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Module 3: Managing Our Government's Information
Page 51 of 128
Definition of a Record
d Picture of folder style gray boxes.

To properly manage records, you must first know what a "record" is. There is a legal definition of the term "record" as referenced in 44 United States Code (U.S.C.) 3301:

Record—Includes 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 data in them.

However, all documentary materials created by an agency are not necessarily records. In some cases they are categorized as "non-record materials." In fact, only about half are considered records, and less than 5% are archival.

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