NARA Bulletin 99-03
February 24, 1999
TO: Heads of Federal Agencies
SUBJECT: Changes in disposition procedures at NARA's records center facilities
EXPIRATION DATE: February 28, 2001
1. What does this bulletin do?
This bulletin provides information on changes in disposition procedures at NARA facilities storing agency-owned records. These changes have been put in place in response to NARA's report of April 24, 1998, titled Inquiry into the Disposal of Records of the Naval Research Laboratory.
2. What is the background to these procedures?
- On November 13, 1997, the Chief of Naval Research wrote a letter to the Archivist of the United States which detailed how the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) had destroyed Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) correspondence and laboratory notebooks dating from the 1940s. On April 24, 1998, NARA issued a report titled Inquiry into the Disposal of Records of the Naval Research Laboratory (hereafter referred to as the Report).
- The Report found that NARA had followed procedures, but recommended changes in certain disposition procedures for agency records stored at NARA's records center facilities. This bulletin announces how NARA has implemented those recommendations.
3. What new procedures will NARA and my agency follow when formerly permanent or unscheduled items are re-scheduled as temporary?
- Our records center facilities will notify your agency records officer by letter when agency accessions are to be recoded to temporary status in the NARS-5 system because of changes in disposition authority. The letter will contain the following information for each accession requiring recoding from permanent or unscheduled to temporary retention status: accession number, box number(s), current disposition authority, disposition code, and disposition date, and proposed disposition authority, disposition code, and disposition date. The procedures do not apply to records already coded as disposable (D code) or deferred disposable (B code).
- The letter will request written concurrence from the agency records officer for each accession and box number(s) affected. Your records officer is responsible for coordinating the agency response to NARA, including any necessary contacts with the agency's regional records management or program staff. We will not reschedule (recode) these records for disposal unless we receive written concurrence from your records officer.
4. How can I keep up to date about the disposition status of my
agency's records in NARA storage?
The first thing to remember is that under 36 CFR 1228.50 your agency is required annually to review and, if necessary, update your records schedules. We encourage agencies to maintain their records schedules and transfer documentation and to use them as information resources in determining disposition status. You may use the following tools to check the disposition status of your agency's records in NARA's records center facilities:
- Individual center reports. NARA's records center facilities will provide upon request copies of the Accession Number Master List (01 Report), which shows a complete database listing of holdings from an agency in accession number order, and other useful reports such as the Disposal Authority Report (08 Report) which lists agency records in disposition authority order. In addition, you can request copies of Archivist-approved Requests for Records Disposition Authority (SFs 115) and Records Transmittal and Receipt Forms (SFs 135) from the NARA record center facility that stores your agency's records. Contact the appropriate facility from the attached listing for further information about these reports and others which may be useful. Information regarding costs for copies is also available from each facility.
- Other specialized reports. For reports of system wide holdings or for reports in electronic form that can be customized, you should contact the Office of Regional Records Services (NR), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Md 20740-6001 (telephone number 301-713-7200).
- CIPS. Another excellent source for obtaining information on records stored in NARA's records center facilities is the Centers Information Processing System (CIPS). CIPS, used by most Federal agencies to reference their records currently stored in NARA's records center facilities, allows agencies to access the 01 Report as well as certain kinds of historical information about records previously stored in these facilities. For information on accessing these reports in CIPS, you should consult the CIPS Manual: Interactive Reference Request Manual of July 28, 1998l.
5. How will NARA now send my agency Notices of Intent to Destroy, NA Form 13001?
- In response to the Report recommendations, effective June 1, 1999, NARA will follow the policy of sending disposal notices by certified mail directly to your agency records officer or his/her designee(s). NARA's records center facilities will follow up with those agency officials from whom return receipts are not received within thirty days.
- If your agency records officer decides to designate another person or persons to receive the notices, the records officer must notify NARA in writing of the designee(s) by June 1, 1999. The records officer may instruct NARA to continue its current practice of sending disposal notices to the office which retired the records or to another office designated on the SF 135. For regional facilities, notify the appropriate Regional Administrator. For the National Personnel Records Center and/or the Washington National Records Center, notify the Director. Their addresses are provided in the attached Directory of NARA Records Center Facilities.
6. Who can I contact for further information?
Please direct questions or comments regarding records stored at NARA records center facilities to the individual facility or the Office of Regional Records Services as listed on the attached Directory of NARA Records Center Facilities. Please contact the appropriate NARA records center facility with questions about Inspector General records that you have sent to them. If you have questions about the scheduling process, please contact your Life Cycle Management Division
JOHN W. CARLIN
Archivist of the United States