Federal Records: General
36 CFR Sec. 1220.14
Sec. 1220.14 GENERAL DEFINITIONS.
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
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
(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
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
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
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
(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.
(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)