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In the Loop - January 2009

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

TIP of the Month: Photographic Records (06-JAN-2009)

Beginning this month, the "Tip of the Week" will be a "Tip of the Month." If you have suggestions for future topics, please send an e-mail to records@epa.gov.

Photographs that provide documentation of decisions or actions taken on behalf of the Agency are records. Like other special media records, photographs require certain conditions to ensure their usefulness. These conditions include:

  • captions identifying the photo (e.g., name and date of event, names of people)
  • storage in containers or enclosures that prevent damage (e.g., scratches, fading),
  • environments that offer cool temperatures (e.g., less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and low humidity (e.g., 30 - 50%) and
  • using copies for everyday purposes while keeping originals properly protected.

Photographs and other audiovisuals supporting records related to EPA's environmental missions (e.g., enforcement actions, remedial site files) must be linked to the appropriate file (e.g., cross reference sheet in the related file and notation on the audiovisual label) and dispositioned according to the instructions for the records they support. Schedule 738 provides disposition instructions for audiovisual records not related to EPA's environmental missions.

If you have copies of photographs that are reused for multiple purposes (e.g., presentations), they may be considered technical reference materials and are covered by Schedule 008.

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