Records Disposition Glossary

283 FW 1
Originating Office
Information Resources and Technology Management

Accession. The transfer of the legal and physical custody of permanent records from an agency to the NARA or the transfer of agency records to a Federal Records Center for temporary storage where the agency retains legal custody of the records.

Appraisal. The process of determining the value and thus the final disposition of records making them either temporary or permanent.

Block. For electronic records, a grouping of similar data dealt with as a unit by the computer for input or output.

Contingent records. Temporary records whose disposition is determined by a future event such as the sale of property.

Custody. Guardianship, or control, of records, including both physical possession (physical custody) and legal responsibility (legal custody).

Disposal schedule. (See Records Schedule)

Disposition. The actions taken regarding records no longer needed for current Government business. These actions include transfer of records to a Federal Records Center; transfer of records from one Federal agency to another; transfer of permanent records to the NARA; disposal of temporary records; or occasionally, donation of Government records.

Disposition authority. Legal approval empowering an agency to transfer permanent records to the NARA or carry out the disposal of temporary records. Approval must be obtained from the NARA.

Federal Records Center. A National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) administered facility which stores mostly temporary records.

Federal records repository. Either the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or a NARA-administered records center (Federal Records Center).

Frozen records. Those temporary records that cannot be destroyed in accordance with their approved schedule for disposition. Special circumstances, such as a court order or an investigation, may require a temporary extension of the approved retention period. Such records then become "frozen".

General Records Schedule (GRS). NARA-issued schedule governing the disposal of specified records common to several or all agencies.

Life cycle of records. The concept that records pass through three stages: creation, maintenance and use, and disposition.

Noncurrent records. Records no longer required to conduct agency business and therefore ready for final disposition.

Nonrecord materials. Informational material maintained by the agency but not meeting the legal definition as contained in 44 U.S.C. 3301. Such material may include extra copies of documents kept for convenience; reference stocks of publications; and library or museum materials intended solely for reference or exhibition (see definition at Records).

Optional Form 11 (OF-11). A form that an agency may use to obtain reference service involving records it has stored in a Federal Records Center.

Permanent records. Records appraised by NARA as having sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued preservation by the Federal government beyond the time they are needed for administrative, legal, or fiscal purposes. Sometimes called archival records.

Records. As defined by 44 U.S.C. 3301, all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary material 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 and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successors as evidence of the organizations functions, policies decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them.

Records center. A NARA-approved facility for the low-cost storage and servicing of records pending their disposal or transfer to the NARA. Includes NARA-authorized agency records centers and NARA-operated Federal Records Centers.

Records schedule. A document providing required retention periods for agency records. Also called records disposition schedule, records control schedule, or schedule.

Retention period. The length of time that records are to be kept prior to disposition.

Retirement. The transfer of records to a Federal records repository.

Schedule. See records schedule.

Scheduled records. Records whose final disposition has been approved by the NARA.

Scheduled transfer. The moving of permanent records to the NARA for preservation, as authorized by a NARA-approved records schedule. The process would include NARA's approval of an agency-submitted Standard Form 258 and NARA's receipt of the records.

Semicurrent records. Records required so seldom to conduct agency business that they should be moved to a Federal Records Center.

Series. File units or documents kept together because they share a common subject or function. Also called a record series, it is generally handled as a unit for disposition purposes.

Standard Form 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority. The forms used by Federal agencies to obtain disposition authority from NARA. It is generally used for unscheduled records (see definition at Unscheduled records).

Standard Form 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt. The form to be submitted by agencies to a Federal Records Center before transferring records there.

Standard Form 258, Request to Transfer, Approval, and Receipt of Records to National Archives of the United States. The form used by Federal agencies to transfer legal custody of permanent records to the NARA.

Temporary records. Records approved by NARA for disposal, either immediately or after a specified retention period. Also called disposable or non-permanent records.

Transfer. The act or process of moving records from one location to another, especially from office space to a Federal records repository.

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