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Electronic Records

Scheduling Electronic Records

Public Citizen has petitioned the Archivist to amend government rules on electronic records to prevent the loss of historically valuable government records.

Archivist John W. Carlin responded to the petition in a letter which states that NARA will retain GRS 20 and will not take action to propose alternatives until sometime after FY 2000. The letter states that NARA will consider Public Citizen's other proposals, but may not issue an advanced notice of proposed rule making for the public to comment on those proposals for twelve months.

In response to Public Citizens petition, NARA issued a request for comment to be submitted by January 8, 2002.

These are Public Citizen's comments on the Archivist's decision to hire a contractor to study on how federal agencies use records and how the government's procedures for identifying records to be destroyed could be improved. The study was contracted in September 2000 and the contractors report (as described above) was released in December 2001.

In 1996, Public Citizen and other organizations brought a court challenge to General Records Schedule 20, which authorizes federal agencies to routinely destroy electronic mail and word processing records.

Electronic Records Work Group


In 1998, an inter-agency working group recommended changes to the government's practices for managing electronic records in Electronic Records Work Group Report to the Archivist (September 14, 1998). This document contains Public Citizen's comments on the draft recommendations.

Preservation of Electronic Mail


Court challenge to the government's plans to dispose of electronic mail and word processing records of Reagan, Bush and Clinton White House officials at the end of each administration.


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