Important Information on ARCIS for Customers Who Transfer Records to the WNRC

FRC 01.2009

April 29, 2009

FRC MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY CONTACTS: Important Information on ARCIS for Customers Who Transfer Records to the WNRC

On May 18, 2009, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will deploy its new Archives and Records Centers Information System (ARCIS) at WNRC. Here is some important information on how this deployment will affect customers who currently transfer records to WNRC.

What is ARCIS?

ARCIS is a new IT system under development for the Federal Records Centers (FRCs) and their customers. When fully deployed, ARCIS will replace all current systems (such as CIPS and NARS-5), automate and streamline many FRC workflow processes, and serve as the online portal through which NARA's customer agencies will do business with the FRCs.

ARCIS has already been successfully deployed at the Atlanta, Chicago, Dayton, Denver, Kingsridge, Philadelphia, Pittsfield, and Seattle FRCs. Currently, customers of these centers are using ARCIS to submit reference requests. Eventually, customers will be able to process all core transactions-including transfer, disposition, reference, and refile actions-using ARCIS.

What can I expect during the transition to ARCIS?

During the one-time transition period, which began April 27 and runs through May 15, no SF 135s will be processed. Beginning May 18, when ARCIS is deployed, WNRC staff will enter into the system and process all SF 135s that arrived during the transition period. Approval of these SF 135s may be delayed until the end of May. Do not ship records until you receive an approved SF 135.

How will the ARCIS deployment at WNRC affect the way I transfer records?

The biggest change concerns the assignment of transfer numbers (formerly known as accession numbers).

Currently, you can either assign your own transfer numbers or have WNRC assign them. Once ARCIS deploys at WNRC, you will no longer be able to assign your own transfer numbers. When a transfer request is entered into ARCIS, ARCIS automatically assigns the next sequential number for transfers from that record group. This ensures that every transfer across the entire Federal Records Center system has its own unique transfer number.

For details about transfer numbers in ARCIS, see the transfer numbers flyer.

How do I mark my boxes if I'm not assigning transfer numbers?

When your transfer request is approved, WNRC will send you the transfer number on the approved SF 135. You will put that number on your boxes.

I currently use blocks of transfer numbers to keep track of internal information-for example, which office owns the records. How will I do that in ARCIS?

In addition to providing a unique transfer number for each transfer, ARCIS allows you to specify a Customer Reference Number (CRN), which can be anything you choose. For example, it can be what you formerly called your accession number. You can use your CRN to keep track of internal information.

For now, you can specify your CRN on your SF 135. Put it into the "FROM" block (block 5), along with the letters "CRN." In a few months, when you start using ARCIS to submit records transfer requests, you will enter the CRN directly into the system. In either case, you will be able to use your CRN to search for and track your records in ARCIS.

If you want to mark your CRN on your boxes, please put it near the upper right, directly under the Agency Box Number section.
Is ARCIS support and training available?

The FRC Program has produced a number of resources to help you learn the new system. In addition, assistance from a live person is just a phone call or a mouse click away at the ARCIS Help Desk (314-801-9300,

We strongly recommend that you sign up for one of the free, instructor-led ARCIS webinars that are scheduled over the next few weeks. To sign up for these sessions, please visit This web page also contains a wealth of other information about ARCIS, including an introductory video, a printable manual, web-based tutorials, and a link to the ARCIS Help Desk.

Please contact the ARCIS Help Desk if you have any specific questions on the deployment, training, or other issues related to this transition.

David M. Weinberg
NARA Federal Records Centers Program


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