman asked about the decision to bifurcate born-digital records, separating email and all other records. He asked how digital-turned-physical records, including ones that had written notes on them, were treated in this bifurcated system. Kootz began by replying that there was a move to eliminate the line drawn between email and other born digital records as a way of eliminating stove- piping. Attempting to answer part of Immerman’s question, Peterson confirmed that digital-turned- physical records would be retired like all other paper records. Kootz noted that S/ES is digitizing papers interacted with by senior officials or their senior advisors. Furthermore, he stressed, paper is not going away. Stein and Kootz briefly commented on the need to balance the needs of all stakeholders as well as budgeting constraints.
Conversation then turned to metadata. Noting the potential richness of metadata, Engerman and Dudziak stated that it made human expertise and contextualization all the more important if it is to be useable. Folder information, for example, can tell users a lot about documents within. Anticipating future researcher needs many years from now, Lentz-Smith wondered how IPS viewed the provision of context for the records. Stein replied by stating that this has not yet been worked out. IPS does not want to lose records and he underlined that it is committed to understanding the needs of future historians. Kootz added that metadata guidelines are established by NARA; IPS takes its cues from them. Immerman observed that that AHA has established a committee to discuss NARA metadata and that the HAC should get that committee involved in this discussion. Immerman said he hoped that NARA will bring textual reference into the process. Kootz and Stein emphasized the importance of historians to reach out to NARA on this topic.
Immerman thanked Stein and Kootz for their presentation and ended the session at 11:16 a.m.