Federal Records Management

Records Inventory - Electronic Information Systems


An electronic information system is the organized collection, processing, transmission, and dissemination of information according to defined procedures. It includes three categories of information: (1) inputs, (2) the information on the electronic media, and (3) outputs. Along with these categories of recorded information, the agency should inventory and schedule any related indexes and also the documentation needed to maintain and use the electronic records. Note that system documentation is covered by GRS 3-1, items 050 (permanent) and 051 (temporary). System input and outputs may also be covered by GRS (5.1 and 5.2).

Elements of the Electronic Information System Inventory

Each agency should maintain a complete and accurate inventory of all its electronic records systems to meet its own needs and to comply with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations (36 CFR 1236.26). This inventory should include the elements indicated below. NARA has developed an information system inventory form (instructions), which may be used to collect some of this information.

1. Name of the system. Indicate the commonly used name and acronym of the system. For example, the Grain Monitoring System (GMS) or the State Energy Data System (SEDS).

2. System control number. Specify the internal control number (if one exists) assigned to the system for reference, control, or cataloging purposes.

3. Agency program supported by the system. Show the agency program(s) or mission(s) to which the system relates, and cite any authorizing laws or directives. Also list the names, office addresses, telephone numbers, and locations of program personnel who can provide additional information about the program and the system supporting it.

4. Purpose of the system. Indicate the reasons for the system and the requirements it meets.

5. Data input and sources. Describe the primary data input sources and the providers of the data to the system. For example, broadcast license holders or corporations doing business in the United States. Indicate the form numbers of any agency forms used as input sources. Also give the names of any other systems, either inside or outside the agency, from which this information system receives data.

6. Major outputs. Show the system's main products and the frequency of their preparation. For example, reports, tables, charts, graphic displays, catalogs, or correspondence prepared weekly, monthly, or yearly. Also indicate whether the information is transferred to other systems.

7. Information content. Indicate what persons, places, or things are the subjects of the records in the system and what information is maintained on those subjects. Also indicate timespan, geographic coverage, update cycle, and other major characteristics of the system. Finally, tell whether the system saves superseded information and whether it contains microdata or summary data.

8. Hardware/software environment. Indicate the computer system manipulating this information and the software used. For example, MySQL, Microsoft Access or Sharepoint, Oracle database, COBOL or Java application programs; DEC VAX 780, BASIS DBMS.

9. System managers. List the name, office, telephone number, and location of the system manager or other system personnel who can provide more information about the system and the program it supports.

10. Location of documentation needed to read and understand the files. Show where the codebooks and file layouts are maintained. Indicate the office, room number, and name of the person having custody of them.

11. Restrictions on access and use. Indicate national security, privacy, or other restrictions. Cite any Privacy Act restrictions on records proposed for eventual destruction and any Freedom of Information Act restrictions on records proposed for immediate transfer to the National Archives.

12. Authorized disposition of the information as determined by the General Records Schedules or other NARA-approved disposition authority. For example, "Permanent." If not covered by a schedule, then indicate "Unscheduled" and recommend a disposition.

13. Disposition authority citation. Cite any records schedule and item number(s) covering the records contained in this system. Include any NARA-approved records schedule(s) and item number(s) authorizing disposition of system components, such as input forms, printouts, COM, and output reports. If there are no such citations, indicate "None."

14. Location and volume of any storage media containing identical information. Show the location of any magnetic tapes or disks containing information identical to that in the system being inventoried. Also indicate the number of tapes and/or disks and their storage capacity.

15. Identification of the person conducting the inventory. List that person's name, office, telephone number, and location.

16. Date prepared. List the date the inventory was prepared.

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