USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey Manual

Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule

432-1-S5

January 13, 2009


Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

FEDERAL RECORDS MANAGEMENT

USING THE GD SCHEDULE

PERSONAL PAPERS

VITAL RECORDS

PHYSICAL SAMPLES

RECORDKEEPING RESPONSIBILITIES

New and Current Employees

Retiring Employees

Peer Review Publications Records

Maintaining Records

E-Mail

APPENDIX 1

Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule

APPENDIX 2

Decision Chart for Determining a Federal Record

APPENDIX 3

Glossary of Records Management Terms

APPENDIX 4

Where to Get Help

INTRODUCTION

Information is fundamental to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission. The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; to minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; to manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and to enhance and protect the quality of life. The Geology Discipline (GD) addresses the needs of the Nation for accurate and timely information and research on geologic hazards, resources, and geologic processes. GD provides essential scientific information, research, and products to aid the economic development and management of the Nation's earth resources and to reduce the human and monetary effects of natural disasters. The GD is responsible for monitoring, assessing, and researching causes of earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes worldwide, conducting geologic mapping of land and seafloor resources, and assessing energy and mineral resources on national and global scales. GD produces more than 2000 scientific reports, maps, and digital data publications each year and is committed to making the information more accessible and useful to a wide array of users, including scientists, educators, policy makers, and the general public.

Scientific research, the core business of the USGS GD, requires careful management of information. In the scientific method, the validity of scientific results depends on thorough documentation of underlying data and methods so that other scientists can freely examine, question, and experimentally replicate them, as appropriate. For this reason, GD must carefully manage not just the publications and databases that are its products, but also the data that are acquired in laboratories and field work, records of data processing and analysis, and communications with other scientists during the review process. These types of records[1] are created daily as GD employees perform their tasks and duties.

Organized and useful scientific information is the legacy of each USGS scientist and is the agency's service to the nation. New scientific studies use the results of previous work - data, as well as interpretations and publications - in designing research problems and strategies, testing hypotheses, and extrapolating research results geographically and temporally. Increasingly, USGS scientific information is also being integrated with other national databases, especially in the area of geospatial information. When research records are compiled and integrated into collections and electronic databases, their scientific validity and usefulness depends on maintenance of databases and catalogs that connect the data with originating research projects and methods.

Records management is a Federal Government process that sets legal requirements and provides organizational assistance for managing information. This Users Guide accompanies the 2009 revision of the GD Research Records Schedule (see Appendix 1). The records schedule is the legal document that identifies a process for organizing, disposing of and maintaining GD research information. Research information relating to work performed in the Biology, Geography, and Water Disciplines and the Geospatial Information Office (GIO) and Special Geologic Studies Group are covered under those disciplines' or office schedules. Records relating to management and administrative functions (e.g., financial, time and attendance, payroll, planning, reporting and other management functions) are covered under the USGS General Records Schedule (USGS General Records Disposition Schedule, 432-1-S1 (Revised April 2003) which can be found at http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/schedule/432-1-s1/index1.html.

Footnotes

[1]
All first-instances of specific terms in this users guide will appear in Bold. See Appendix 3 for their definitions.

FEDERAL RECORDS MANAGEMENT

Employees create and maintain records as they perform their tasks and duties. Researchers document their findings, supervisors assign duties and measure performance, administrators create policies, all employees complete time and attendance records, get reimbursed for government travel, and use e-mail. All these records must be managed so they can be found and used for as long as they are needed. Some records may be so significant that they are permanently retained. Others may be kept for a shorter period of time. Maintaining records for as long as they are needed and doing so at minimal cost and effort are the primary goals of records management.

Federal law (36 CFR 1220.30-42 and 44 USC 3101 and following) requires each agency to manage its records. The unauthorized destruction, deletion, or disposal of any record generated by the Federal Government is forbidden by U.S. Code 18 USC 2071, and can result in prosecution punishable by a $2,000.00 fine and three years in prison.

There is a very specific definition of a Federal record in laws and regulations. A Federal record is anything that is recorded in any form (e.g., audio, video, photographs, databases, papers) if it meets the following two tests:
  1. It is created or received in the course of Federal business, and;
  2. It is worthy of preservation for a given time.

The second of the two is a subjective element, but is nonetheless significant. You do not need to keep e-mail spam, business-related notices that go to everyone (record copies are usually maintained by the sender), non-work related materials that you receive, and other items. Some materials are ephemeral by their nature. For instance, a meeting reminder can be discarded when the meeting is over. Similarly, copies which you make for ease of use are convenience copies and can be discarded when you have no further need for them so long as you do not discard the record copy.

Federal records management serves three main purposes:
  1. To protect the rights of citizens, including the ability to access information they need for entitlements, knowledge of their environment, and other purposes;
  2. To document the actions of Federal officials in order to hold them accountable for the funds and tasks entrusted to them;
  3. To preserve a record of the national experience so that historians, scientists, and others can understand and build upon the work done by the agency.

To ensure compliance with Federal law, the USGS has a Records Management Program (RMP) in the GIO. The RMP sets agency policy for records management. The RMP also confers with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is charged with records management throughout the Federal government. NARA sets general policy, maintains the nation's permanent records, and approves the destruction of records when necessary. NARA also stores temporary records on a cost recovery basis. The USGS transfers permanent and temporary records to NARA according to standards at the time of transfer.

Throughout the GD there are records management specialists, including a discipline records officer in Reston, Virginia, and regional records officers in each region. Some field offices and teams also have a records coordinator or information manager (see Appendix 4). These records management specialists coordinate GD records management with the RMO and with NARA as necessary. Most important, they assist GD employees in taking care of research and administrative records consistent with the applicable rules and regulations.

The key to compliance with Federal law is the GD Research Records Schedule (see Appendix 1). A records disposition schedule is a legal document approved by the Archivist of the United States after a review that includes listing in the Federal Register. It is the primary tool used to manage records and it applies to all records regardless of media (e.g., paper, electronic, film). The records disposition schedule lists categories of records and how long records must be maintained.

The GD Research Records Schedule gives criteria for dividing research records into series and states how long records in each category are to be kept. It legally authorizes the USGS to transfer permanent records to NARA, and to dispose of temporary records when there is no further use for them. However, any destruction, deletion or disposal of Federal records must be approved by the GD Records Management Officer (RMO) beforehand (see Appendix 4).

USING THE GD RECORDS SCHEDULE

The GD Research Records Schedule is based on "big buckets," which means that records are listed in broad categories that are based on function. The two main divisions are research records and indices. Each is subdivided to specify appropriate retention times. Research records categories are appropriate for almost all GD research records, including collections of data representing multiple projects. Indices categories should be used for databases and catalogs that connect research data with projects, publications, laboratories, and field activities. The GD Research Records Schedule is media neutral: each category includes records on any media (e.g., electronic, paper, film). In some cases paper records may be digitized (e.g., scanned). In these cases the USGS must decide which version is the official record. It is possible to classify both versions as the official record.

GD projects may include more than one field activity and also integrate information from previous projects. As research projects build on each other, they create collections of scientific data and a network of related information that can best be organized and located using digital indices. These collections of data and related information are permanent records in the first research records category of the GD schedule; the corresponding digital indices are permanent records in the first indices category. Other records may be organized in "case files" that collect all the records related to a particular project, field activity, or task. These can fit into any of the research records categories, depending on their value for future scientists and others.

All records must be organized. It is part of science to keep research records in a logically organized filing system so that they can be found by others. For compliance with Federal records management, employees must also mark paper folders, boxes, drawers, and computer directories/folders with the appropriate GD Research Records Schedule category. Employees must also have written file plans for the different types of files maintained in their offices and on their computers, describing how they are identified, how they are classified in the GD schedule, where they are stored, and how they should be indexed for retrieval. A shared file plan is often maintained by a project, work group, or Team so that co-workers can easily share information. Effective file plans may be passed down through generations of workers. When leaving the agency or when your records are eventually deposited in NARA, others will use your file plan to retrieve records you created. Consult with a records management specialist to ensure that your file plan is adequate.

In the schedule, each category of records (bucket) has a prescribed retention time. Retention times are defined relative to cutoff times, rather than record creation dates, so that groups of related records are retained for the same time period. Once the retention time is reached, records may be destroyed providing there are no legal or other holds put on them (check with a records management specialist). Permanent records must be transferred to NARA according to the instructions in the GD Research Records Schedule. A records management specialist can assist you with the transfer.

Until records reach their retention time, it is the responsibility of the USGS to maintain them in a safe and organized manner. The GD Research Records Schedule allows flexibility in developing file plans to balance competing records needs: easy access for USGS researchers who are continuing to use the records, minimizing damage to record media, and making records available to researchers outside the USGS. For example, many types of field records are preserved in USGS libraries where they are accessible to the Nation's geological community. Other records are sent to Federal Records Centers maintained by NARA, where they remain property of the USGS while benefiting from the care of professional archivists.

The same rules for record retention and disposal apply to electronic records. This means the USGS is responsible for ensuring that all electronic records, regardless of format, are readable throughout their retention period. Most electronic records depend on software, hardware, and storage products (e.g., tapes, discs) that will become obsolete. To manage electronic records, the USGS may need to purchase software that emulates older software to allow files in an older format to be read. Alternatively, data can be migrated to a newer version or type of software. In many cases, electronic records will need to be recopied to new storage products (tapes, discs, etc.) before the shelf life of these products expire. It is recommended that within 3-5 years of creation, electronic records should be migrated to newer media.

In the case of electronic records, NARA will accept active records as well as electronic records that are no longer in use. This will satisfy the need to transfer permanent records and also provide a back up that will be stored in a NARA facility. NARA will address format and transfer methods according to regulations in place at the time of the transfer. NARA has a major initiative addressing Electronic Records Management (ERM, http://www.archives .gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/erm-overview.html). Among the products that are being developed as part of this initiative are "Guidance Products" (http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/erm-products.html) that provide "Transfer Instructions" for various electronic formats, such as PDF, geospatial data, and digital photographs. These guidelines and regulations are subject to change as technology evolves. A records management specialist can assist you with transferring electronic records.

If you have records in your office that you think do not fit the GD schedule categories, consult a records management specialist who will ensure that these records are scheduled. You cannot destroy or delete Federal records until they are appropriately scheduled.

PERSONAL PAPERS

Everyone maintains some personal papers at work such as pay and leave statements and copies of performance evaluations. These documents belong to the employee if the agency also has copies for its files. Remember to safely store any papers that contain your privacy information such as SSN or credit card numbers.

Some people keep work samples that demonstrate their abilities. The ownership of such samples is a gray area. The agency has a right to control documents it paid you to create. It may have a security interest in limiting access to those records. Be sure to check with your supervisor before you retain a work sample even if it is not a record copy.

In all cases, personal papers must be kept separate from government records. When you leave the agency, be sure to take only those records that are unquestionably yours.

VITAL RECORDS

Vital records are those that are essential for resuming business operations after a disaster or emergency. Vital records are managed in compliance with Continuation of Operation Plans (COOP). Vital records (paper or electronic) are copied and stored offsite in order to be prepared for a disaster. Although vital records are generally administrative records, some may relate to research project management, or to scientific information on natural hazards. If you believe you are responsible for any vital records, consult a records management specialist.

PHYSICAL SAMPLES

Many GD scientists collect and study physical samples, such as rocks, fossils, and cores. Associated with these samples are records of collection method, location, and time, and the results of analyses. These may be permanent records, and are evaluated according to the same criteria used to evaluate other research records. The samples themselves must be managed using records that track their location and movement. These Physical Sample Control Records fall into 1900-01d of the schedule. The physical samples themselves are not covered by Federal Records Management law, and cannot be transferred to NARA. In many cases, the Smithsonian Institution is the appropriate repository for physical samples that USGS no longer needs.

RECORDKEEPING RESPONSIBILITIES

New and Current Employees

Every Federal employee and contractor working for the Federal Government has recordkeeping responsibilities. Everyone must keep records properly. To get started:

Retiring Employees

If you haven't established a filing system and file plan, now is the time to do it. Ask a records management specialist for help. The file plan will follow your permanent records to records centers and archives, to ensure that your scientific legacy is not lost.

As you clean out your office:

Peer Review Publications Records

USGS publications are approved for publication following a peer review process. The Office of Management and Budget requires that records are maintained on this process.

It is recommended that you keep all the relevant and necessary publication records in a case file (a file organized around a discreet activity). The file would be closed upon publication and filed with research, project, or other peer review records depending on the nature of the publication or the research project. Some offices keep these "publication approval packages" in a central file. Publications are covered in the USGS General Records Disposition Schedule - Chapter 1300 (http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/schedule/432-1-s1/ch1300.html#plan).

Maintaining Records

Take care of the records that are entrusted to you.

E-Mail

USGS policy is to print e-mail that meets the definition of a Federal record and store it with the research or project files. Determine if a given e-mail meets the definition of a Federal record (created or received in the course of business, and worthy of preservation for even a short time). E-mail should be filed with the records pertinent to that e-mail and in the same records deposition schedule categories as other research or administrative records.

Keep in mind, that e-mail is sometimes treated as a conversation. Two or more people respond to an e-mail and it keeps growing as people add to the message. You are responsible for determining when that "conversation" is ended and the e-mail record can be printed. Because some participants may have created a separate "thread," take care that you print the comments of all participants.

APPENDIX 1

Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule

Introduction

This schedule is media neutral - it covers all records regardless of media.

Records are listed here by function and this schedule examines only research records. Within the research function are two primary divisions:

Research records in the Geology Discipline (GD) are often kept in the form of collections that compile and integrate data records from multiple scientific investigations. These collections include log books, field records, laboratory analyses, remote sensing data, and similar electronic records stored on network or hard drives, CDs (compact disks), DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), etc.

When filed as collections of like records, indices and metadata often link records with projects, events, or research. That includes data acquisition, processing, and quality-control activities. Individual research projects can also be documented in case files (records that pertain to only one project or event).

Many collections and associated activity records are listed under research records in 1900-01a Significant Research Records (permanent). However, some research projects are minor or do not achieve enough results to justify placing them in the collections. The principal researcher should maintain these records under 1900-01b Secondary Research Records or 1900-01c Minor Research Records depending on how useful the records may be to future researchers. Certain projects that were suggested, but never received funding are filed under 1900-01e Unfunded Projects.

Other records, such as copies of materials secured as part of the research which are not used in significant research projects, personal notes, preliminary versions of calculations, models, computer code, and other materials produced in the course of a research that will not be useful for subsequent research, are filed under 1900-01f Research Support Records.

As stated above, many research records in 1900-01a are filed as collections. Researchers, data managers, information scientists, and others create indices that capture significant data about the research, including the project description. These indices can be in the form of catalogs or as metadata lists. The electronic indices can be structured or unstructured (i.e., a list of metadata tags). All indices, regardless of format, need to be retained for the life of the record. Indices and metadata are filed under 1900-02.

The schedule includes criteria to help place research records into the appropriate categories. For further information on USGS Records Management and the use of this schedule see the GD Research Records User's Guide.

Return to Top


U. S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule

1900-01 Research Records || 1900-02 Indices/Metadata || Appendix 1 - Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule || Appendix 2 - Decision Chart for Determining a Federal Record || Appendix 3 - Glossary of Records Management Terms || Appendix 4 - Where to Get Help

USGS Records Schedule

Scientific Research Conducted in the Geology Discipline

1900-01 Research Records
Records related to research conducted in the Geology Discipline. Records represent scientific data and all aspects of research including project development, demonstration, distribution, assessment, testing, and related tasks. Research leaders, section leaders, scientists, technicians, engineers, and computer scientists create these records.

Description: Records document the planning, history, results, and outcome of a scientific project or any other research conducted as part of USGS's goals and missions or under the supervision of USGS employees.

These records include planning documents (e.g. proposals, BASIS+ project descriptions - BASIS descriptions and similar records should be filed as administrative records and will have a separate retention). Also included are documents that evaluate or appraise a project or other research during its course. Although administrative in nature, planning documents should not be removed from the files even if copies exist elsewhere.

Records include original observations such as maps and charts with notes and measurements, field records, sample identification notes, analyses and observations made with electronic or other equipment, laboratory notebooks, databases that contain scientific observations, modeling and sampling methodologies, and any other research related documentation.

Most projects or research will end with a publication, which could be paper or web-based. If the publication is a USGS publication (other than an open-file report), the record would include only a reference for the publication. If the publication is a USGS open-file report or an outside publication, then the record would include one copy. Records in this category may include one copy of an unpublished report, map, chart, or other product along with supporting documentation.

Retention: Many of these records have permanent or long-term temporary values. Permanent records will be transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) when USGS has no further use for them.

In the case of electronic records, USGS may "pre-accession" permanent records by sending a copy to NARA before the cutoff or transfer instructions stated below. This action will satisfy the requirement to send permanent records to NARA as well as providing another repository for USGS electronic records.

Researchers and their supervisors, in consultation with records managers when necessary, will decide if records will be retained permanently or temporarily based on the following criteria.

Retention Selection Criteria: Research records meeting one or more of the following criteria are considered permanent and will be clearly labeled as such. When they are transferred to NARA, all permanent research records must have a statement certifying that they have been appropriately reviewed according to USGS policy.
  • Records of scientific investigations that are deemed to be Influential Scientific Information or Highly Influential Scientific Assessments (per Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin for Peer Review, December 15, 2004):
    • Scientific information that USGS reasonably determines will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or private sector decisions.
    • An evaluation of a body of scientific or technical knowledge, which typically synthesizes multiple factual inputs, data, models, assumptions, and/or applies best professional judgment to bridge uncertainties in the available information.
    • A scientific assessment is a subset of "influential scientific information" and is considered "highly influential" by the agency or the OIRA Administrator [Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB] determines the dissemination could have a potential impact of more than $500 million in any one year on either the public or private sector or that the dissemination is novel, controversial, or precedent setting, or has significant interagency interest.

  • Long-term data collections and monitoring efforts of national or international interest.
  • Datasets that are irreplaceable, relevant to the USGS mission, and in a condition which allows future use.
  • Scientific investigations that receive national or international awards of distinction.
  • Works of prominent USGS investigators of widely recognized professional stature, or who have received national or international recognition outside their professional discipline.
  • Activities that result in a significant improvement in public health, safety, or other vital public interest.
  • Significant contributions to new national or international environmental policies, or had a significant impact on the development of new national or international scientific, political, economic, or social priorities.
  • Subjects of widespread national or international media attention.
  • Materials related to significant social, political, or scientific controversy.
  • Activities subject to extensive Congressional, Department of the Interior, or other government agency scrutiny or investigation.
  • Precedents that significantly change USGS scientific investigations.
  • All project publications.

1900-01a Significant Research Records
Records in this category are those that meet one of the above criteria. These records may be datasets, field records, and other information necessary to understand a research project. They may also be connected to other data through metadata, indices, or other means.

The Geology Discipline collects physical samples as part of its research. Records on samples include descriptions of the samples, how and why they were collected, the name of the collector, and the place of collection. If the physical samples are transferred to another organization, copies of these records may accompany the transfer at the discretion of the receiving organization. The original (or copy in the case of electronic records) documentation will remain with USGS and scheduled with the appropriate project records.

Media: Records may be in any media including electronic, photographs (digital and film), video, paper, etc.

System Documentation: Any manuals, software code, etc. necessary to understand, interpret, or preserve electronic records listed in this item, must be retained and transferred with the records they support.

PERMANENT.
Cutoff after the completion of the project or when USGS has no expected research, business, or other purposes for the records, whichever is later.

In the case of physical samples records, cutoff will be when the samples are consumed in research or transferred to another entity.

NOTE: Do not transfer samples to NARA, only records about samples.

Transfer physical records to the FRC in five (5) year blocks and accession to NARA 20 years after cutoff.

Transfer copies of permanent electronic records to NARA every three (3) years regardless of cutoff with any finding aids and related documentation (i.e., 1900-02a) as specified in 36 CFR 1228.270 or according to standards applicable at the time.

1900-01b Secondary Research Records
Research records that do not meet the criteria as permanently significant records.

Research records that may be appropriate for long-term retention are those that:
  • Have implications or usefulness for future scientific investigations.
  • Might benefit from the passage of time for determining their value.

Records may also include background materials maintained by individual researchers used to understand scientific advances, learn new techniques, or to prepare for a new project. Records may include information on physical samples such as descriptions of the samples, how and why they were collected, the name of the collector, and the place of collection. If the physical samples are transferred to another organization, copies of these records may accompany the transfer at the discretion of the receiving organization. The original (or copy in the case of electronic records) documentation will remain with USGS and scheduled with the appropriate project records.

Media: Records may be in any media including electronic, photographs (digital and film), video, paper, etc.

System Documentation: Any manuals, software code, etc. necessary to understand, interpret, or preserve electronic records listed in this item, must be retained for the full retention.

Temporary.

Temporary.

Cutoff 1 year after project completion, cancellation, or termination.

In the case of physical samples records, cutoff will be when the samples are consumed in research or transferred to another entity.

NOTE: Do not transfer samples to NARA for temporary storage, only records about samples.

Transfer to off site storage 5 years after cutoff.

Destroy 40 years after cutoff.

1900-01c Minor Research Records
Research records similar to Category 1900-01a and 1900-01b that may be appropriate for short-term retention are those that:
  • Relate only to narrowly-focused, short-term tasks with the primary purpose of providing a client with an answer to a specific, local problem/question.
  • Are not part of any scientific investigation of larger scope.
  • Do not have the potential for developing into an expanded investigation.

If physical samples records are included and if the physical samples are transferred to another organization, copies of these records may accompany the transfer at the discretion of the receiving organization. The original (or copy in the case of electronic records) documentation will remain with USGS and scheduled with the appropriate project records.

Media: Records may be in any media including electronic, photographs (digital and film), video, paper, etc.

System Documentation: Any manuals, software code, etc. necessary to understand, interpret, or preserve electronic records listed in this item, must be retained for the full retention.

Cutoff at end of the calendar year in which research was completed.

In the case of physical samples records, cutoff will be when the samples are consumed in research or transferred to another entity.

NOTE: Do not transfer samples to NARA for temporary storage, only records about samples.

Transfer records to off site storage 2 years after cutoff or maintain in agency space.

Destroy 5 years after cutoff.

1900-01d Physical Sample Control Records
Records include databases, inventory lists, or similar routine information used to track locations, movement, receipt, etc. while samples are in USGS custody.

If these records include information in how, where, when samples were collected, file these records under Items 1900-01a or 1900-01b, whichever is most appropriate.

Cutoff at end of the calendar year in which samples were consumed, disposed of, or given to another Federal agency, state entity, or cultural institution.

Transfer records to off site storage 2 years after cutoff or maintain in agency space.

Destroy 10 years after cutoff.

1900-01e Unfunded Projects
Records related to research proposals that are not funded or approved. Records include proposals, background materials, support documentation, correspondence, and justifications for and against the proposal.
Cutoff at end of the calendar year the project is disapproved.

Transfer records to off site storage 2 years after cutoff or maintain in agency space.

Destroy 5 years after cutoff.

1900-01f Research Support
Records include copies of materials secured as part of research (illustrations, photographs, references used as background material, etc.) which were not used in significant research projects.

Also included are personal notes; preliminary versions of calculations, models, and computer code; and other materials produced in the course of a research that will not be useful for subsequent research.

Cutoff at end of the calendar year the project is completed.

Transfer records to off site storage 2 years after cutoff or maintain in agency space.

Destroy 5 years after cutoff.

1900-01g Physical Sample Gift Records
Records include deed of gifts, transfer receipts, or similar documentation when samples are given to any other Federal agency, state entity, cultural institution, university or any other such organization. NOTE: this description does not include physical samples, only records of samples.
PERMANENT.

Cutoff at the end of the calendar year in which samples were given to another entity.

Transfer to FRC in five (5) year blocks and accession to NARA 20 years after cutoff.

Transfer copies of permanent electronic records to NARA every three (3) years, regardless of cutoff, with any finding aids and related documentation as specified in 36 CFR 1228.270 or according to standards applicable at the time.

NOTE: Do not transfer samples to NARA, only records about samples.

1900-02 Indices/Metadata
These are records that locate, categorize, identify, or maintain links between other records. Most of these records are relational or unstructured databases or similar catalogs of data. A few are lists of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

Retention: These records are continually updated. In some cases, links to temporary research records, unfunded proposals, and similar are deleted in the ordinary course of business. Links to permanent records must be maintained permanently.

Media: Most of these records are electronic, but can be paper-based catalogs or any other media.


1900-02a Indices/Metadata to Permanent Data
Any index, collection of metadata, catalog or other document, database, data set, or any other format that contains links to or between research records that are listed in this schedule (see Items 1900-01a and 1900-01g) as permanent is also permanent. Indices and metadata record the connections between primary research records and the projects in which they were created and used. They do not include unique research records.

System Documentation: Any manuals, software code, etc. necessary to understand, interpret, or preserve electronic records listed in this item, must be retained and transferred with the records they support.

PERMANENT.

Cutoff when records they relate to are cutoff.

Transfer copies of permanent electronic records to NARA every three (3) years regardless of cutoff with any finding aids and related documentation (i.e., 1900-01a) as specified in 36 CFR 1228.270 or according to standards applicable at the time.

NOTE: Transfer any physical indices other than manuals or software documentation to the FRC in five (5) year blocks and accession to NARA 20 years after cutoff.

1900-02b Indices/Metadata to Exclusively Temporary Data
Any index, collection of metadata, catalog or other document, database, data set, or any other format that only contains links to or between research records listed in this schedule as temporary is also temporary. Indices and metadata record the connections between primary research records and the projects in which they were created and used. They do not include unique research records.

System Documentation: Any manuals, software code, etc. necessary to understand, interpret, or preserve electronic records listed in this item, can be destroyed with the records.

Cutoff at the end of the calendar year when there is no further use for the index.

Destroy when related asset (1900-01b and 1900-01c) is destroyed.

Return to Top

APPENDIX 2

Decision Chart for Determining a Federal Record

USGS Geologic Division:  Records Decision Chart

APPENDIX 3

Glossary of Records Management Terms

Administrative Records: Records that deal with administrative and management matters such as time and attendance, employee recruiting and evaluation, planning, purchasing, and many other concerns. They support USGS research work, but they do not document that work (see Research Records).
Convenience Copy: This is not a Federal record, provided the record copy is maintained appropriately. Many people may print out an electronic Federal record for ease of reference or portability. Such copies can be destroyed when you have no further use for them.
Cutoff: Cutting off or ending files at regular intervals, usually at the close of a fiscal or calendar year, to permit their disposal or transfer in complete blocks or to permit the establishment of new files on the same subject.
Electronic Records: These are records that meet the definition of a Federal record but require a computer to view, manage, and use.
Federal Record: There is a very specific definition of a Federal record in laws and regulations. A Federal record is anything that is recorded in any form (i.e., audio, video, photographs, databases, papers, etc) if it meets the following two tests:
  1. It is created or received in the course of Federal business, and;
  2. It is worthy of preservation for a given time.
File Plan: Based on the records disposition schedule, the file plan describes those records held in an office. It discusses how each group of records is filed, how they are disposed of, and other information. Using it, the office can control the records it produces.
Life cycle: Records pass through stages including creation, maintenance, use, disposition, etc. Each type of record has a different life cycle, but all records have one.
Permanent Records: Records determined by NARA and USGS as having sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued preservation by the Federal Government beyond the time they are needed for administrative, legal, active research, or fiscal purposes. Temporary records can be destroyed after a certain time, but permanent records will be transferred to NARA.
Research Records: Those records that directly document the USGS mission (see also Administrative Records).
Record Copy: The agency must maintain a record copy of each Federal record it produces. However, an agency may have many copies of the same document. An agency must decide which copy is the record copy. The office of origin is usually responsible for the record copy depending on how the record is used. If records are changed from paper to electronic format, usually the electronic version is the record copy unless the agency has a reason to retain the old format.
Record: Any document produced in the course of your work. These records are media-neutral, meaning can be recorded in any format, and they are viewed as worthy of preservation. See Federal Record.
Records Disposition Schedule: A document providing authority for the final disposition of recurring or nonrecurring records. Also called records disposition schedule, records retention schedule, or schedule.
Records Management: The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other 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.
Retention: The length of time a category of records is to be kept. This time is divided into active and inactive retention. Active records are those that are being used often. Inactive records have little business use, but must be retained through their full retention. Permanent records are usually inactive when they are transferred to NARA.
Vital Records: Those records that are essential for resuming business operations after a disaster or emergency.

APPENDIX 4

Where to Get Help

Geology Discipline Records Management Officer
The Geology Discipline (GD) Records Management Officer is responsible for the implementation, coordination, and management of the USGS Records Management Program as set by NARA and the USGS Records Management Office, ensuring that policies, standards, and procedures are consistent throughout GD. Any updates to the Geology Discipline Research Records Schedule will be coordinated through the GD Records Management Officer.

Tamara Dickinson        tdickinson@usgs.gov
Cheryl Smith          cherylsm@usgs.gov

GD Geographic Records Management Officers:

Each of the nine USGS geographic areas has a Regional Management Officer, whose responsibility includes approving records scheduled for retention or storage. This ensures that cost centers adhere to the Schedule and dispose of or retain records in accordance with the NARA-approved records schedule. The Regional Management Officer is a regional resource that is available to cost centers to address any issues or questions relating to records management and the disposition of records belonging to regional cost centers.

Cost Center Records Management Specialists:

The administrative officer (AO) for each cost center serves as the cost center's primary point of contact for issues relating to records management, including the disposition and retention of research records. In some cost centers the AO may refer the researcher to the data librarian, records specialist, or archivist. The AO can provide a copy of the GD Research Records Schedule and has a basic knowledge of the records management process.

USGS Records Management Officer:

The USGS Records Management Officer is responsible for policy development, coordination, and overall management of the USGS Records Management Program and ensures Bureau policies, standards, and procedures are consistent with those established by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and NARA. The guidelines laid out in this GD Research Records User's Guide, as well as GD records management resources should be consulted prior to proceeding through the chain of records management personnel and finally contacting the USGS Records Management Officer.

USGS Records Disposition Schedules:

http://usgs.gov/usgs-manual/schedule/index.html

U.S. Geological Survey Manual: 431.1 - Records Management Program

http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/410/431-1.html

NARA Website

http://www.archives.gov

NARA Electronic Records Website

http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/erm-overview.html


Return to Records Disposition Schedules


Return to Survey Manual Home Page

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/schedule/432-1-s5/gd.html
Page Contact Information: Ask USGS
Page Last Modified: 11-Jan-2013@11:01