Resources - Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery
Table of Contents
- Tips for Submitting a Schedule
- Final Checklist
- Sample Schedule
- What Happens After...?
- Sources of Information
National Archives and Records
Office of Records Services, Washington, DC
Life Cycle Management Division
- Update skills. Enroll in NARA records management training course.
- Know your agency's organizational structure, business activities, and recordkeeping requirements.
- Inventory your records before preparing a schedule.
- Ensure that retention periods meet all legal, fiscal, and administrative needs.
- Apply the General Records Schedules where appropriate.
- Include all records in all media, including word processing and e-mail.
- Obtain General Accounting Office concurrence, if necessary.*
- Contact your NARA liaison before submitting the schedule in you have any questions
- Prioritize schedule submissions, so NARA can begin working first on what is most important to you.
- Include disposition instructions for HQ as well as field locations, if appropriate.
* See Title 8 of the GAO Policy and Procedures Manual for Guidance for Federal Agencies.
Make sure series descriptions answer all of the following questions:
WHO? What office is responsible for the records? (For organizational schedules)
WHAT? What types of records are included in the series or system? What items are being superseded?
WHY? Why were these records created? What business activities do they support?
WHEN? If the records are proposed for permanent retention, what is their date span, current volume, annual accumulation, arrangement, and access restriction?
Avoid these common pitfalls:
- Don't write a schedule
based solely on a review
of previously approved
schedules, without an inventory
or review of the actual
- Don't write a schedule
based on what records you
"think" the staff
is or should be creating.
- Don't submit a schedule
that has not been approved
by appropriate agency staff.
- Don't include vague descriptions
filled with jargon.
- Don't forget to review your schedules annually and submit revisions to NARA.
To expedite the processing of your schedule, double check that you have done all of the following before you submit it to NARA:
- Is the GAO concurrence
- Is the schedule signed
by an authorized official?
- Are items described clearly?
- Are there clear and complete
cutoff and disposition
- Did you include citations
for superseded items?
- Did you provide a contact name and phone number?
1. Subject Files. Letters, memorandums, fact sheets, weekly reports to the Director, and minutes of administrative meetings.
a. Recordkeeping copy.
TEMPORARY. Cut off annually. Retire to records storage facility one year after cutoff. Destroy 3 years after cutoff.
b. Electronic copies created by word processing or e-mail systems.
TEMPORARY. Delete after recordkeeping copy has been produced.
The average processing time for a schedule is currently 330 days from date of receipt to final approval, with 120 and 180-day turnaround for "fast-track" schedules.* It is NARA's intention to shorten this time in the future.
Steps NARA takes to process schedules: (see also Records Schedule Review Process)
- Receive schedule and date stamp.
- Conduct initial review of schedule.
- Register in tracking system.
- Acknowledge receipt of schedule via postcard or e-mail.
- Examine records in agency and appraise.
- Prepare appraisal report with recommendations.
- Review schedule and report within NARA to internal stakeholders.
- Publish Federal Register notice for public comment (about 110 days total for publication and comment).
- Consult with the agency on any revisions.
- Forward SF115 for internal approval, including signature by Archivist of the United States.
- Transmit copies to records officers.
CFR, Chapter XII, Subchapter
B, Records Management:
Information about scheduling records: www.archives.gov/about/regulations/regulations.html
Information about using General Records Schedules: www.archives.gov/about/regulations/regulations.html
Information about transfer of records to records storage facilities: www.archives.gov/about/regulations/regulations.html
Information about transfer of permanent records to the National Archives: www.archives.gov/about/regulations/regulations.html
General Records Schedules (GRS): http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/grs/
NARA Records Management Publications: www.archives.gov/publications/records-mgmt.html