What is the Capstone Approach? + 5 Benefits for Government Email


Change is coming to US Federal records management. With demands from upcoming mandates and the desire to save time and cut costs, agencies move swiftly towards less paper dependence and more streamlined methods. We see that with requirements such as Presidential Mandate M-19-21  and M-23-07 by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

This includes management of email: an often overlooked record-type. Only a few years ago, it was common to sift through dense inboxes for and manually print-and-file. Even digitized, the process can be more difficult than it needs to be so alternative methods such as the Capstone approach have been created. This blog post will cover what Capstone is and five benefits of this approach for modernizing email and overall records management.

This blog post is one portion from our whitepaper, A Capstone Approach to Government Records Management with Collabware, which you can download below free of charge for a more detailed history of the approach, solutions for implementation, and more. 

What is the Capstone Approach?

The Capstone Approach is a method for managing email records that requires agencies to designate inboxes of those more likely to receive critical emails (often organization officials) as ‘Capstone accounts.’ The emails in the Capstone account inboxes are then captured as permanent, while any remaining email accounts in the organization can be captured as temporary or disposed by the organization’s disposition authorities.

This approach was created in 2013 by the National Association of Records Archives (NARA) to provide U.S. government agencies with a method of email management that helps them stay compliant and optimal. It is meant to replace the outdated ‘print and file method’ that required individuals to manually manage, print and file their own email content. Capstone also boasts the following benefits for modernizing management of email...

5 Benefits of Using Capstone

1. Simple and Practical Way to Manage Legacy Email Accounts

The amount of emails received by government officials is overwhelming, especially if the management process involves going through the content email by email. Capstone was created as a simplified approach for sorting which email records are designated as permanent and which are temporary, cutting out the per-inbox sorting to streamline this process and save a lot of time.

2. Eases Burden on End Users

Having individual users or even records managers sort through each inbox takes a lot of time and leaves room for error. By having the captured content based on position, the email management process is no longer user-dependent.

3. Adherence to Federal Mandate Regulations

Capstone allows agencies to stay compliant with their email management by ensuring email permanent records are electronically retained and ready for transfer to NARA as per requirements of Federal Mandates (M-12-18), and captured and maintained with their metadata as per Mandate (M-19-21).

4. Reduces Risk of Unauthorized Destruction

Because all content is captured from designated Capstone accounts and guidelines are put into place for steps around disposition of emails in temporary accounts, there is less likelihood of important email records being accidentally deleted.

5. Easy Access for Optimized Discovery or FOIA requests

With all the Capstone emails captured in one place, authorized individuals no longer need to sort through multiple sources and inboxes, but can go straight to where the email records are stored for basic search, eDiscovery, GDRP or FOIA request purposes.

Implementing the Capstone Approach

While Capstone implementation does not require specific technology or software, it is necessary to have the right tools in place to be able to properly capture and retain the Capstone account content. The Collabspace data lake is a cloud-based repository that allows agencies to automatically stream their Capstone permanent and temporary emails, retain them and easily export for eventual transfer to NARA. Taking things beyond basic Capstone, there are also auto-categorization, OCR, advanced search and other capabilities to ensure the most important emails are easily discoverable and ready to extract value.

To learn more about the Capstone approach and how Collabspace can be used to implement this approach, read our full length whitepaper (free for download in our Government information pack below) or explore our Government landing page. You can also read our data lake blog to learn more about how to streamline and gain insights from your RM, or contact us and book a demo to see it in action!


Access Government Info Kit

Want to read more about email management? Read our blog on how to bridge the gap between Outlook, SharePoint, and Teams, or how you can auto-categorize your emails in Outlook with color coding.


Tagged: Collabspace, Email Management, Government

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