The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is instructing agencies to incorporate records management practices when it comes to their use of collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Slack, Discord, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365, among others.

As agencies’ use of these collaboration tools has increased in recent years, NARA issued a new draft bulletin this week that calls on agencies to ensure their records created through collaboration platforms have a “NARA-approved disposition authority.”

Common records that might be created through these platforms include chats, meeting recordings, shared documents, and spreadsheets.

However, NARA said that agencies do not need to record every video conference or capture every chat. According to NARA, agencies should document “substantive conversations” during a video conference just as they would for an in-person meeting.

“Records management concerns should not hinder an agency’s full use of collaborative platforms, but agency records officers must work with system administrators and users to ensure recordkeeping requirements are identified and met,” the bulletin says.

Ideally, NARA said that when agencies use collaboration tools with other agencies “all agencies participating in a collaboration platform should designate records management responsibilities prior to working together.” Agencies can also use a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to clarify their records management roles and responsibilities, NARA said.

NARA also advised agencies to work with platform providers to ensure their records can be exported with associated metadata.

For questions specific to agency operations, NARA said to contact the agency’s records officer.

Comments or questions on the draft bulletin can be sent to until July 31, 2023.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.