(1) Papers eligible for filing include:
(a) incoming communications on which required action has been completed e.g., incoming letters and memorandums concerning matters pertinent to administrative or substantive functions of the office;
(b) office copies of outgoing communications, reports, etc. e.g., official "grid," or other designated file copies retained by the originating office as an official record of action taken;
(c) memorandums of conversations, memorandums to file, minutes of meetings, and other papers created within the office and not transmitted elsewhere, but needed to record the business affairs of the office;
(d) agreements, contracts, or other documents having legal significance (signed copies or confirmed copies);
(e) fiscal or financial records that document the acquisition, distribution, utilization, or expenditure of funds;
(f) forms bearing information about personnel, property, accounts, procurement, shipping, programs, projects, and commodities;
(g) original copies of reports, or cleared final drafts of publications, along with the necessary background and supporting documents that reflect conclusions of studies, surveys, and investigations of the agency; and
(h) any other papers that establish, confirm, implement, clarify, or recommend FHWA policies, programs, positions, and procedures.
(2) Papers "not to be filed" are most likely to include:
(a) papers that agency rules require be sent to another office location for filing;
(b) papers to be circulated in the office prior to filing;
(c) papers authorized for destruction; and
(d) personal papers mistakenly placed in the "to be filed" basket.
(3) To assure efficiency of documentation, the recordkeeper must assemble directly related records and check for completeness. For case-filed records, this means filing together the incoming letter, a copy of the reply, and any pertinent attachments, enclosures, or background.
(4) For a transaction involving general correspondence subject files, the recordkeeper removes any earlier correspondence already on file, determines if any segments of the current correspondence are lacking, and assembles the complete papers in reverse-date order (earliest papers at the bottom of the pile). This is often called filing "under date of latest action."
(1) A multi-page communication.
(2) A report, contract, or agreement.
(3) A communication with its enclosures.
(1) Primary Subject. The primary subject is the prime or major subject designation that identifies and describes groups of related records, e.g., Personnel, or Contracts and Procurement. Primary subject labels should be placed in the first or left-hand position on the file folder tab. Example:
(2) Secondary Subject. One or more related subjects that are subdivisions of the primary subject.
Secondary subject labels should be placed in the second or middle position on the folder tab. Example:
(3) Tertiary Subject. One or more related subjects that have been created or established by the division of a secondary subject. Tertiary subject labels should be placed in the third or right-hand position on the folder tab. Example:
Note: The position of the subject-expansion file label on the folder is the same as that of the primary, secondary, or tertiary file code to which the subject-expansion file relates.
Case file labels must show clearly what group of case files each belongs to. Show the correct file code, followed by the name of the case file in parentheses, on the top line, and the record's disposition in the lower-right corner of the label. The subject title of the file classification may be omitted. (An abbreviation of the subject title may be included, if necessary). Example:
(1) The following guidelines apply to the establishment of case files:
(a) establish case file titles according to the filing feature most often used in referring to the case. For example, by name or number.
(b) ensure that case file folders whose contents are significantly related are cross-referenced one to another.
(2) Case files may be arranged:
(a) alphabetically by name of person, State, city, company, etc., or by grouping within a geographical location, such as cases within a city, State, or area.
(b) according to a number assigned to identify the case.
Note: Place the label in the same position on the non-record folder as the label on the preceding subject folder.
Note: Although establishing a new set of file folders is time-consuming, this action should be taken as frequently as reference service will permit, generally once a year. Breaking, or cutting off, files is basic to a good filing operation. Throughout the year recordkeepers should place all closed or inactive case files in a separate file. To cut off general correspondence subject files and establish a new set of file folders, recordkeepers generally use the guides from the previous year's file and bring forward any material needed for the new file.