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Records management is the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting and other managerial activities related to the lifecycle of records, which are conducted to achieve adequate and proper documentation of federal policies and transactions, and effective and economical management of Agency operations.

Records Defined

A federal record is an information resource, in any format, that is:

Records are "all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other recorded information, 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 successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them." (44 U.S.C. § 3301)

Records Lifecycle

The records lifecycle is the life span of a record from its creation or receipt to its final disposition, during which the following events occur:

records lifecycle

Records are maintained and used throughout two lifecycle phases:

A record begins as a document that is created or received. If that document meets the definition of a record, it must be captured in a recordkeeping system. When the record is not needed for current Agency business, it is closed and optionally retired to off-site storage. Finally, the record is either destroyed (if it is temporary) or transferred to the National Archives (if it is permanent).

Records Trustworthiness

Federal laws and regulations require agencies to create and maintain trustworthy records in order to preserve the rights of the government and its citizens and promote quality decision-making and efficient business practices. A record is trustworthy when it is:

An office must ensure a record's trustworthiness by maintaining its:

EPA must be able to demonstrate these characteristics for any record. See the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) for more information on trustworthy records.

Records Responsibilities

Below is a brief description of the EPA roles referenced in this manual. See the Records Management Policy for more information.

Role Responsibilities

Agency Records Officer

The Agency Records Officer (ARO) oversees the Agency records management program and provides guidance on adequate and proper recordkeeping.

Information Management Officer

An Information Management Officer (IMO) oversees an office's records management program as a part of ensuring that information management and technology planning supports the Agency's mission and business needs.

Records Liaison Officer

Each headquarters office, region and laboratory has a Records Liaison Officer (RLO) coordinating its records management program.

Records Contact

Records contacts assist the RLO in implementing an office's records management program.

Records Custodian

Any Agency employee or contractor with responsibilities over a particular set of records is a records custodian. A records custodian must keep the RLO and the records contact informed of any issues regarding the records in their custody.

Records Network

The Records Network is a voluntary e-mail list comprised of RLOs and other Agency staff and contractors with an interest in records management.

Information Resource Managers and System Managers

Information resource managers and system managers must ensure that information systems are designed with consideration for recordkeeping requirements, and that information systems intended to carry out electronic records management comply with federal and EPA requirements.

Agency Staff

All Agency staff must follow EPA's records management policies, procedures and guidance.

Additional guidelines on how to meet these requirements are available from the EPA National Records Management Program (NRMP) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Contents | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4

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