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In the Loop - September 2007

Some In The Loop articles and links are pertinent to EPA staff and are available to EPA Intranet users only.

Tip of the Week: System Life Cycle Management records (25-SEP-2007)

Staff responsible for EPA's information systems follow a System Life Cycle Management (SLCM) policy to ensure compliance with EPA's Enterprise Architecture and alignment with IT management processes.

SLCM Phases Supporting Records
Definition Documentation of the purpose, scope and requirements of the system.
Acquisition/Development Documentation of the design or acquisition of the system.
Implementation Documentation of the establishment of the system.
Operations and Maintenance Documentation of the system's ongoing function and maintenance, including risk assessments, testing, recertification, security, and accounting reviews.
Termination Documentation of the archiving or destruction of the system's components and/or data as authorized by an approved records schedule.

You must ensure that records supporting compliance with the SLCM are captured into an approved recordkeeping system.

Some information systems have their own records schedule that governs the retention of SLCM records (e.g., schedule 054, item e covers supporting documentation for the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS)).

For SLCM records related to systems that do not have their own schedule, use:

  • 128 - for security plans, disaster recovery plans, documentation of IT risks
  • 138 - for financing of IT resources and services
  • 144 - for all remaining SLCM records

Tip of the Week: Trustworthy records (18-SEP-2007)

Federal agencies are required to create and maintain trustworthy records. The characteristics of a trustworthy record are:

  • Reliability - gives a full and accurate account of what took place
  • Authenticity - proven to be what it claims to be, and created or sent from its reported source
  • Usability - can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted when needed
  • Integrity - proven to be complete and unaltered

Ensure your records are trustworthy by maintaining and safeguarding the following components:

  • Content - the information contained within the record
  • Context - related records and cross-references that add meaning to what occurred or support the record's authenticity and reliability
  • Structure - the physical and logical format of the record

See the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) for more information.

Tip of the Week: Recordkeeping requirements (11-SEP-2007)

Each office within EPA is required to establish recordkeeping requirements in accordance with EPA and program policy, including:

  • what records are required to document your activities;
  • who is responsible for maintaining the records (i.e., the records custodian);
  • where the records will be located (e.g., a central file room, decentralized work stations);
  • how to maintain drafts and working papers if their retention is not specified in an applicable records schedule;
  • where inactive records will be stored (e.g., separate onsite space, an offsite facility);
  • how to retire, retrieve, and track records;
  • what format is preferred for certain records (e.g., contracts maintained in paper format, scientific data in electronic format),
  • how to preserve records that require special considerations (e.g., audiovisual material); and
  • how to properly dispose of records that have met their retention.

Review your recordkeeping requirements regularly and update them as needed.

Tip of the Week: Sustainable formats for electronic records (04-SEP-2007)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has issued new FAQs on selecting sustainable formats for electronic records. Records on a "sustainable format" can be accessed throughout their lifecycle, even when the technology changes.

The FAQs include guidance on:

  • the characteristics of a sustainable format,
  • how agencies can enhance the sustainability of formats, and
  • if sustainability is guaranteed.

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