GENERAL
Federal Records Act

The Federal Records Act of 1950, as amended, establishes the framework for records management programs in Federal Agencies. As the primary agency for records management oversight, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible for assisting Federal agencies in maintaining adequate and proper documentation of policies and transactions of the Federal Government. This is done by appraising records (determining record value and final disposition of temporary or permanent records), regulating and approving the disposition of Federal records, operating Federal Records Centers and preserving permanent records.

Federal records may not be destroyed-except in accordance with the procedures described in Chapter 33 of Title 44, United States Code. These procedures allow for records destruction only under the authority of a records disposition schedule approved by the Archivist of the United States. NARA issues a General Records Schedule (GRS) that gives record descriptions of records that are common to most Federal agencies and authorizes record disposals for temporary records. The Department is responsible for developing agency record schedules-with the approval of the Archivist of the United States-that are tailored to our own agency-specific records that are not provided for in the GRS.

Record schedules are mandatory instructions of what to do with records (and nonrecord materials) no longer needed for current Government business. The records schedules indicate how long a document must be kept before it is transferred to a Federal Records Center, destroyed or transferred to NARA for permanent preservation.

The Department's Records Management Program is responsible for ensuring that the legal, financial, evidentiary and historical transactions are recorded accurately and completely. We must document and preserve the historical and nationally important events that have taken place as a result of the Department's educational leadership and support.

As the Department transitions from paper to e-government, we must capture and protect all forms of documentation in accordance with Federal laws and regulations relating to records management. We must provide and implement safeguards against the unlawful removal or loss of the Department's information. This is accomplished by using the GRS and the agency's NARA-approved records disposition schedules for records unique to this agency. Such a schedule ensure the systematic disposal of inactive records and the transfer of permanent records to the National Archives for permanent retention.

References Disclaimer

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

 


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Last Modified: 08/09/2005