Records Managers

Disposition of Federal Records: A Records Management Handbook


2000 Web Edition (of 1997 printed publication)

**The Disposition of Federal Records publication has outdated CFR citations and is being revised.**

PDF Version

Table of Contents


Message from the Archivist
FOREWORD

I. A MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW

Introduction
Nature of the Records Disposition Program The Program Directive and Its Contents
Program Promotion
Program Evaluation
Conclusion

II. RECORDS IDENTIFICATION AND SCHEDULING: AN OVERVIEW

Introduction
Records, Nonrecord Materials, and Personal Papers
Records Disposition Functions
Basic Steps in Scheduling Records
Conclusion

III. THE RECORDS INVENTORY

Introduction
Review of Agency Functions and Recordkeeping Requirements and Practices
Inventorying: What, Why, and How
Inventorying: Scope, Focus, and Responsibility
The Series Inventory
The Information System Inventory
Verification
Conclusion

IV. RECORD VALUES AND SCHEDULE INSTRUCTION

Introduction
Evaluating Records: The Agency's Viewpoint
Evaluating Records: NARA's Viewpoint
Preparing Disposition Instructions
Understanding General Records Schedules
Applying General Records Schedules to Agency Records
Conclusion

V. SCHEDULE PREPARATION AND CLEARANCE

Introduction
Completing an SF 115
Description and Added Information
Electronic, Audiovisual, and Other Special Records
Other Considerations in Completing an SF 115
Arranging a Records Schedule
Assembling a Draft Records Schedule
Obtaining Internal Clearances and GAO's Approval
Submitting an SF 115 for NARA's Approval
Conclusion

VI. SCHEDULE IMPLEMENTATION

Introduction
Issuing the Schedule
Training Employees
Applying the Schedule to Permanent Records
Applying the Schedule to Temporary Records
Reviewing and Updating the Schedule
Related Disposition Matters
Conclusion

VII. PROGRAM EVALUATION

Introduction
Reports on the Program
Self-Evaluation Guidelines
NARA's Evaluation of Agency Programs
Conclusion

APPENDIX A. RECORDS DISPOSITION

44 U.S.C. Chapter 21
44 U.S.C. Chapter 29
44 U.S.C. Chapter 31
44 U.S.C. Chapter 33
18 U.S.C. Chapter 101

APPENDIX B RECORDS DISPOSITION REGULATIONS (36 CFR 1228)

Subpart A: Records Disposition Programs
Subpart B: Scheduling Records
Subpart C: General Records Schedules
Subpart D: Implementing Schedules
Subpart E: Loan of Permanent and Unscheduled Records
Subpart F: Emergency Authorization to Destroy Records
Subpart G: Damage to, Alienation, and Unauthorized Destruction of Records
Subpart H: Transfer of Records from the Custody of One Executive Agency to Another
Subpart I: Transfer of Records to Records Storage Facilities
Subpart J: Transfer, Use, and Disposition of Records in a NARA Records Center
Subpart K: Facility Standards for Records Storage Facilities
Subpart L: Transfer of Records to the National Archives of the United States
Appendix A to Part 1228 - Minimum Security Standards for Level III Federal Facilities
Appendix B to Part 1228 - Alternative Certified Fire-safety Detection and Suppression System(s) Authority: 44 U.S.C. chs. 21, 29, and 33.

APPENDIX C. APPRAISAL GUIDELINES FOR PERMANENT RECORDS

APPENDIX D. RECORDS MANAGEMENT PUBLICATIONS

APPENDIX E. LIST OF REGIONAL RECORDS SERVICES FACILITIES


From the Archivist

This web-formatted version of the 1997 reprint of the Disposition of Federal Records handbook has been changed only to update organizational information and reflect changes in regulations.

As indicated in the National Archives and Records Administration's Strategic Plan, Ready Access to Essential Evidence, we are reviewing our records management policies. This handbook and other records management issuances will be more extensively revised in the future for conformance to changes in policy and in recordkeeping practices affected by technological developments.

Please let me know if you have suggestions for improving this handbook or any of our other records management publications.

JOHN W. CARLIN

Archivist of the United States



FOREWORD

An effective records disposition program is the key to successful records management in Federal agencies. It helps ensure that agencies have the recorded information necessary to conduct Government business, avoid waste, and preserve America's documentary heritage.

This handbook explains how to establish, manage, and operate a records disposition program within a Federal agency. It emphasizes the necessity of each agency's developing, implementing, and updating a records schedule for all agency records, regardless of media or location. Developing a records schedule includes reviewing agency functions and recordkeeping requirements, inventorying and evaluating records, preparing disposition instructions, organizing and clearing the schedule internally, and obtaining approval from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and, if necessary, from the General Accounting Office (GAO).

Proper implementation involves issuing the approved records schedule as an agency directive, training employees to use it, and carefully applying the schedule's provisions to both permanent and temporary records. The schedule's final objective is to ensure the authorized, appropriate, and timely disposition of the agency's records. Besides being developed and implemented, the schedule needs to be reviewed at least annually and updated whenever necessary.

The handbook explains how to evaluate a records disposition program in order to make improvements. It also describes NARA's role in helping agencies comply with laws and regulations regarding records disposition and other aspects of records management. The appendixes contain relevant laws and regulations, appraisal guidelines for permanent records, a listing and description of NARA's records management publications, and a list of regional records facilities. The frequent repetitions, summaries, and cross-references are intended to facilitate use of this edition for instructional purposes as well as for self-study.

This handbook does not cover the disposition of Presidential records or records of the U.S. Congress.

Richard A. Wire wrote this revised edition of Disposition of Federal Records. He wishes to thank Frank B. Evans, William H. Leary, and Katherine V. Coram for their advice and assistance. This publication was designed and illustrated by John H. Hedges.


Bibliographic note: The 2000 web edition is based on the 1997 printed publication Disposition of Federal Records, a Records Management Handbook, Second Edition, National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Records Services -- Washington, D.C. (1997). The web edition may vary from the printed version. The text has been changed to update organizational information and reflect changes in regulations.

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