Government-wide Framework

Proposal for a NARA Data Mgnt Governance and Stewardship Program

Background (Why)

During the FY 2013 Strategic Budgeting Event on July 18, 2011 the following agenda was executed to deliver specific brainstorming products utilizing:

• Visioning

• Needs and opportunities

• Strategies and Priorities

Based upon this Executive Level sponsored event, this proposal addresses the following strategies from the event deliverable:

• NARA leads the profession in developing a new records management and archival theory and practice for the electronic environment

• NARA manages permanent and temporary Federal government electronic records throughout the lifecycle without having to physically move them.

• New conceptual framework for electronic records for archival and records management, at scale

This proposal is also rooted in the underlining premise that the root cause analysis of the different deficiencies in a lifecycle view of Federal Agency Records Management components point towards a serious lack of program development which has been imbedded in the culture, business lines and processes of Agencies. NARA must abandon the traditional approaches to addressing bad records management processes from Federal Agencies that only treat the symptoms.

Finally, a simplistic worded challenge and opportunity exists for NARA:

• How do we make Agencies accountable for good data (records) that benefits others, most of whom they don’t even know about and

• NARA is strategically positioned to solve this challenge for Federal Agencies and lead the Records Management community in a new framework that transforms records management to support not only textural records but any electronic records regardless of media.




It is hereby recommended that NARA take a leadership position in Federal Records Management and the Records Management profession by facilitating and exhibiting the convergence of Records Management Components into a newly formed NARA Data Management Organization that meets the following criteria:

• The Data Management Organization primary role is Data Governance: Formalizing and Exercising authority over and the performance of information and data resources and management activities.

• Creation of a Data Stewardship Program: The formalization of accountability for the management of information and data resources.

• The Data Management Organization is sponsored by the COO. A limited term oversight steering committee consisting of all NARA Executives in each Business Lines is also created to provide initial direction in vision and strategy development.

• The Data Management Organization is equally represented cross-functionally within NARA.

• This recommendation is a follow-on activity and complements the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

• This is not a “project” but a new framework for managing Federal Records.

Principles of the New Data Management Organization

It is recommended that the new Data Management Organization should incorporate but not be limited to the following guiding principles:

• Principle 1: Information and data is valued as a NARA asset to accelerate sound decision-making, improve management, and increase accountability.

• Principle 2: Data and information must be managed and maintained as a stewardship responsibility to support the mission of NARA.

• Principle 3: Systems must be designed, acquired, developed, or enhanced such that data and processes can be effectively shared across NARA and with our partners.

• Principle 4: IT systems should be implemented in adherence with security, confidentiality and privacy policies to assure proper safeguards and limitations for information availability and access.

• Principle 5: An assessment of business continuation and recovery requirements is mandatory when acquiring, developing, enhancing or outsourcing systems. Based on that assessment, appropriate disaster recovery and business continuity planning, design, testing and maintenance will take place.

• Principle 6: Easy and timely access to data and information is the rule rather than the exception, without security and privacy being compromised.

• Principle 7: Business processes will be analyzed, simplified or otherwise redesigned in preparation for and during information systems enhancements, development, and implementation.

• Principle 8: Records Management components are incorporated in the Data Management Organization through the creation of policy roles necessary to support the business needs of NARA.

Data and Information Stewardship

The idea of data and information stewardship evolves from the above Principle 2: Data and Information, which states that data and information must be managed and maintained as a stewardship responsibility to support the mission of NARA.

The rationales behind this principle are:

• Data and information is an asset and a resource important to the accomplishment of NARA’s work. In its broadest sense, it is information including items like electronic and paper records, emails, film, etc. Data needs stewards who are responsible for its valuation, disposition, preservation, security, access and utilization across NARA and with the public.

• Data stewards will promote common business rules to ensure quality, which would facilitate information sharing and improve data integrity.

The implications of this principle are:

• Recognition that business area personnel need to be responsible for stewardship of the data and the commitment of the resources necessary to make stewardship happen.

• Stewardship includes responsibility for clarification of the data’s disposition, meaning, content, and reuse.

• Stewardship includes responsibility for managing data’s consistency, timeliness, accuracy and completeness.

• The scope of stewardship must be very sensitive to the sources and uses of the information, ensuring security, confidentiality and privacy are protected.

• Need to develop a data stewardship program that will transcend many organizational boundaries and include various levels of stewardship.

• Recognition of the need to manage metadata and data definitions.


Proposing a Data Governance Organization by the mere inclusion of the term “governance” requires the administration of something. In this case, Data Governance refers to the administration (formalizing) of discipline (behavior) around the management of data. Rather than making the discipline appear threatening and difficult, it is suggested to implement this proposal by formalizing what already exists and addressing opportunities to improve.

The formation planning and implementation of this proposal will likely result in the following:

• Prioritizing the need for formal policy, standards, or data-related requirements

• Writing policy, standards, or data-related requirements

• Collecting policy, standards, or requirements from across the organization into a set that stakeholders, Data Stewards, and other Data Governance participants can access

• Reconciling gaps, overlaps, and inconsistencies in policy, standards, or requirements

• Writing business rules to address the applicability of policy, standards, or requirements

• Setting accountabilities for the design, implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of policy, standards, or requirements

• Working with technology/application teams, and others to consistently post policy, standards, or requirements

• Reporting status for policy enforcement initiatives

• Identifying stakeholders, establishing decision rights, clarify accountabilities


Data governance and stewardship programs mean change not only to establishing and implementing new processes at NARA but becoming the beacon and leader for Federal Agencies and the general records management profession by creating and implementing a new framework. Successful governance means a change to the information management culture, processes and policies. Changing that culture means that you are asking people to think and behave differently about how data (records) is accessed and used. We need a new organized and systematic way to manage, provide scalability and sustain those changes….or the likelihood of success is slim.


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Idea No. 33