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Records Management

Records Management – The NIH Records Management Program is responsible for planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and conducting other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, records maintenance and use, and records disposition.

Records Management Record Types

OMA's Records Management Program oversees management, maintenance, and disposition of elecontric, non-record, personal papers, temporary records, and permanent records as outlined below. 

Record (Official Record)

Any papers, books, photographs, magnetic tapes, machine readable materials, microfilm, or other materials which document official actions, decisions, policies or procedures. This includes records that:

  • Protect the legal, financial, and other rights of the Government and its citizens;
  • Ensure continuity and consistency in administration;
  • Assist agency officials and their successors in making informed policy and program judgments;
  • Provide information required by the Congress and others to oversee the agency's activities; and
  • Document the agency's organization, structure, and achievements.
The maximum penalty for the willful and unlawful destruction, damage, or alienation of Federal records is a $2,000 fine, 3 years in prison, or both.  Consult with your Records Liaison or the NIH Records Officer if you are unsure how to manage your records. 

Electronic Record

Any information that is recorded by or in a format that only a computer can process and that satisfies the definition of a Federal record.

Non-Record

Any Government owned informational materials such as extra copies of documents kept only for convenience of reference, stocks of publications and of processed documents intended solely for reference or exhibition and not meeting the definition of a record. Examples of non-records:

  • A letter received by an employee concerning his/her personal business;
  • Information copies of correspondence, directives, forms, and other documents on which no administrative action is recorded or action taken;
  • Catalogs, trade journals, and other publications that are received from other Government agencies, commercial firms, or private institutions and that require no action and are not part of a case on which action is taken;
  • Tickler, follow-up, or suspense copies of correspondence, provided they are extra copies of the originals.
  • Duplicate copies of documents maintained in the same file;
  • Routing slips and transmittal sheets adding no information to that contained in the transmittal material;
  • Physical exhibits, artifacts, and other material objects lacking evidential value.

Personal Papers

Documentary materials belonging to an individual that are not used to conduct agency business, relate solely to an individual's own affairs, or are used exclusively for that individual's convenience, must be clearly designated as such and kept separate from the agency's records. Examples of personal papers include:

  • Materials accumulated by an official before joining Government service that are not used subsequently in the transaction of Government business;
  • Materials relating solely to an individual's private affairs, such as outside business pursuits, professional affiliations, or private political associations that do not relate to agency business;
  • Diaries, journals, personal correspondence, or other personal notes, calendars, or schedules that are not prepared or used for, or circulated or communicated in the course of, transacting Government business; and
  • Employee's copy of the Leave and Earnings Statement or personnel action.

A temporary record is any record which has been determined by the Archivist of the United States to have insufficient value (on the basis of current standards) to warrant its preservation by the National Archives and Records Administration. This determination may take the form of:

  • A series of records designated as disposable in an agency records disposition schedule approved by NARA (Standard Form 115, Request for Records Disposition Authority); or
  • A series of records designated as disposable in a General Records Schedule. 

Permanent Records

Permanent record means any Federal record that has been determined by NARA to have sufficient value to warrant its preservation in the National Archives. Permanent records include all records accessioned by NARA's Office of the National Archives and later increments of the same records, and those for which the disposition is permanent on SF 115s, Request for Records Disposition Authority, approved by NARA on or after May 14, 1973.

  • Records that have been determined by the Archivist of the United States to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant preservation; i.e., appraised by NARA and identified as permanent records, are normally transferred to the National Archives of the United States when:
  • They are 30 years old; or
  • At any age when:
    • The originating agency no longer needs to use the records for the purpose for which they were created or in its regular current business; or
    • Agency needs will be satisfied by use of the records in NARA research rooms or by copies of the records; and restrictions on the use of records are acceptable to NARA and do not violate the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Records appraised as permanent that are not yet eligible for transfer because of agency needs or restrictions may be stored in a Federal records center pending transfer.
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Contacting DMS

Division of Management Support

Acting Director, Pamala Cery

National Institutes of Health,

Office of Management Assessment

6011 Executive Blvd., Suite 601, MSC 7669

Rockville, MD 20852

Phone: (301) 496-2832 or (301) 496-4606

Fax: (301) 402-0169

Want to know more about allegations?

DPI has the authority to conduct reviews using certain rules and acts.

Learn More About Allegations
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