Federal Records Management

FBI Records Management Architecture: Current State Evaluation

Return to the Toolkit for Managing Electronic Records

FBI Records Management Architecture:
Current State Evaluation

  1. Introduction.  Read this section to learn about: the current status of official recordkeeping at the Bureau, the priority of records management in the Bureau's strategic plan, and the role of the Records Management Division (RMD), and the purpose of the Records Management (RM) architecture project.  Topics covered include: 1.1 Records Management Strategic Objective;  1.2 RMD Organizational Structure; 1.3 RMD Mission; and  1.4 Objectives of the RM Architecture Project.

  2. Current State Evaluation. This section discusses the current methods for creating, maintaining, using, and disposing of official records at the Bureau.  Topics covered include: 2.1 Creation; 2.2 Maintenance/Use; and, 2.3 Disposal of official records.

  3. Evaluation of Electronic Recordkeeping Capability.

  4. Summary


Appendix A: References
Appendix B: Glossary of Terms
Appendix C: List of Acronyms

Table of Figures

Figure 1-1: Records Management Lifecycle
Figure 1-2: Creation Phase Evaluation
Figure 1-3: Maintenance/Use Phase Evaluation
Figure 1-4: Disposal Phase Evaluation
Figure 1-5: ERK Evaluation Summary

1.0 Introduction

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Justice (DOJ). To carry out its responsibilities, FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. leads and provides support services to 56 field offices, approximately 400 satellite offices, and 45 offices located outside the United States. The FBI has approximately 11,400 Special Agents and over 16,400 support personnel that perform professional, administrative, technical, clerical, craft, trade, and maintenance operations.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, prompted the Attorney General to make counterterrorism the DOJ's top priority. The Attorney General reflected the DOJ's new priorities in its strategic plan and recognized that the fight against terrorism would require a significant improvement in the security and integrity of its current computer systems and a more effective use of Information Technology (IT) in the future.

The FBI proposed fundamental changes in its own priorities and business processes. These changes and new priorities will transform the role of the FBI from reactive to preventive. To accomplish the transition, the FBI needs to make improvements in its use of IT. In addition, the FBI understands that it must rely on IT to manage the large amounts of information associated with these missions. Implementing Records Management (RM) automation improvements is a critical component of the overall IT improvement initiative. RM is a core function of the FBI that demands attention as the amount of information the FBI processes continues to increase.1The FBI recognizes that dramatic efficiencies can be achieved with the aid of IT in its RM systems.2

Currently, the FBI's official record keeping system is paper-based and decentralized. The FBI has several electronic record keeping systems, but none of these systems meet the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) standards of a system of records. Only the costly and inefficient paper-based system has been approved by NARA. Thus, the FBI must maintain tens of millions of paper files. These papers are maintained and stored at 265 different locations including FBI Headquarters, field offices, large resident agencies, some Legal Attaché offices, Investigative Technology Centers, and various other off-site locations. These files consist of open, active investigative and administrative files, as well as closed, inactive files. Few of the existing records repositories comply with the NARA standards for records storage facilities, which become mandatory on October 1, 2009.3

1.1 Records Management Strategic Objective

To address these issues, the FBI has made RM a priority in its Strategic Plan. By recognizing the importance of records management to the Bureau's missions, the FBI has already demonstrated a level of understanding that is not present in many Federal agencies. According to the Interagency Committee on Government Information's Electronic Records Policy Working Group, one of the barriers to effective management of government e-records is that records management is not viewed as critical to agency missions.4 The senior leadership of the FBI recognizes the critical link between accomplishing the Bureau's missions and effectively managing the organization's records. However, as indicated by the leadership of the Records Management Division (RMD), there is a significant gap in the understanding of the importance of RM from the executive level of the FBI down to the division level. The RMD is working to bridge this gap.

The stated strategic goal for RM is to establish a state-of-the-art record keeping system. This records system must ensure that accurate records from all activities of the FBI are created, maintained, and disposed of in accordance with all legal requirements. In addition, this system must meet requirements for timely information sharing with other government agencies, be responsive to requests for information under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts (FOIPA), and have unquestionable accuracy and integrity including the use of digital signatures. To meet this goal, the following three strategic objectives have been established 5:

  • Establish an electronic record keeping system. Transform the FBI's current paper-based, decentralized system into a centralized, electronic record keeping system to dramatically improve efficiencies.
  • Modernize the FBI's National Name Check Program (NNCP). Meet increased customer demand for information sharing by improving the program with technology and streamlined processes.
  • Improve the processing and quality of FBI responses to FOIPA requests. Meet increased public demand for FBI information by developing a paperless FOIPA process that is addressed in the future electronic record keeping system.

1.2 RMD Organizational Structure

Under the Director of the FBI, there is a Deputy Director and five Executive Assistant Directors for Intelligence, Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Intelligence, Criminal Investigations, Law Enforcement Services, and Administration. An Assistant Director (AD) leads the Records Management Division, which is within the Office of Administration. The RMD was re-commissioned by the Director in February 2002 and is responsible for the overall FBI RM program, with specific emphasis on identifying the requirements necessary to move the FBI from a paper-intensive organization to as paperless an organization as possible. The AD serves as the FBI Records Officer and is assisted by one Inspector/Deputy Assistant Director.6  In addition to the Administrative Unit, Executive Secretariat, and Security Unit of the RMD Front Office, the RMD is further organized into the following three sections 7:

  • Records Policy and Administration Section (RPAS). The overall mission of the RPAS is to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the FBI through an outstanding records management program. The RPAS provides policy guidance, training, and leadership in establishing RM requirements and procedures and identifying and resolving RM problems.
  • Records/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS). The RIDS is responsible for providing program and policy management related to the researching, reviewing, analyzing, processing, and classification/declassification work relating to the National Name Check Program, Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, policies and procedures, judicial decisions, and Presidential and Congressional directives.
  • Records Automation Section (RAS). The overall mission of the RAS is to assist the FBI in its transition from a paper-based recordkeeping system to an electronic recordkeeping system. In fulfilling its mission, the RAS provides leadership, expertise, assistance, and services to the Division and the FBI. The RAS has several current initiatives in progress. RAS has cooperated with the Virtual Case File (VCF) Team to add electronic recordkeeping technology to VCF. RAS has also partnered with the Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) team to develop a pilot project to incorporate an RM application in IDW. RAS is currently working with IDW to pilot the use of an application to support the management of scanned documents. The pilot will focus on managing documents scanned by the RAS Document Conversion Lab (DocLab) using an RM application. RAS is also working with the Trilogy project to deploy an RM application as part of the Bureau's Enterprise Architecture (EA), and reviewing proposals for the Bureau's technology applications and systems for compatibility with RM applications.8

1.3 RMD Mission

The mission of the RMD is to ensure that official records are created, made available to the right people, when needed, for appropriate reasons, and then disposed of properly when their usefulness to the FBI has ended. The Executive Management of the RMD has identified five mission-critical issues, which are listed below in order from highest to lowest priority.9

  1. Ensuring proper records management requirements are incorporated into the design and deployment of new information and knowledge management systems.10
  2. Review existing records management systems within the Bureau, both paper and electronic, to ensure compliance with proper records management requirements.11
  3. Revamping of the National Name Check Program to include development of a new system with the capability to check a large volume of names quickly and accurately; to capture system performance metrics, individual metrics, billing information; to assist with report generation; and to be compatible with the FBI's new RM systems.
  4. Increase analytical and information sharing capacities as well as providing easier access and data mining through conversion of paper-based records to digitized records and back file conversion of older FBI records.
  5. Improve the security, availability, maintenance, effectiveness, and efficiency of FBI records, both paper and electronic, by establishing a Central Records Repository that is located in the Mid-Atlantic area.

1.4 Objectives of the RM Architecture Project

The RM Architecture project directly supports the resolution of mission-critical issues one, two, four, and five. The RAS would like to develop a Business Concept of Operations and System Concept of Operations as the basis for implementing an RM application within the EA. These documents will be used to generate consensus on the role of an RM application, identify possible obstacles to implementation and how they could be resolved, and specify the broad business and technical requirements for acquiring an RM application. To support these objectives, the RM Architecture project was divided into five major tasks:

  • Task 1: Conduct High-Level Current State Evaluation
  • Task 2: Develop Business Concept of Operations
  • Task 3: Develop System Concept of Operations
  • Task 4: Integrate with FBI Enterprise Architecture
  • Task 5: Formulate Implementation Strategy

The first task was to conduct a high-level Current State Evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide a common understanding of the current RM environment. It also lays the groundwork for success in future tasks by providing a baseline for the development of the future architecture and transition strategy between the current and future states. We included a detailed description of the methodology in the RM Architecture Work Plan. Therefore, for brevity purposes, we simply list the subtasks below:

  • Gather and Review Previous Work Products
  • Review As-Is Current Processes and Technology
  • Document Current State Evaluation
As indicated above, this evaluation was limited to reviewing existing documentation specifically related to records management within the FBI and some additional documents related to records management practices generally within the Federal government. Many of the evaluative statements have been inferred from previous studies and were not able to be verified through stakeholder interviews, focus groups, surveys, and other data collection methods. The FBI may want to consider conducting a more in-depth analysis of the current state that incorporates information from these additional data sources. Furthermore, with so many record generating and maintenance systems in use at the FBI, it is difficult to provide universally applicable evaluative analyses. A system-by-system (or at least the major systems) analysis could provide a richer evaluation of the current state and also allow for the formulation of situational (e.g., cultural, leadership, process) factors that contribute to the overall quality of RM within the FBI. While this type of detailed analysis was not feasible for this study, we nonetheless believe that this high-level evaluation based on existing documents achieves the purpose of Task 1 as described earlier. The remainder of this document presents the evaluation.

2.0 Current State Evaluation

The evaluation is organized by the major phases in the Records Management Lifecycle. The lifecycle of a record is the lifespan of a record from its creation to its final disposition. There are three phases in this lifecycle: creation, maintenance and use, and disposition. In the first phase, a record is created when it is declared a record or captured as a record. Next, the records are maintained or used actively or inactively by the FBI until the time of its final disposition. In the disposition or final phase, the record is either destroyed or deleted according to schedule or legally transferred to NARA to be archived. The Records Management Lifecycle is depicted graphically in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1-1: Records Management Lifecycle

The RMD's leadership has indicated that there are shortcomings in all phases of records management at the FBI. According to RMD leadership, FBI employees generally do not understand the importance of RM. Employees understand the importance of information, but not the discipline of RM. Understandably, they are mostly concerned about the information needed to do their jobs.

This section provides specific detail on each major phase of the Records Management Lifecycle and is organized as follows:

Section 2.1: Creation

Section 2.2: Maintenance/Use

Section 2.3 Disposal

2.1 Creation

Figure 1-2: Creation Phase Evaluation


  • FBI employees generally do not understand exactly what constitutes a record even though most systems provide for the capability to designate information as records (either manually or automatically). When dealing with electronic information, FBI employees have even more difficulty understanding what constitutes a record and, if declared a record, what to do with it. The process for capturing and declaring email messages as records is too complicated.
  • Marginal organizational support prior to the re-commissioning of the RMD has contributed to the lack of an RM training program. However, RM policy and guidance is available on the Intranet.
  • Adequate records are declared and captured at most FBI locations. However, processes vary by field office.
  • Processes are not well defined nor consistently applied due to the many different record keeping systems, media, and formats. Capability to provide process and policy information to employees in an efficient and effective manner does not currently exist within FBI.
  • Most external media and data are not captured and then managed as an FBI record.
  • Records from desktop applications (e.g., Word documents and emails) often are not properly declared and managed. This creates vulnerabilities from records management, FOIA, and discovery perspectives.


  • The RMD and RAS leadership understand the need to improve RM technology. Detailed requirements for an enterprise-wide RM application have been developed. However, the Business Concept of Operations, System Concept of Operations, and integration of the RM application into the Enterprise Architecture have not yet been completed.
  • Many IT systems produce records but only a few of the major systems have been certified under the Electronic Recordkeeping Certification (ERKC) process.
  • Most systems within the FBI that produce records generate unique identifiers for the records. Assignment of unique identifiers to metadata is generally not done and most systems do not prevent the modification of a record's unique identifier.
  • Record metadata are not generally captured automatically nor linked to the associated record, although some systems do have that capability.

2.2 Maintenance/Use

Figure 1-3: Maintenance/Use Phase Evaluation



  • FBI and RMD leadership recognize and support the need for process and technology improvements in the management and use of official records.
  • FBI personnel adequately maintain and use records involving case files. In general, employees are able to find the records they need, but this can require substantial effort.
  • For the most part, record maintenance requirements are adequate and documented, but can vary based on location within the organization.
  • Maintenance processes that rely on a paper-based record system are costly and inefficient. Stove-piped maintenance processes and systems can cause significant delays in records processing and retrieval.
  • Decentralized record maintenance processes and systems make internal and external information sharing difficult and impede the ability of employees to do work. Complex electronic records that are being created in a decentralized environment have made it difficult to organize and access those records.
  • A high volume of records is actively used for investigations, intelligence, and supporting processes but these records are not currently managed as Bureau assets.
  • A plan exists to build a Central Records Complex that will store all FBI records.
  • Manual records request and retrieval processes require proactive human behavior and cause lengthy delays.
  • RMD is working towards the vision of a centralized enterprise-wide electronic recordkeeping system. Nonetheless, significant gaps remain. Specifically, existing RM systems are poorly integrated with other IT systems. However, RAS is cooperating with the VCF team to integrate electronic recordkeeping to that critical case management application.
  • RM requirements have not been considered during the development of new systems and technology.
  • The Document Conversion Lab (DocLab) is a positive asset in the transition from paper to electronic records. The current initiative with IDW to use an RMA to support management of scanned documents also has the potential to achieve significant improvements in records maintenance.
  • NNCP and FOIPA request processes need IT improvements to keep up with customer demands.

2.3 Disposal

Figure 1-4: Disposal Phase Evaluation


  • Pull with records management responsibilities generally retire, store, and properly dispose of records according to approved schedules.
  • Some permanent paper and electronic records within the FBI are not transferred to NARA to be archived. In most of these cases, the records are not transferred because they are not scheduled.
  • Lack of clearly defined and enforced processes leads to some significant FBI records, and most electronic records, remaining unscheduled. Since proper disposition depends on accurate scheduling, many of these records are not disposed of properly.
  • None of the FBI's existing records storage facilities meet NARA's new regulations that will be required by October 1, 2009.
  • Substantial time and effort are required to obtain access to retired records from NARA.
  • Disposition requirements have not been addressed at the beginning of the records lifecycle. This creates a backlog of unscheduled records that the Records Disposition Unit must go back and schedule.
  • There is a current initiative to inventory and consolidate all FBI records.


  • Most systems that generate records are not capable of identifying records eligible for transfer or destruction based on records retention schedules and disposition instructions.  However, some systems (e.g., FDPS) have the capability to produce user-defined reports.
  • Enterprise-wide capability to export records and metadata to be transferred in a format acceptable for transfer to NARA does not exist.
  • Most systems are capable of deleting records so that they cannot be physically reconstructed. However, FBI needs to implement enterprise-wide capability to maintain a record of all transfers and destructions and provide certifiable proof of transfer or destruction.

3.0 Evaluation of Electronic Recordkeeping Capability

While the People and Process aspects of the preceding evaluation are important, the fundamental records management issues faced by the FBI relate to technological (specifically, electronic recordkeeping and record management) deficiencies. Improvements in technology will drive improvements in People and Process. Staff will be empowered with the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently, and processes will be redesigned to take advantage of automation functionality and capabilities. These automation functions and capabilities have been documented in the functional requirements document produced by RMD. These functional requirements directly link to the certification criteria in the Electronic Recordkeeping (ERK) Certification Manual. In turn, the ERK certification criteria are based on DoD 5015.2, which is the NARA endorsed standard for electronic Record Management Applications. Acquiring these capabilities will allow FBI to achieve the key goal of moving away from a paper-based system of record to an electronic recordkeeping system. Currently, none of the FBI's electronic systems are certified as systems of record. Achieving this certification depends on bridging the gap between the current state and the ERK criteria. Accordingly, we evaluated the current state in relation to some of the key criteria presented in the ERK Certification Manual. In column one of Figure 5, the criteria are derived directly from the ERK Certification Manual. In column two, a rating of "adequate" indicates the FBI generally meets the stated criteria with perhaps some limited exceptions. A "partial" rating indicates several of the more critical aspects of the criteria are not being broadly met across the Bureau. A rating of "inadequate" indicates that the criteria is either not being met or is only being met on a limited basis (e.g., by a few of the record generating systems). We did not include a higher rating of "full" compliance because, as discussed Section 1.4, the multitude of systems in use and the limited nature of our review preclude such a finding. Admittedly, these ratings are fairly subjective in nature and are open to interpretation. They are not intended to definitely categorize or otherwise quantify the level of compliance with the stated criteria but instead provide a generalized view of the current state of the capability within the FBI. Other rating schemes could also be used (e.g., excellent, good, adequate, poor) and, with the benefit of additional data, further granularity in the ratings provided. Nonetheless, we believe the analysis as presented provides some insight into the progress the FBI has made towards an enterprise-wide electronic recordkeeping capability. The comments in column three are based off the background documents provided by the FBI, general studies of records management within the Federal government, our related Enterprise Architecture work, and the conversations we had with RMD personnel during the two meetings that were held prior to the production of this evaluation.

Figure 1-5: ERK Evaluation Summary

Lifecycle State/Criteria Rating Comments
Declare Records
Systems designate information as records, assign unique identifiers to records and metadata, and capture metadata automatically and link it to the records.


Most systems generate identifiers. No universal identifier exists across all systems. Metadata capture is inadequate in most systems.
Capture Records
Systems import records from outside sources along with associated metadata.


Some systems can import records from outside sources. Additional integration is needed.
Systems link records to an external RMA to provide control without physically transporting them.


No external enterprise-wide RMA currently exists.
Users can select categories for records; systems accept records retention schedules and organize records accordingly; related records can be linked. ¤ Categorization and assigning retention schedules are generally possible; record linkage capability is not that strong.
Records can be assigned a status to prevent destruction or transfer; systems execute disposition instructions. ¤ Some record producing systems have this capability. An enterprise-wide RMA will provide this capability.
Systems store metadata for records not contained in the system and can identify records by physical location. ¤ In general, current metadata capabilities need to be improved.

Systems prevent over-writing records; records are never edited, instead new versions are created and linked to the source.


Over-writing is not prevented in many systems; versioning and linking capabilities are practically non-existent.

Systems maintain referential integrity and provide methods to detect alterations of records or metadata; systems provide audit trails for all add, update, delete, and retrieve activity.


Referential integrity, alteration detection, and audit capabilities are not adequately addressed in the current environment.

Backup copies of records are maintained; adequate recovery and rebuild procedures exist.


Backup copies are maintained (either electronically or paper-based).
Systems identify individuals and user groups and allow only authorized individuals to retrieve, view, copy, or edit records


FBI IT systems generally have these access controls.

Access privileges are enforced on all retrievals. Records and metadata can be retrieved based on defined links and sufficiently powerful search features are provided



Access privileges are enforced; record and metadata link and search functions do not exist enterprise-wide.

Users have the capability to read and interpret records and metadata throughout their useful life; metadata remains linked to records without alteration throughout the useful life.


Records are preserved throughout their useful life; it is unclear if metadata and record links are maintained.
Records and metadata can be migrated to new storage media such that the content is retained


Most FBI systems have this capability.
Systems can generate summary reports (e.g., number of accesses) and detail audit reports (e.g., individual record access, date, time, and user).


Most record producing systems do not have this capability although a few (e.g., FDPS) have the capability to produce user-defined reports.
Systems detect, record, and output any unsuccessful attempts to access records or conduct system functions and tracks user id, date, and time of failures.


Most FBI systems do not currently have this capability.
Disposal (Transfer or Destroy)

Systems identify records for transfer or destruction based on retention schedules and disposition instructions. Destroyed records are deleted such that they cannot be reconstructed.


This is generally true although there are records that remain unscheduled and some destroyed records can be reconstructed.
Records and metadata to be transferred are exported in formats acceptable to NARA.


Records are transferred in acceptable format; an enterprise-wide RMA should enhance metadata capabilities.
All records of transfer or destruction are treated as records.


Records of transfer and destruction are maintained.

l = Adequate, ¤ = Partial, ¡ = Inadequate

As the table above indicates, organization-wide, the FBI at least partially meets most criteria for electronic recordkeeping. The Bureau has begun to make improvements away from the paper-based recordkeeping system toward automated processes and electronic recordkeeping system. However, as the FBI fully recognizes, this transformation has only just begun. The next phase of the transformation is to acquire an enterprise RM application with document management capabilities, integrate this application with IDW (and eventually the planned Master Data Warehouse) and the existing VCF document management application.12

4.0 Summary

The FBI understands that it must rely on IT to manage the large amounts of information associated with these missions. Implementing RM automation improvements is a critical component of the IT improvement initiative. Currently, the FBI's official record keeping system is paper-based and decentralized. The FBI must maintain tens of millions of paper files at 265 different locations. To address these issues, the FBI has made RM a priority in its Strategic Plan. The senior leadership of the FBI both supports and understands the importance of RM to the Bureau's mission. However, a significant gap exists between executive level and unit level understanding and support. The strategic goal for RM is to establish a state-of-the-art record keeping system and to improve RM discipline across the FBI. The RM Architecture project is one of the first steps towards meeting that strategic goal. The project directly supports the resolution of four mission-critical issues:
  • Ensuring proper records management requirements are incorporated into the design and deployment of new information and knowledge management systems.
  • Review existing records management systems within the Bureau, both paper and electronic, to ensure compliance with proper records management requirements.
  • Increase analytical and information sharing capacities as well as providing easier access and data mining through conversion of paper-based records to digitized records and back file conversion of older FBI records.
  • Improve the security, availability, maintenance, effectiveness, and efficiency of FBI records, both paper and electronic, by establishing a Central Records Repository that is located in the Mid-Atlantic area.

The RMD leadership recognizes that there are shortcomings with the current RM system and all areas of RM within the FBI need improvement. The FBI has made significant progress over the last 12 months towards improving their records management capabilities. This progress includes implementing investigative document management capabilities (VCF), developing a central repository for investigative documents (IDW), inventorying FBI records, piloting an RMA, and converting paper-based records to electronic form using the DocLab. However, additional progress towards integrating these efforts and acquiring a truly enterprise-wide electronic records management capability is necessary.

The next task in the Records Management Architecture project is to develop the Business Concept of Operations. That task will build upon the information presented in Current State Evaluation to develop a concept of operations that will allow the FBI to achieve its strategic RM goal of an electronic recordkeeping system.

Appendix A: References

This Appendix contains the list of previous work products and policy, process, technology, and other background documents that we reviewed as input to the Current State Evaluation.

Electronic Recordkeeping (ERK) Draft System Certification Report Version 0.7, prepared by SRA International, Inc., May 6, 2004.

Draft Enterprise Architecture Principles, EA Program Management Office, no date provided.

RMA Metadata Comparison, September 28, 2004.

Recordkeeping Questionnaire for New and Redesigned Systems and Applications, no date provided.

FBI Electronic Recordkeeping Certification Manual Version 1.0, prepared by SRA International, Inc., April 30, 2004.

Basic Functional Requirements for Electronic Recordkeeping (ERK) for Automated Systems/Applications in the FBI, March 3, 2003 - Revised April 18, 2003.

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Enterprise Records Management Application, High-Level Functional Requirements, revised February 2003.

Government Computing News, "Beat the E-Records Glut: Agencies dig in to get control of a mounting pile of e-records", Walker, Richard W., September 27, 2004.

Government Computing News, "NARA prepares for a new era in records management", Miller, Jason, September 27, 2004.

Department of Defense, Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications, DoD 5015.2-STD, June 19, 2002.

Report on Current Recordkeeping Practices within the Federal Government, prepared by SRA International, Inc. for the National Archives and Records Administration, December 10, 2001.

National Research Council, A Review of the FBI's Trilogy Information Technology Modernization Project, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2004.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Implementation of Information Technology Recommendations, Audit Report 03-36; September 2003.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, An Investigation of the Belated Production of Documents in the Oklahoma City Bombing Case, March 19, 2003.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Management of Information Technology Investments, Audit Report 03-09, December 2002.

FBI Strategic Plan, 2004 - 2009.

RM Policy at FBI, no date provided.

The Information Technology Investment Evaluation Guide, "Assessing Risks and Returns: A Guide for Evaluating Federal Agencies' IT Investment Decision-Making", GAO/AIMD-10.1.13, February 1997.

The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Memorandum 97-02, Funding Information Systems Investments, October 25, 1996. This memorandum is also commonly known as "Raines Rules."

OMB Circular No. A-11, Planning, Budgeting, and Acquisition of Capital Assets.

Uniform Subject Filing System (June 1995) and Public Law 98-497 (amended records management statutes by dividing responsibilities between NARA and GSA).

Records Disposal Act of 1943, as amended by the Act of July 6, 1945 (governs the disposal of records deemed to have insufficient value to warrant their further preservation).

Title 8 of the General Accounting Office (GAO) Manual for Guidance to Federal Agencies (describes GAO concerns with agency fiscal and program records and identifies those records whose proposed disposition must be approved by GAO).

44 U.S.C. parts 2904, 3101, and 3301, 36 C.F.R. parts 1220 and 1222 (establishes records management responsibilities at Federal agencies) and 36 C.F.R. parts 1230, 1232, and 1234 (electronic records).

RMD Section of Information Technology Strategic Plan (Word Document).

Records Management Division Organization and Administration Memorandum, February 5, 2003.

Appendix B: Glossary of Terms13

Audit Trail. An electronic means of tracking interactions with records within an electronic system so that any access to the record within the electronic system can be documented as it occurs or afterward. May be used to identify unauthorized actions in relation to the records, e.g., modification, deletion, or addition.

Create. In electronic records, the action or result of filing a new record and its associated metadata.

Delete. The process of permanently removing, erasing, or obliterating recorded information from a medium, especially a reusable magnetic disk or tape.

Destruction. In records management, the primary type of disposal action. Methods ofdestroying records include selling or salvaging the record medium and burning, pulping, shredding, macerating, or discarding it with other waste materials.

Disposition. Range of processes associated with implementing retention, destruction, or transfer decisions. Those actions taken regarding records no longer needed for the conduct of the regular current business of the agency.

Document. Official records, personal papers, classified information in written form, other written materials, and copies thereof, regardless of form, content, or ownership. Structured units of recorded information, logical or physical, not fixed as records.

Electronic Mail Message. A document created or received on an electronic mail system including brief notes, more formal or substantive narrative documents, and any attachments, such as word processing and other electronic documents, which may be transmitted with the message.

Electronic Mail System. A computer application used to create, receive, and transmit messages and other documents. Excluded from this definition are file transfer utilities (software that transmits files between users but does not retain any transmission data), data systems used to collect and process data that have been organized into data files or data bases on either personal computers or mainframe computers, and word processing documents not transmitted on an e-mail system.

Electronic Record. Record or electronic storage media, produced, communicated, maintained and/or accessed by means of electronic equipment.

Electronic Recordkeeping System. An electronic system in which records are collected, organized, and categorized to facilitate their preservation, retrieval, use, and disposition.

Electronic Records Management. This technology enables an organization to assign specific life cycles to individual documents. The records can come from multiple channels including e-mail, Web pages, scanned documents, custom applications, fax documents, and paper. Most products can be used as stand-alones but they are usually matched with Integrated Document Management products.

File. An arrangement of records. The term is used to denote papers, photographs, photographic copies, maps, machine-readable information, or other recorded information regardless of physical form or characteristics, accumulated or maintained in filing equipment, boxes, or machine-readable media, or on shelves, and occupying office or storage space.

Format. For electronic records, format refers to the computer file format described by a formal or vendor standard or specification. For non-electronic records, the format refers to its physical form

Investigative Data Warehouse. A portal to various FBI databases and documents that includes a workflow process and search capabilities for the purpose of discovering knowledge.

Lifecycle. The records lifecycle is the life span of a record from its creation or receipt to its final disposition. It is usually described in three stages: creation, maintenance and use, and final disposition.

Media Type. The material or environment on which information is inscribed.

Metadata. Metadata is structured data about data; it is a term that describes or specifies characteristics that need to be known about data in order to build information resources such as ERK systems and support records creators and users.

Permanent Record. Any Federal record that has been determined by NARA to have sufficient value to warrant its preservation in the National Archives of the United States.

Recordkeeping Requirements. All statements in statutes, regulations, and agency directives or authoritative issuances, that provide general and specific requirements for Federal agency personnel on particular records to be created and maintained by the agency.

Recordkeeping System. A manual or automated system in which records are collected, organized, and categorized to facilitate their preservation, retrieval, use, and disposition.

Records. 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. Documents created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an agency, organization, or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. Documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions.

Records Capture. The recognition of a record resulting in its inclusion in a system that manages records operations.

Records Center. An establishment maintained and operated by the Archivist or by another Federal agency primarily for the storage, servicing, security, and processing of records which need to be preserved for varying periods of time and need not be retained in office equipment or space.

Records Maintenance and Use. Any activity involving location of records of a Federal agency or the storage, retrieval, and handling of records kept at office file locations by or for a Federal agency.

Records Management. The field of management responsible for efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence and information of business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Alternative definition: The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, records maintenance and use, and records disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations.

Records Management Application. Software used by an organization to mange records. An RMA's primary management functions are categorizing and locating records and identifying records due for disposition. RMA software also stores, retrieves, and disposes of electronic records stored in its repository.

Records Retrieval. The process of recalling specific records from storage.

Records Schedule or Schedule. (a) An SF 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority, that has been approved by NARA to authorize the disposition of Federal records; (b) A General Records Schedule (GRS) issued by NARA; or (c) A printed agency manual or directive containing the records descriptions and disposition instructions approved by NARA on one or more SF 115s or issued by NARA in the GRS.

Records Series or Series. File units or documents arranged according to a filing system or kept together because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific kind of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use, such as restrictions on access and use.

Records Storage Facility. A records center or a commercial records storage facility, as defined in this section, i.e., a facility used by a Federal agency to store Federal records, whether that facility is operated and maintained by the agency, by NARA, by another Federal agency, or by a private commercial entity.

Records Systems. Information systems that capture, maintain, and provide access to records over time.

Referential Integrity. Ensuring that all references are updated or deleted as necessary when a key reference is changed in a database environment.

Repository of Electronic Records. A direct device on which the electronic records and associated metadata are stored.

Retention Period. The time period records are kept according to operational, legal, regulatory, and fiscal requirements.

Scanning. Imaging is a form of scanning technology that refers to transforming a paper document into a digital image. Capturing and processing information contained in forms is another application of scanning technology. When a form is scanned, key fields are captured, verified, and written to a database. Forms capture relies on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), bar code recognition, and other recognition technology to capture the content.

Scheduled Records. Records whose final disposition has not been approved by NARA.

Storage. Measures for keeping records under defined conditions and permitting their retrieval.

Temporary Records. A temporary record is any record that has been determined by the Archivist of the United States to have insufficient value (on the basis of current standards) to warrant its preservation by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Unscheduled Records. Records whose final disposition has not been approved by NARA.

Virtual Case File. The electronic repository of case file records, which includes a records management system operated by the FBI that meets FBI records management requirements.

Vital Records. Essential Agency records needed to meet operational responsibilities under national security emergencies or other emergency or disaster conditions (emergency operating records) or to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and those affected by Government activities (legal and financial rights records).

Appendix C: List of Acronyms

ACS Automated Case Support

AD Assistant Director

DocLab Document Conversion Lab

DOJ Department of Justice

EA Enterprise Architecture

ERK Electronic Recordkeeping

ERKC Electronic Recordkeeping Certification

FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation

FOIPA Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts

GRS General Records Schedule

IDW Investigative Data Warehouse

IT Information Technology

NARA National Archives and Records Administration

NNCP National Name Check Program

RAS Records Automation Section

RIDS Records/Information Dissemination Section

RM Records Management

RMA Records Management Application

RMD Records Management Division

RPAS Records Policy and Administration Section

VCF Virtual Case File


[1]Most Federal government agencies are facing similar challenges with the tremendous growth of electronic records. According to National Archives and Records Administration deputy archivist Lewis Bellardo, "there's been an explosion of electronic information within the government in the last several years." Government Computing News, "Beat the E-Records Glut: Agencies dig in to get control of a mounting pile of e-records", Walker, Richard W., September 27, 2004.

[2] The preceding discussion was taken from several sources including FBI Strategic Plan, A Review of the FBI's Trilogy Information Technology Modernization Project, and The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Management of Information Technology Investments.

[3] RMD Section of Information Technology Strategic Plan, p. 1.

[4]Government Computing News, "Beat the E-Records Glut".

[5] FBI Strategic Plan 04-09, pp. 108 - 109.

[6] As U.S. archivist John Carlin, head of NARA, recently noted, the rising profile of agency records managers is occurring throughout the Federal government. Government Computing News, "Beat the E-Records Glut".

[7] The following description of the RMD organizational structure was derived from the RMD Section of Information Technology Strategic Plan, pp. 1 - 2, and the Records Management Division Organization and Administration Memorandum.

[8] Reynolds Cahoon, NARA CIO and assistant archivist, recently stated that this integration is one of five specific ways that records management needs to be embedded in order to become operationalized and institutionalized within agencies. "Building records management into the systems development lifecycle so that, from requirements all the way through to acceptance testing and final implementation, records management requirements are identified in the business process design and are traceable." (Government Computing News, "NARA prepares for a new era in records management", September 27,2004).

[9] This discussion and the description of the mission-critical issues are summarized from the RMD Section of Information Technology Strategic Plan, pp. 2 - 3.

[10]That fact that the Executive Management of the FBI has identified this issue as mission critical demonstrates a level of understanding that is not present at many Federal government agencies. In a recent interview, Lewis Bellardo, NARA's deputy archivist, discussed the "disconnect between IT and records management - the folks who are responsible for building systems and the folks who are responsible for developing the regimen for managing the records." Government Computing News, "NARA prepares for a new era in records management", Miller, Jason, September 27, 2004.

[11] This issue is not unique to the FBI. In his recent interview, Bellardo further notes that there "has been a disconnect between the people who are doing the business of the agency and, again, the records managers trying to catch up, oftentimes long after new systems have been built." Government Computing News, "NARA prepares for a new era in records management".

[12] Because not all records will be stored in the IDW and not all records will be created and maintained/used in VCF, in addition to having RM functionality, the document management system needs to have a central repository and document management capabilities.

[13] These definitions were taken directly from three sources: Title 44, USC, Section 3301; Title 36, CFR, Chapter XII, Subchapter B; and Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications, Department of Defense, DoD 5015.2-STD, June 19, 2002.