Federal Records Management

Essential Records Guide

Cover Image of Essential Records Guide


Many people are involved in an Essential Records Program, including Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORMs), Agency Records Officers, Essential Records Managers, other records management personnel, Continuity Managers, Risk Managers, program managers, information resource managers, and related personnel. The intended audience for this Guide is anyone who identifies, declares, manages, protects, and makes accessible the essential records of a Federal agency. Non-Federal government organizations, such as state and municipal archives, tribes, historical societies, libraries, museums, colleges, or universities, may find the Guide to be useful as well.

This Guide addresses the identification and protection of records, whether classified, controlled unclassified information (CUI), or unclassified. It highlights accessing information that Federal agencies need to conduct business under emergency operating conditions or to protect the legal and financial rights of the Federal government and the people it serves. This Guide also provides information to assist agencies assessing damage and implementing recovery of records affected by an emergency or disaster.

This Guide was first published in 1996 as the Vital Records Guide.