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NPR 1441.1E
Effective Date: January 29, 2015
Expiration Date: May 23, 2025
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: NASA Records Management Program Requirements (Updated w/Change 3)

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Information Officer

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | ALL |

Appendix A. Definitions

Active records. Records that are referred to on a frequent basis, i.e., daily or weekly, and are maintained in office files for immediate access, use, and reference. Also considered current records, which are necessary for conducting the business of an office.

Appraise, Appraisal. The process of determining the value and, thus, the disposition of records based upon their mission or business/administrative and other uses, their evidential and informational or research value, their arrangement, and their relationship to other records.

Authenticity. See Record Authenticity. Capstone. For purposes of NASA records management, an approach utilized by NASA Records Managers to capture and manage substantive e-mails by selecting the e-mails of certain managers, based on the work and/or position of the e-mail account owner.

Case file. A folder or other file unit containing materials relating to a specific action, transaction, event, person, place, project, or other subject. A case file may include many different individual records or groups of records that all relate to the case. For example: a contract file contains records on a specific contract, such as the solicitation, proposal, correspondence, addenda, reports, and processing information. Other types of case files include personnel actions, surveys, investigative files and studies.

Cloud computing. Technology that allows users to access and use shared data and computing services via the Internet or a Virtual Private Network. It gives users access to resources without having to build infrastructure to support these resources within their own environments or networks.

Cutoff. To break or end active use of records at regular intervals to facilitate continuous disposal, retirement, or transfer of the file/record series, i.e., monthly, yearly, five year blocks. Disposition instructions typically indicate how often the records are cut off and separated from active records.

Destroy. Physical destruction or complete deletion of records; any act which effectively obliterates the informational content of records, such as unauthorized removal of Government documents, tearing up, burning, pulping, erasure (tapes/diskettes/disks).

Disposition. Actions taken with regard to inactive records when they have fulfilled their retention schedule period. The actions include retirement to a records center for temporary storage, transfer to NARA, donation (with NARA approval) to an eligible repository, reproduction via digitization, and destruction. A records disposition may include two or more of these actions, such as retirement after one year to a records center, with retention for five years and then destroy when six years old.

Electronic Information System (EIS). Any electronic data/information system or application that allows creation, storage, or retrieval of electronic data or records. See also INFORMATION SYSTEM.

Electronic record. Record that is stored in a form that only a computer or computer-driven device can process (sometimes also called machine-readable).

Electronically Stored Information (ESI). Data that is created, altered, communicated, and stored in digital form.

Essential records. Information systems and applications, electronic and hardcopy documents, references, and records needed to support essential functions during a continuity event. The two basic categories of essential records are emergency operating records and rights and interest records. Emergency operating records are essential to the continued functioning or reconstitution of an organization. Rights and interest records are critical to carrying out an organization's essential legal and financial functions and vital to the protection of the legal and financial rights of individuals who are directly affected by that organization's activities. The term "vital records" refers to a specific sub-set of essential records relating to birth, death, and marriage documents.

Federal Records. See RECORDS.

Federal Records Center (FRC). A records storage facility operated by NARA for housing and servicing inactive and semi-active records of the Federal government.

File. (1) An accumulation of records maintained in a predetermined physical arrangement. (2) Storage equipment, such as a filing cabinet.

File plan. A detailed list or inventory of the individual files or file categories within a classification scheme. A file plan allows for the systematic identification, filing, and retrieval of records.

General Records Schedules (GRS). A comprehensive listing of records common to several or all Federal agencies, together with retention schedules, issued by NARA and governing the disposition of specified recurring series of records.

Immutability. Unchanging over time or unable to be changed. Inactive records. Records that are no longer required or which are referred to so infrequently in the conduct of current business that they may be removed from the office and either retired to inactive records storage (e.g., an FRC or other approved storage space) or destroyed, depending on the approved disposition.

Information owner. Agency official or organizational unit responsible for the process to which the record information pertains and, thus, having statutory or operational authority for specified information and the responsibility for establishing requirements for controlling the information's generation, collection, processing, dissemination, and disposal. Same as RECORDS OWNER.

Information system. A discrete set of information resources organized for the creation/collection, processing, storage and maintenance, transmission, and dissemination of information, in accordance with defined procedures, whether automated or manual. See also ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SYSTEM.

Information system owner. The official responsible for the overall procurement, development, integration, modification, or operation and maintenance of an information system to meet requirements for managing the information it contains. The system owner may or may not be the same as the information owner.

Integrity. See Record Integrity.

Inventory. A systematic listing of all records series in an office or an agency generally including the location of each series, physical characteristics, and description of content.

Legal Hold. The procedure for identifying and ensuring the preservation of record and nonrecord materials, regardless of format, that might be or might become relevant to pending or potential litigation.

Long term retention. Long term refers to a period of retention which can be anywhere from 10 years to 60+ years. Also see RETENTION PERIOD. Metadata. Contextual information that describes the history, tracking, and/or management of an electronic document.

Nonrecord material. Those Federally owned informational materials that do not meet the statutory definition of records (44 U.S.C. ยง3301) or that have been excluded from coverage by the definition. Includes materials such as extra copies of documents and correspondence that are kept only for convenience or reference, stocks of publications and processed documents, personal records, reference items, and library or museum material intended solely for reference or exhibition. Also see RECORDS.

Office of record. An office designated as the official custodian of records for a specified program, activity, or transaction of an organization. Under functional or decentralized filing plans, the Office of Record or Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) is usually the office which created the record or initiated the action on an incoming record, unless otherwise designated. Official files. An accumulation of official records, regardless of format, documenting an action or providing valuable information.

Permanent records. Records appraised by NARA as having enduring value because they document the organization and functions of the Agency that created or received them, and/or because they contain significant information on persons, things, problems, programs, projects, and conditions with which the Agency dealt. These records are valuable or unique in that they document the history of the Agency and generally record primary missions, functions, responsibilities, and significant experiences or accomplishments of the Agency.

Record Authenticity. An authentic record is one that can be proven to be what it purports to be, to have been created/sent by the person/entity purported to have created or sent it, and to have been created/sent at the time purported. Controls to assure authenticity will protect records against unauthorized addition, deletion, alteration, use, and concealment.

Record Integrity. The property of an electronic record that assures it is complete and unaltered.

Record Reliability. A reliable record is one whose contents can be trusted as a full and accurate representation of the transactions, activities or facts to which they attest and can be depended upon in the course of subsequent transactions or activities.

Record Usability. A usable record is one that can be located, retrieved, presented, and interpreted.

Records. All recorded information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the U.S. 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 the data contained therein. Machine readable materials include, but are not limited to, optical disk, magnetic tape, sound recordings, microforms, and any other such recording medium regardless of how produced. Also see NONRECORD MATERIAL.

Records center. (1) A facility for the economical storage and servicing of records pending their ultimate disposition. (2) An area or facility designated as a temporary staging area. Also see FEDERAL RECORDS CENTER.

Records custodian. A records custodian is an organization or individual designated by the Records Owner as having responsibility for physical and/or electronic storage and protection of records throughout their retention period. They may also have responsibility for records disposition, if so designated.


Records retention schedules. A document governing the NARA-approved mandatory retention period and authorized disposition of all records series of the Agency. Also known as a records schedule, records control schedule, records disposition schedule, retention schedule, or schedules. NASA's schedules are formally called NASA Records Retention Schedules (NRRS).

Reliability. See Record Reliability.

Retention period. The period of time that inactive records are required to be kept after cutoff or other external retention trigger (e.g., date of contract final payment) prior to their destruction.

Retirement. The movement of inactive records to a records center or some other authorized repository for storage until the expiration of their retention period.

Schedule. (1) Agency action to develop and obtain approval for a records retention schedule for a series of records. (2) An official agency action document listing the records series created by the agency. A schedule indicates whether each series of records is permanent or temporary and includes retention periods. Also see RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULES.

Semi-active records. Records that are likely to be required only infrequently, e.g., not needed for day-to-day operations, in the conduct of current business. Semi-active records will normally be maintained in a records center or other offsite storage location pending their ultimate disposal. Also known as semi-current records.

Series. Files or information collections maintained as an aggregated set of individual records because they relate to a common subject or function, result from the same activity, or because of some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or business use. All individual records within a Record Series are governed for retention/disposition purposes by the same Records Retention Schedule item. Sometimes known as a "record series."

Social media. Computer-based virtual communities and networks in which people interact in order to create, share, or exchange information, usually in an informal way. Common examples include wikis, blogs, social networks, photo libraries, virtual worlds, or video sharing sites.

System administrator. Person responsible for the maintenance, configuration, and reliable operation of computer hardware and information systems, including multi-user systems and file servers.


Temporary records. Records approved by NARA via an authorized records schedule for disposal, either immediately after active use or after a specified trigger event or specified period of time after cutoff/retirement. An example of temporary records are Quality Management Review records that, in accordance with NRRS 1/Item 26.5B, may be destroyed when three years old or when no longer needed, whichever is sooner.

Transfer. (1) The movement of records from one owner to another. (2) The movement of records from Agency custody or ownership into the legal custody of NARA or other authorized repository.

Transitory records. A general term for those types of records that lose their value within a short period of time (180 days or less) and that should be separated during filing from records requiring longer retention or until the purpose for which it was created has been accomplished and the record can be destroyed. An example of a transitory record is a routine notification of an upcoming meeting, or a quasi-official notice such as an e-mail reminding an employee of the Combined Federal Campaign or Health Benefits Open Season. It may be destroyed at will.

Usability. See Record Usability.

Vital records. Specific sub-set of essential records relating to birth, death, and marriage documents.

Vital records manager. Individual designated by Center Directors and Director for Headquarters Operations to facilitate management of essential and vital records.

Working papers. Documents such as rough notes, calculations, or drafts, assembled or created and used in the preparation or analysis of other documents.

| TOC | ChangeLog | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | ALL |
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