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FHWA Order M 1324.1A
This Directive was canceled July 29, 2013.

Order
Subject
FHWA Files Management and Records Disposition Manual: Appendix A
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
M 1324.1A November 4, 1999  

GLOSSARY OF RECORDS MANAGEMENT TERMS

Accession- (1) the transfer of the legal and physical custody of permanent records to the National Archives. (2) the transfer to an FRC for the storage of temporary records. FHWA retains legal custody of the temporary records.

Accession Number- a number assigned by the FRC to identify shipments of records to the FRC.

Administrative Records- records relating to budget, personnel, supply, and similar housekeeping, or facilitative, functions common to most agencies.

Alpha-Numeric Filing System- a classification system where letters are assigned to main divisions and numbers to subdivisions. For example, "PER 5" might stand for "Personnel-Employment."

Case Files- records, regardless of media, documenting a specific action, event, person, place, project, or other matter. Includes personnel, project, and transaction files, which are types of case files.

Charge-out- the act and result of recording the removal and loan of a document or a file to indicate its location. Usually involves the use of a form, such as FHWA Form 855.

Classification- the grouping of records in a standard pattern and indexing the records with the appropriate file designation and cross-reference. This term does not include security classification of documents.

Copy- (1) a reproduction of the contents of an original document, prepared simultaneously or separately and usually identified by function or by method of creation. Copies identified by function include information or reference copy, official file copy, reading or chronological file copy, and suspense or tickler copy. Copies identified by method of creation include carbon copy, and electrostatic copy. (2) in electronic recordkeeping, the action or result of reading from a source, leaving the source data unchanged, and writing the same data elsewhere on a medium that may differ from the source.

Cross-Reference- filing a duplicate of a document or a cross reference form when the same document is needed in two separate subject or case file folders.

Cutoff- breaking, or ending, files at a regular interval, usually at the close of a fiscal or calendar year, to permit their disposal or transfer in complete blocks and, for correspondence files, permit the establishment of new files. Case files are generally cut off at the end of the year in which the case is closed.

Disposal- (1) the action taken regarding temporary records after their retention periods expire and consisting usually of destruction or occasionally donation. (2) also, when so specified, the actions taken regarding non-record materials when no longer needed, especially destruction.

Disposition- (1) the action taken regarding records no longer needed in current office space. This action includes transfer to Federal records centers, transfer of permanent records to the National Archives, and disposal of temporary records. (2) the action taken regarding non-record materials when no longer needed, including screening and destruction.

Electronic Records- any information that is recorded in a form that only a computer can process and that satisfies the definition of Federal Records (see Records).

Federal Records Center (FRC)- a facility, operated by NARA, for the low-cost storage and servicing of Federal records pending disposal or transfer to the National Archives.

File- (1) an accumulation of records or non-record materials arranged according to a plan. (2) a unit, such as a folder, microfilm, or electronic medium, containing such records and non-record material. (3) storage equipment, such as a filing cabinet. (4) in electronic recordkeeping, an organized collection of related data, usually arranged into logical records that are stored together and treated as a unit.

File Break- see Cutoff.

File Station- see Official File Station.

Filing System- a set of policies and procedures for organizing and identifying files or documents to speed their retrieval, use, and disposition. Sometimes called a recordkeeping system.

General Correspondence Files- records arranged and filed according to their general informational, or subject, content. Mainly letters and memorandums, but also forms, reports, and other material, all relating to program and administrative functions, not to specific cases. Also called central, correspondence, or subject files.

General Records Schedule- an NARA-issued schedule governing the disposition of specified records common to several or all Federal Government agencies.

Information Copy- a non-record copy sent to individuals or offices interested in, but not acting on, a matter.

Medium- the physical form of recorded information. Includes paper, film, disk, magnetic tape, and other materials on which information can be recorded.

National Archives- the repository for records that the Archivist of the United States has determined to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the Federal Government.

Non-record- in the same form as records, but having at least one of the following characteristics:

  1. made or received solely for reference or supply,

  2. containing no significant evidence of activities,

  3. extra copies of records,

  4. are workpapers, including drafts used to prepare a letter, report, or other finished document, and/or

  5. are publications, including library materials.

Official File Station- the location where official record copies are maintained. It may be a centralized file unit or an individual office file. It contains copies of correspondence (usually file copies), reports, forms, microfilm, audiovisual, computer tapes, etc., created by the Office of Primary Interest.

The official file station may also contain duplicate copies of incoming correspondence that become official files when interfiled with other records or filed under other systems in that they are basic to documenting a function.

Permanent Records- records appraised by NARA as having sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued preservation by the Federal Government beyond the time they are needed for administrative, legal, or fiscal purposes.

Primary Subject- the prime or major subject designation that identifies and describes groups of related records.

Program Records- records that relate to the unique, substantive functions assigned to the office, such as Federal-aid project files or motor carrier accident case files. It includes both subject and case files.

Reading Files- outgoing correspondence records arranged chronologically, in contrast to those arranged by subject. Sometimes called chronological files.

Recordkeeping System- see Filing System.

Records- all books, papers, maps, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristic, 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. Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience or reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included.

Records belong to the Government rather than to individuals. They are in no sense personal property. They can be legally destroyed only through the procedures of a disposition program.

Records Disposition- see Disposition.

Records Management- the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities related to the creation, maintenance and use, and disposition of records to achieve adequate and proper documentation of Federal policies and transactions and effective and economical management of agency operations.

Records Schedule- a document providing authority for the final disposition of recurring and nonrecurring records. Also called records disposition schedule, records control schedule, or records retention schedule. Includes the SF-115, the GRS, and the agency records schedule, which when completed, becomes a comprehensive records schedule that also contains FHWA disposition instructions for non-record material.

Retirement- the transfer of records to a Federal Records Center.

Scheduled Records- records whose final disposition has been approved by NARA.

Secondary (Second) Subjects- one or more related subjects that are subdivisions of the primary subject.

Series- file units or documents arranged according to a filing system or kept together because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific kind of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use, such as restrictions on access and use. Also called a records series.

Standard Form 115, Request For Records Disposition- the form used by Federal agencies to obtain disposition authority from NARA for records to which the General Records Schedules are inapplicable.

Standard Form 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt- the form to be submitted by agencies to a Federal records center before transferring records there.

Subject Files- see General Correspondence Files.

Temporary Records- records approved by NARA for disposal, either immediately or after a specified retention period. Also called disposable records.

Tertiary (Third) Subjects- one or more related subjects that have been created or established by the division of a secondary subject.

Transfer- (1) the act or process of moving records from one location to another, especially from office space to agency storage facilities or Federal records centers, from one Federal agency to another, or from office or storage space to the National Archives for permanent preservation. (2) the records involved in such a relocation.

Transitory Correspondence Files- correspondence relating to matters of short-term interest, such as acknowledgments for publications received, routine inquiries for publication, and announcements of savings bond campaigns, in contrast to administrative and program correspondence making up the general correspondence files. Also called transitory files.

Working Files- documents such as rough notes, calculations, or drafts assembled or created and used to prepare or analyze other documents. Also called working papers.

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