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Records Management

Top 10 Records Management Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

All Click Question to Expand FAQs Below

1.  Who is my Agency Records Officer?

REE Mission Area Records Officer
Teresa McDuffie-Frye
ARS/OCIO/PIAB
301-504-1017

ARS
Teresa McDuffie-Frye
ARS/OCIO/PIAB
301-504-1017

ERS
Teresa McDuffie-Frye
ARS/OCIO/PIAB
301-504-1017

NASS
Shelly Busse
NASS/ADM
202-690-8127

NIFA
Robert Martin
NIFA/ISTM
202-401-5924

2.  What is a Record?

A record is recorded information, regardless of physical type or medium, created or received and maintained during the course of business by REE staff.  The subject matter and not the format determines whether an item is a record. 

3.  Why do I have to follow records management procedures?

Federal law (44 U.S.C. 3101) requires that the head of each agency shall:

            ... make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency’s activities.

You must follow Records Management Procedures as mandated by the following laws:

  • 44 USC Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33, Federal Records Act
  • 18 USC Chapter 101, Records and Reports – Section 2071, Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
  • 5 USC Chapter 552, Freedom of Information Act
  • 36 CFR Chapter 12, Subchapter B, Records Management

 

which are further defined in the following Departmental Regulations:

  • DR 3080-001, Records Management
  • DR 3085-001, Vital Records Management Program
  • DR 3090-001, Litigation Retention Policy for Documentary Materials including Electronically Stored Information
  • DR 3099-001, Records Management Policy for Departing Employees, Contractors, Volunteers and Political Appointees
4.  What are my records responsibilities?

There are 3 major responsibilities:

  • Create the records necessary to document the activities for which you are responsible
  • File those records in a manner that allows for them to be safely stored and efficiently retrieved when necessary
  • Dispose of records in accordance with Agency and Federal regulations
5.  What are records retention and disposition schedules?

Records retention and disposition schedules are documents that contain descriptions of the record series, or kinds of records produced in your office, and how long those records must be kept in your office or kept in the records center, before they can be legally destroyed or transferred to the National Archives.  Records retention and disposition schedules serve as the official authorization to destroy or transfer records.  Records retention and disposition schedules may be revised and updated as necessary but each revision must be approved by the Records Management Officer and the National Archives before they can be used to authorize destruction or transfer of records.

6.  How long should I keep my records?

Consult with the Agency Records Officer.

7.  Are email and IM considered records?

Under certain circumstances, email and IM do constitute Federal records.  To determine whether the information contained in the email message makes it a record, ask whether it:

  • contains information developed in preparing briefing papers, reports, and studies.
  • reflects official actions taken while conducting agency business.
  • conveys information on agency programs, policies, and essential activities.
  • conveys statements of policy or the rationale for official decisions or actions.
  • documents oral exchanges, such as meetings or telephone conversations, during which policy was discussed or formulated or agency activities were planned and discussed, and the like.

Duplicate copies of one message may all be records.  If more than one office takes action or otherwise uses copies of the same message, each copy is considered to be a record.

8.  How long do I need to keep email records?

Retain email records in accordance with your office’s file plan and the records schedules.  The exact length of time will vary depending on the activity that the message documents.  Retentions range from thirty days to permanent.

9.  Do I have to print out all my email records?

Only print email messages that qualify as records and file them in paper files.  Be sure to print out the Properties page, as it contains the required transmission and receipt data, and attach it to the email message.

10.  I am leaving the Agency, can I take copies of records I created with me?

Yes, but you must follow the procedures outlined in REE 259.0, Records Management Policy for Departing Employees, Contractors, Volunteers and Political Appointees, before removing any records from the custody of the Agency.

Last Updated: 06/06/2014