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Federal Records: General

36 CFR Sec. 1220.14

Title 36
Chapter 12
Subchapter B
Part 1220
Subpart A


As used in Subchapter B - Agency (see Executive agency and Federal agency). Adequate and proper documentation means a record of the conduct of Government business that is complete and accurate to the extent required to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and that is designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency's activities.

Appraisal is the process by which the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) determines the value and thus the final disposition of Federal records, making them either temporary or permanent.

Comprehensive schedule is a printed agency manual or directive containing descriptions of and disposition instructions for all documentary materials, record and nonrecord, created by a Federal agency or major component of an Executive department. Unless taken from the General Records Schedules (GRS) issued by NARA, the disposition instructions for agency records must be approved by NARA on one or more Standard Form(s) 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, prior to issuance by the agency. The disposition instructions for the nonrecord material is established by the agency and does not require NARA approval.

Contingent records are records whose final disposition is dependent on an action or event, such as sale of property or destruction of a facility, which will take place at some unspecified time in the future.

Disposition means the action taken with regard to records following their appraisal by NARA. 44 U.S.C. 2901(5) defines records disposition as any activity with respect to:
(a) Disposal of temporary records no longer needed for the conduct of business by destruction or donation to an eligible person or organization outside of Federal custody in accordance with the requirements of part 1228 of this chapter.
(b) Transfer of records to Federal agency storage facilities or records centers;
(c) Transfer to the National Archives of the United States of records determined to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued preservation; or
(d) Transfer of records from one Federal agency to any other Federal agency in accordance with the requirements of part 1228 of this chapter.

Documentary materials is a collective term for records and nonrecord materials that refers to all media on which information is recorded, regardless of the nature of the medium or the method or circumstances of recording.

Executive agency means any executive department or independent establishment in the executive branch of the Government, including any wholly-owned Government corporation.

Federal agency means any executive agency or any establishment in the legislative or judicial branch of the Government (except the Supreme Court, Senate, the House of Repersentatives, and the Architect of the Capitol and any activities under his direction). (44 U.S.C. 2901(14)).

File means an arrangement of records. The term is used to denote papers, photographs, photographic copies, maps, machine-readable information, or other recorded information regardless of physical form or characteristics, accumulated or maintained in filing equipment, boxes, or machine-readable media, or on shelves, and occupying office or storage space.

Information system is the organized collection, processing, transmission, dissemination, retention, and storage of information in accordance with defined procedures. It is also called a record system or simply a system. The term is most often used in relation to electronic records and involves input or source documents, records on electronic media, and output records.

National Archives of the United States means those records that have been determined by the Archivist of the United State to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the Federal Government, and that have been accepted for deposit in the Archivist's custody.

Nonrecord materials are those Federally owned informational materials that do not meet the statutory definition of records (44 U.S.C. 3301) or that have been excluded from coverage by the definition. Excluded materials are extra copies of documents kept only for reference, stocks of publications and processed documents, and library or museum materials intended solely for reference or exhibit.

Permanent record means any Federal record that has been determined by NARA to have sufficient value to warrant its preservation in the National Archives. Permanent records include all records accessioned by NARA's Office of the National Archives and later increments of the same records, and those for which the disposition is permanent on SF 115s, Request for Records Disposition Authority, approved by NARA on or after May 14, 1973. Recordkeeping requirements means all statements, in statutes, regulations, and agency directives or authoritative issuances, providing general and specific guidance for Federal agency personnel on particular recods to be created and maintained by the agency.

Records include all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of the data in them (44 U.S.C. 3301).

Records management, as used in Subchapter B, means the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, records maintenance and use, and records disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations.

Records maintenance and use, as used in Subchapter B, means any activity involving location of records of a Federal agency or the storage, retrieval, and handling of records kept at office file locations by or for a Federal agency. Records schedule or schedule means (a) An SF 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, that has been approved by NARA to authorize the disposition of Federal records;
(b) A General Records Schedule (GRS) issued by NARA; or
(c) A printed agency manual or directive containing the records descriptions and disposition instructions approved by NARA on one or more SF 115s or issured by NARA in the GRS. (See also the definition Comprehensive schedule.)

Series means file units or documents arranged according to a filing system or kept together because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific kind of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use, such as restrictions on access and use. Also called a records series.

Temporary records. A temporary record is any record which has been determined by the Archivist of the United States to have insufficient value (on the basis of current standards) to warrant its preservation by the National Archives and Records Administration. This determination may take the form of: (a) A series of recurring records designated as disposable in an agency records disposition schedule approved by NARA (Sec. 1228.20);
(b) A series of records designated as disposable in a General Records Schedule (Sec. 1228.22); and
(c) An approved one-time authorization to dispose of records identified on a disposal list (Sec. 1228.24).

Unscheduled records are records the final disposition of which has not been approved by NARA. Unscheduled records are those not disposable under the General Records Schedules; those that have not been included on a Standard Form 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, approved by NARA; those described but not authorized for disposal on an SF 115 approved prior to May 14, 1973; and those described on an SF 115 but not approved by NARA (withdrawn, cancelled, or disapproved). (45 FR 5705, Jan. 24, 1980 and 50 FR 26931, 26933, June 28, 1985, as amended at 52 FR 34134, Sept. 9, 1987; 55 FR 27423, 27427, July 2, 1990)

   Last Modified: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 AMY

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