Basic Records Management Training 2014

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Detailed Description

Basic Records Management Training 2014 - webex converted to mp4 for training purposes


Date Taken:

Length: 01:01:46

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


Good day.

This is the USGS Records Management Basic
Training session module.

It is intended for all records liaison officers
and records liaison coordinators, and it is

part of the USGS Records Management Program.

Note that all employees, including contractors,
have records management requirements.

This is the outline of the topics that we'll
be addressing today.

Some of them we'll spend more time because
they're essential to your understanding of

the Records Management Program.

The Records Management Program areas of emphasis.

Has many components.

As you can imagine, establishing policy is
a critical element.

But also assisting with files maintenance,
and there's a whole nother training session

on that topic.

Data rescue is something you may or may not
have heard of.

It is a grants program that the Records Management
Program develops for legacy science records

needing preservation and access assistance.

Essential is the new phrase for vital records.

And then we have training modules, of which
you’re participating in today.

And we also talked about disposing records
when they can move from your area to another


And then on ongoing evaluation of the Records
Management Program itself.

So the purposes of records management, obviously
assume complying with laws and regulations

that even date back to the 1950s.

But we also need to make sure that we have
a good handle on managing our records.

It helps us to defend the legal authority
for how long we should retain and then when

should we dispose of records.

It also allows us to describe and adequately
encompass what we do as an agency, so in 50

years, it is understandable to others who
are looking at the history of the USGS and

what science did this agency create.

And that goes along with ensuring our institutional

So we've left, and our scientists have moved
on, we have captured the best of what they

are doing.

And of course, we have data calls from Congress,
from the Department of Justice.

And all of these elements come down to basically
allowing us to better identify, access for

our own use and for others, and for preservation
of the information that we possess and through

its entire lifecycle.

So why do we do records management?

It's really why do we do or enact a dynamic
records management program.

It really does save costs.

It saves you time in finding information.

Its position is a element that basically says
when we're legally done with our records,

we're supposed to move on with them.

Either transfer them to some other entity
or to destroy them.

That saves us time and space.

And the budget-constrained we become, the
more accountable we have to be.

Good records management helps us to maintain
and find the information that is needed.

Future scientists will need USGS data, so
we need to ensure that the work we do today

is accessible and usable.

So the records authorities.

These are the legal elements that set up the
framework for every agency in the U.S. government

having a records management program.

And note the red and underlined words.

Basically, we are to preserve.

We are to manage what we preserve.

And then, at some point in their lifecycle,
in their life, we are supposed to dispose

of records.

Periodically, we'll be doing a pulse check.

This is just to make sure you're following
along and that you understand some of the

key concepts in order to do your job better
as a records liaison officer or a records

liaison coordinator.

So the best reasons to do records management,
which includes all of the following answers


We're looking for the exception to the rule

And that would be letter C.
Making your supervisor happy is important,

but it is not critical for records management.

Key concepts now.

These are terminologies, definitions, concepts
that you need to understand to be able to

do your job.

And the number-one element in that is understanding
the difference between a record and non-record


Making myself orientated here.

And we talk about records all the time, but
what really are they?

Well, a definition would be, if they are created
or received by an agency of government, regardless

of the physical medium.

That's a key concept.

And regardless of who created it.

It's an evidence piece of our agency.

It tells what USGS has done or what we are
in the process of doing.

Maybe your office created or act upon it.

That would be a record it.

You received it for action.

That's a record.

Your office needs it to document activities
or decisions.

Or your office is expected to follow the policy
or procedure.

Records are the evidence of what USGS does.

So conversely, non-records are materials not
connected with the conduct of government business

-- working files, rough notes, background
materials, and communications that are not

needed for the official record.

Copies of records, reading and reference materials,
those are not also formally officially records.

Personal emails, such as let's do lunch, and
all-employee-type announcements.

Personal papers, such as family or [inaudible]
correspondence and insurance or medical papers,

library- or museum-related records.

Those are not official government records.

I'll give you an example.

While it would be tragic if libraries in USGS
would have a catastrophic event such as a

fire, the majority of the materials in USGS
records libraries are reference materials.

Which means, while it would be very difficult,
we could replace those materials.

The exception would be with special collections
or rare books.

Record series are simply similar types of
records that are kept in a series.

Examples could be cartographic and map products
are all in the same series.

Travel and transportation records are part
of a series.

Files cutoff is pretty much what it implies.

It's a point when a record series, similar
records, are physically separated from additional

like records.

So for example, you may have a project that
has a fiscal year basis, and it gets funded

every year, or for at least the foreseeable

And if you do not need to actively, let's
say monthly even, gain access to those records,

you may want to physically cut them off, either
on your hard disk or in your cabinet where

the paper records are stored, and just separate

Maybe you put them into a different area.

And then you start a new series, either on
your hard disk or in your file cabinet, with

a fiscal year.

Some folks might work to a calendar year better.

In my entity at the EROS center in Sioux Falls,
we have a lot of contract years, which can

start at any point during the year.

And that can be a good breaking point for
you also.

Permanent or temporary records -- another
key concept to understand.

These are the records that are either kept
forever, and that's the term "permanent,"

or these are records that are temporary in

That means that, after a few months or several
years, they will transition out of your office,

and at some point, will be destroyed.

So that is the key difference between permanent
and temporary.

Temporary will be destroyed at some point.

But also realize, temporary can be quite a
long time.

USGS water stream gage records are temporary,
but they are to be kept for 100 years.

That's quite a long time.

You need to realize that sometimes it's a
relative term.

Records disposition schedules.

We have several within USGS, and just as the
name applies, this is a listing of USGS records

assembled by series, that is, similar records,
into what is called a schedule.

And you'll read this by mission area or discipline

You'll find the description of the records
that you’re looking for.

It will have an associated series number.

And it'll also tell you what the disposition

If it's permanent, that means at some point
in its life, it will go to the National Archives.

If it's temporary, at some point in its life,
it will be destroyed.

So again, those are the critical differences
between temporary and permanent and how they're

represented on records.

Disposition schedule -- disposition means
transferring out or destroying.

And then you'll note that I have two listings
of the National Archives on the bottom points.

I want to make a distinction of the two services
that the National Archives provides.

They are very different.

I will call the first one the National Archives
in College Park, Maryland.

That is their headquarters, and that is where
you send permanent records.

The other service area that the National Archives
provides is through a series of 17 federal

record centers, called FRCs for short.

This is set up around the nation, and they
are established only to serve federal agencies.

The difference here is, when you send records
to them, they are providing a service to you

that USGS pays for.

The records are legally still yours.

So they stay there as long as you say they
are to be, and you destroy them only when

you concur to that.

If you send them to National Archives College
Park, they are no longer USGS records.

We, as an agency, are giving up physical,
and more importantly, legal control to the

National Archives.

That's a critical difference.

Again, I will be reinforcing this concept
quite a bit about what is a federal record.

And this is what I've been talking to you
about, but this is sort of a cheat sheet.

It does not matter if the material is on paper,
magnetic, film, optical.

It is a record by its informational value,
and it has something to do with USGS business

-- a project, a region, and office, a mission

It has to have something to do with us, that
needs to be preserved, and it is a document

as evidence of function.

So you don't have to think of the document
as a hard copy piece of paper.

It can be an Excel spreadsheet.

It can be a PowerPoint.

It can be a publication representing the science
work of an area.

So here is another listing that will help
you determine if what someone has brought

to you or that you’re examining is a record.

So it's showing an evidence of our functions,
what we do.

If it's something that FEMA does, it's probably
a FEMA record.

Or it's a memo that came to your office, directed
toward your office, for something your office

needs to do.

That would be a record that you need to keep.

Your office has oversight duties on a project.

Maybe it's a large, broad policy, and your
office was given the oversight for it.

It records activities and documents decisions.

If it's a transactional element.

It has business, legal, or historical value
to the USGS.

It's pretty broad.

Legal, of course, would be contracts.

And business could be our procurement documents.

Historical value could very well be, even
to the point of building a new field office.

You'd want to keep pictures, blueprints, all
of the planning for that.

If it supports elements of your work, factual-based,
you would want to keep that also as a record.

And possibly if a key decision was made, it's
policy-related, you would want to document

who helped you make that decision, who was
involved in that.

Okay, we have another pulse check.

So a record is described by all of the following
below except.

So in this case, recall our discussion of
permanent and temporary, which would lead

you to discard letter B.
Records are not always kept forever.

Only permanent records are.

So unfortunately, this statement is quite

I equate records management to car insurance.

Most people do not think much about records
management or car insurance until their records

are lost or destroyed or until you have an

And then you’re quite interested in what
your liability is, what is the total value

of the policy and such.

We mentioned the lifecycle of records.

And all records very much go through this

So this is a critical concept to understand.

We receive or recreate records in the first

The second stage, we use them and we maintain

And the third is, we transfer them or we destroy

So it's not always implied that when you dispose
of that you’re destroying them.

You may have a transfer period that would
go on for several years of storage, and then

at some point, they may be destroyed.

So we're going to talk about the first stage
where you create yourself or you receive records.

And we're also going to talk about some different
labels that records get.

Most of us intuitively would understand what
project records are.

So this is planning documents, maybe budgets,
maybe a data management plan.

The decision, procedures, and process -- maybe
it's a new science here that needed to have

all of this documented.

But it does keep track of the project as a
whole when you have all of these project records


And good records management would keep them
together and would start early in the project,

not at the end.

Hopefully, good records management would help
you be organized and managed so you can find

things, file things, and present things when
needed in an efficient manner.

And then, when the project's done, all of
these records, at least the ones that are

of value for ongoing review, could be contained
so that in future uses, scientists could re-look

at that and see, what were the procedures
used, maybe find some really good best practices,

as an example.

And we are required, as USGS personnel, and
this includes contractors as well as government

employees, to retain records as long as our
schedule says.

And that implies to not destroy them before
they are at their end-of-life, but also not

to keep them longer than our schedule says.

So that's a two-way road.

Electronic records -- recall that earlier
I said records of official nature, it does

matter what the media it's stored on.

So why would I have a separate slide, an emphasis
on electronic?

I think most of you have a good idea.

Electronic records pose additional challenges
for us to manage.

There's the naming conventions, there's version
control, there's copy management, obsolesce

of the hardware, the software, the firmware,
and the media, and also the formats of the

specific type of file itself, all can have
various states of obsolesce.

Even the manufacturer has ceased their support
for a certain format that has now gone away.

So all sorts of ways electronic records make
our life a little bit more challenging.

Likewise, email.

The great thing, and it can be a horrible
thing, as you can imagine, and this is the

current Department of Interior requirement
that every email that you receive that is

of official record nature is to be printed
and filed.

Not only that, if it was sent to a group address,
you are to expand the group address so you

can see who received the message.

And if you had attachments, you are to print
all of those out.

So if you had a 50-page PowerPoint file in
addition to an email with a group address,

you have a lot of work to do.

And I can assure you, very few people in USGS
have been following this to the letter.

So the good news is, this is changing.

You may have thought that Bison Connect is
simply a new email system, but it is much

more than that.

Bison Connect is the one cog in the ERDMS
-- Email and Electronic Records Document Management

System -- that will, at some point, auto-categorize
all of your emails for you.

So it's going to be reviewing every word of
your email, who it's sent to, the subject

matter, your text, and if it can, it'll read
into the attachments.

And then it'll categorize those, and it will
keep it for as long as our records schedule

say that type of information should be kept.

So something to keep in mind here is try not
to mix personal email with emails that were

going to get auto-categorized for longer-term

So as an example, you go through maybe a policy
change that you are advocating to staff that

serve under you, or you’re explaining a
new policy to your office through email.

And then, at the end of it, you state, "And
don't forget that the golf league starts tomorrow

night at 5:00."

That little message now is going to get retained
for quite a while.

So just try to separate those.

The other nice thing that's come about in
the last few years is the National Archives,

and note that I will say National Archives
in Louisville -- there is says NARA, the National

Archives and Records Administration -- has
a transitory rule that allows you to dispose

of, in this case delete, email records that
have no value in the six-month period.

So this is your opinion, but I will give you

You receive an email that there will be a
opportunity to give blood tomorrow at noon

until 4:00 in the employee parking lot.

Whoever sent it has a very short-term record
retention, but when you received it, you digested

the information.

You can delete it, just like that.

You get a lot of this stuff, so don't feel
that you have to retain it.

Once you got the informational value from
it, that's all that's needed.

Could be, let's say, in stormy weather, that
the National Center will be closed due to

a blizzard for the next four hours.

Okay, that's good information, especially
to the folks in Reston, and also to the field

who might have been trying to contact people
in Reston.

But tomorrow it's probably useless information.

So that's what transitory rule on very short-term
records means.

It's actually a good thing for us.

Administrative records.

They relate to civilian personnel, property,
fiscal accounting, IT, safety, security, travel.

You know all of these things.

They're very common.

You probably have folks or sections that deal
just with this information.

These are common records across all U.S. federal
agencies, so they're called administrative.

Usually short-term records.

They are fairly easy to understand, and of
course, in the records schedules, they are

listed by series.

Financial records are all lumped together.

Procurement would be in that area.

And you can keyword-search in these areas.

These are typically kept months to a few years.

I believe travel is, federal records are kept
six years and three months.

So it's very specific.

And the guidance here is we are to keep them
for that period.

The additional guidance is we are not to keep
them longer than that period.

So if we have travel records that are 12 years
and 6 months, we've kept them twice as long

as our schedule says.

And anyone searching for records, let's say
there's a legal or congressional data call.

And they [inaudible] they're finding records
that they did not expect you to have based

on a record's schedule.

That will not look good for us because they
will not believe our schedule anymore, and

they'll probably ask for more records.

So it'll just be a administrative burden on

Scientific records -- we all have a good idea
of what these are.

The best examples are science here that cannot
be reproduced or would be very expensive to

do over.

Field studies, satellite imagery, aerial photography
-- all are obtained at a specific date and

time which cannot be reproduced.

So these are usually long-term records or

So we definitely have to do good records management
on these.

And that really gets into electronic records
that are science is stored on.

We need to plan for migrating those records
every three to five years.

We are the nation's authoritative leader in
the natural sciences, so we need to preserve

these records.

We even have a special handout just for scientists.

So if you yourself are a scientist, or you
know that your staff would benefit from some

records management pointers for scientists,
the URL is pointing to a site that was put

together by water scientists a few years ago.

Talked about this a little bit ago on the

It doesn't have to come in your email.

Maybe you got a notice in your inbox.

Transitory records would definitely fall under

Called out separately because of the very
short time involved before it can be disposed


Remember some of my examples.

An additional one would be Thursday at noon,
there is a seminar giving on topic X.

Okay, that's good information.

You can either note it in your calendar or
a sticky or however you keep track of things,

and then you can get rid of it.

That's it.

Transitory -- very short nature.

Okay, to reinforce the understanding of temporary
versus permanent.

So the first point, temporary will be disposed.

You will not see that phrase under permanent.

That is the key difference.

Permanent, at some point in the life of that
record, will be transferred to the National

Archives College Park.

Remember my distinction.

This is the headquarters.

That means we're giving up, as an agency,
legal and physical control to the National

Archives, who are responsible for maintaining
and providing access to the record forever.

Think about that.

Three hundred years from now, they still need
to deal with some format that we sent them

in 2014 or 2025.

Also note that if we get a FOIA request or
a legal congressional data call, it does not

matter if it's temporary or permanent.

It could be a temporary record that we're
going to dispose of in two weeks.

If these sorts of requests come for them,
they are under what is called a hold.

And just as the word implies, you cannot do
anything with them until the legal holds are


And note, with permanent, need to work through
the records officer to transfer records to

College Park National Archives.

That's such a big deal that we need to go
to procedures.

Now, the NARA Federal Record Centers -- remember
I said there's 17 or 18 of these across the

U.S., and they're set up to serve federal
agencies for fees.

We pay them over $100,000 a year to handle
USGS records.

We use them quite extensively.

You have a choice.

You may have a commercial records center just
down the street from you.

And it may be very convenient for you to use

And that is perfectly fine.

Just realize that you will pay all of the

If you use a NARA Federal Records Center,
the only costs you have are when you ship

it to them and if you need to retrieve them.

All other costs are borne by the Records Management

So some of the specific choices that you have,
on top are all of the elements that are paid

for by the Records Management Program.

On the bottom are additional opportunities
that, if it's needed by your office, your

project, your mission area, your region, you
may investigate and pay at your own cost.

Just note that USGS Records Management Program
is investigating two scanning opportunities

right now, and we hope to have the results
out soon.

So talked quite a bit about what a record
is, and now I just want to make sure we go

over again, what is not a record.

This will help you determine how long to keep
things and how much effort or resources to

put in preserving them.

We get a lot of material every day -- trade
magazines, catalogs, all sorts of things.

Those are not directly part of our government

They are reference materials, and you are
certainly able to keep them.

Just do not mix them with formal records.

Working files -- let's say you’re publishing
on a scientific study, and you’re on version

30, and that one is the one that gets approved
through IPDS and all of the approval channels.

That's the record.

So all of the other 29 versions are considered
working files.

Now, one caveat here.

Let's say, through the review process, revision
22 had a significant change requested by peer

reviewers, and you incorporated that or you
documented one you did not accept that significant


I would consider keeping version 22 and the
final but not the others.

Copies of records -- the National Archives
has a saying.

Copies are not records.

And you can imagine how this has come out
of the paper world, where in USGS, we used

to produce, literally, hundreds, and some
cases, thousands of paper forms ready to go

when we needed them.

Only the official first copy is really a record.

Now, another caveat.

If you have electronic records, I would recommend
that you have three total copies of them.

I realize this brings in version control if
they're active records, but consider having

one copy separate from another copy in your
same building that is not on the same server.

And that third copy, if you can swing it,
should be off site.

That would be a good best practice.

Personal emails -- we talked about these before.

They are not records, and so try not to mix
those messages with your official business


Personal papers -- lots of folks keep their
medical files at work, and that's fine.

Just try not to mix it in with your USGS job
records because your medical insurance and

all of those informational files are not official

They are your personal records.

And I've already talked about library materials.

Here's just a listing of how you will see
federal records, and it's not exhaustive.

In fact, almost every time, or every year,
it's changing.

It just points to the variety that we need
to deal with.

And it gets away from the old connotation
that records management is primarily a paper-based


It certainly is not that today.

And we have a diversity of challenges to these.

Again, it is the content, the informational
value, not the media, that is important.

Sometimes the media makes it harder to get
at the information, or maybe the preservation

is extremely challenging.

But it's really the information that we want
to preserve.

So our next pulse check.

What are some attributes of electronic records
that make them unique in records management?

Think about what makes electronic records

Some ideas would be, we find electronic records
in desktop systems, on magnetic tapes, on

thumb drives, network drives.

They may include text, graphics, sound recordings,
or video.

And we have rapid obsolescence of technology,
and we must plan for those obsolesces through

preservation activities.

We've gone through the first stage of creating
or receiving records, and now we're in using

files and maintaining files or records.

File plan -- these really were the mainstay,

The PC revolution changed that by enabling
electronic records to be created and distributed

by anyone.

The file plan still has a place in our toolbox,

It can accommodate electronic files as well
as paper.

File plans contain a record series number,
a description of the records, and the disposition


And note that we expect every records liaison
officer and coordinator to have a file plan.

And you should not be scared about that.

It actually will turn out to be quite useful
to you.

This is an example of someone doing a good
job of labeling folders based on their file


You'd notice, the upper left-hand corner,
you have a series number .

It's just a sequential number set up, in this
case, 101-06b.

Has a description of FY 2009 internal committees
and conferences.

They also put down a subtitle -- records liaison
officer meeting notes.

Destroy two years after termination of the
committee and two years after the end of the

conference or when no longer needed for reference.

Look at the second one.

Similar pattern on the labeling, using the
series and description.

Very different disposition, though.

Cut off at the end of fiscal year in which
the incident occurs and destroy five years

after cutoff.

Well, it's those sorts of things that you
will find through the disposition schedules.

USGS files management program -- this is a
step-by-step guide to help manage the records

you get involved in.

The file plan is part of this activity.

In my own center, EROS, we have a policy that
every administrative assistant and our administrator

branch must submit a new file plan yearly
for review and approval.

I call this a one-time pain because, after
you've created it, generally your requirements

do not change significantly.

You might have taken on some new records.

You might have gotten rid of some others that
are not part of your responsibility.

But general, this does not fluctuate very

And note that we have guidelines for developing
and using this file plan at the URL on the

bottom and creating a file plan using a form.

So you have the exact form there that has
been recently updated also.

This is an example of my file plan.

And note that it's simply four columns.

The schedule item number, again, that's just
a series number, a consecutive number system.

And there's a description.

Okay, recall that you can keyword-search.

So if you’re looking for official boards
and committees, you keyword-jump into that


And then disposal instructions, here's the
important part.

Based on these kind of records, they're temporary
or permanent.

And then a location.

In this case, it has my room number.

It also has a hard disk and a path to find
those specific permanent records.

Managing records -- as part of your job, you
have the tools to do this through the records

schedule and developing a file plan.

Just by going through this, you'll feel good
about having intellectual control over the

records that you have oversight for.

And you can also help your office, your project,
your mission area.

If you're a big enough area, you may have
a person that's designated as a files manager,

but I would suspect most of you will not.

For long-term dispositions, I would highly
recommend that you check out a records center.

And again, we mentioned you can utilize commercial
at your own cost, or you can utilize a NARA

Federal Records Center, whereas the USGS Records
Management Program will pick up the tab for

everything but the shipping.

And you can also retain those records.

Let's say you sent them two years ago, and
now you have a need for them.

Typically, within one business day, you will
have the box of records back.

And the box could be magnetic tapes.

It's not just paper.

My center has over 100 boxes of magnetic tapes
down at the Lee's Summit Federal Records Center

near Kansas City.

That's a risk mitigation activity that we
do to get them off site because we're in Tornado


For electronic files, you can also accommodate

Notice the location about the middle of the

It has a path.

So instead of saying just it's in file drawer
B in room 1342, here's a path location.

It could be on a shared drive.

So file plans are for electronic records just
as much as they are for paper.

This is a slide to let you become aware of
the concept of records that used to be called

"vital," and now are called "essential."

And my best example of what these would be
would -- if you can envision my center being

wiped off the map from a tornado, how would
USGS recover?

How would we get back on our feet and start
serving and creating our science records?

Well, some of the information you would want
would be things like property deeds, organizational


You can't assume that headquarters will know,
beyond the top levels of your org chart, the

staff that filled those positions.

Facility plans could be quite useful, especially
if there were unique chemicals that were being

stored there.

And then, of course, your science records,
and that would be another reason to get the

important records that you feel, if a major
event happened, you would need or want to

have off-site.

I'm not expecting you to develop your own
essential records plan, but just be thinking,

and now you’re aware of what these are.


Stage three, disposition.

We've gone through creating and receiving,
stage one.

Then we just did use and maintenance, stage

And now we're to the disposition.

Recall that, again, it does not mean destruction.

It almost always means transfer and then possibly
followed by destruction.

These are the typical conditions that you
would utilize for doing a disposition.

You would transfer them to the National Archives.

That would be a Federal Records Center or
just storage that we're paying for.

They're still your control.

That would be temporary storage, possibly,
to a commercial facility.

You could do on-site destruction if they're
temporary records and you verified on the

records schedule that they can be destroyed.

That's within your purview.

Donation will not come into play except for
physical samples such as core samples or biological

specimen samples.

That's an unfortunate situation that the National
Archives does not accept those today, and

very few people will be involved in donations,
but a biologist and geologist and sometimes

our hydrologists may come into situations
that a donation is the only way to preserve

the records.

Very rare, though, that this will involve

This table is just showing an example, if
you had seven boxes, that would be paper records,

could be full with magnetic tapes, if you
were going to store them in your office environment,

even in a cabinet, you can see the cost per
square foot is about $24.

And that average is taken across USGS, so
that involves Reston; Sioux Falls; Lafayette,

Louisiana; Rolla, Missouri; Denver, Colorado;
Menlo Park.

That's where that number comes from.

There are some warehouses in USGS.

I'm familiar with the one in Herndon near

But that's about half the cost.

But if you use the National Archives Federal
Records Center, it's significantly less.

And just to give you an idea of the cost factors
to the agency.

So when you’re running out of space, you’re
like, you've got alternatives that can still

keep the records within your reach, again,
within probably one business day, but at significantly

lower cost.

I like this slide for a couple reasons.

Even though it's a bit dated, the use of BlackBerry
reinforces how fast technology changes.

If you recall, about two and a half years
ago, BlackBerry was the world's leader in

communication technology with business folks.

Today, we're not sure they're going to survive.

Two and a half years, and what a reversal.

It also reinforces how we must try to include
all means of communication in our records

management activities.

For those of you that work with ELT or SES
staff members, there's some additional things

you should know.

Almost everything that level of USGS management
does is part of the official record of USGS.

So as an example, their calendars have always
been permanent records.

Now, Bison Connect will make that easier for
us to collect.

If you can imagine, in the past 10 years,
all of our directors, all of our ELTs and

SES's, those calendars were to have been maintained
and then sent to the National Archives.

And you could see all of the other elements
that this level of management gets involved


Likewise, or conversely, I should say, my
calendar would never be a permanent record.

So this is just for senior officials.

There is a category of longer-term records.

I mentioned, the beginning of this, where
we have temporary records of water stream

gage that are to be held as temporary for
100 years.

That's a pretty long-term record.

It's not permanent, but it's long-term.

That means you'd still have to plan for preservation.

And I've always had a little bit of a problem
with the long-term concept itself, but I found

a definition that I’d like, and I'll read

Long-term is long enough to be concerned with
the impacts of changing technologies, including

support for new media and data formats or
with the changing user community.

Long-term may extend indefinitely.

I think that's a pretty good definition.

It means we really have to be concerned with
the preservation.

And if it's electronic, we know that we probably
need to do something within a few years, and

it has to be ongoing through the life of that

We've talked about record schedules, fees,
list record series, again, similar records.

And it gives a description of the records.

Sometimes a legal authority is associated
with the records.

And lastly, the disposition instruction.

Our administrative record have a schedule,
and our science records have separate schedules.

I would recommend that you become intimate
with the schedules that apply to the work

that you do.

This is the location of the internal point
that the schedules are kept, the administrative

records on top, and the mission-specific or
scientific records are listed below.

And you may be asking or wondering, well,
those are disciplines.

We realize that, and there's been a mapping
done so that you can get most of your information.

If you’re working in energy and minerals/environment
health, you would look in the 1600s.

And then do a key word search, and you should
be able to find your information.

One reason we have not updated these for mission
areas is that the department is considering

rolling our schedules into a single department

So we want to see where that activity is going
before we spend literally one to two years

updating these schedules.

This is an example of the climate and land
use mission-area science schedule.

The science schedules may be tens of pages
long but, again, can be keyword-searched,

so you can help locate the proper series and
disposition for science records.

And you know in this case, there's a fairly
long description underneath the title of the

series in addition to the disposition, and
there's authority to this one.

Sensitive information and privacy, personally
identifiable information.

And I'll give you a little story here.

My facility used to store records that had
travel, training, all sorts of administrative

records, just in boxes up in a separate building
called a warehouse.

It did not have any card key or hard key locks.

So if you were on our campus, anyone could
stroll up there and potentially look through

these records.

We found a significant amount of Social Security
numbers, credit card numbers, home addresses,

phone numbers, personnel reviews out there.

So we immediately brought the records down,
put them in a closed environment, and then

started going through them.

The majority of them have been shredded.

There was just no reason for them.

Three hundred records, or excuse me, 300 boxes
of records were found.

It was a very bad policy, informal policy,
that was going on.

So for the records that you have, or you’re
aware of, this is the notice that should be

placed on each cabinet.

Maybe it's a room full of records that your
office has.

This should be on that door.

And if you are not in eyesight of it, maybe
you’re going out for a two-hour lunch, or

you’re going to be away for the afternoon
at training, you need to lock the cabinet

and/or the room door, especially evenings
and weekends.

None of us want our Social Security numbers

Identity theft is something that I hope none
of us ever experience.

Mentioned earlier, searches, document production,
litigation holds.

So when Congress asks us for things, or when
Department of Justice, USGS gets involved

in lots of legal spaces.

Not necessarily because we're being sued.

It's because the plaintiff or defendant wants
to use our data to prove their point.

And unfortunately, then, this puts holds on
our records, as I mentioned.

Even if you had, within a week, you could
destroy some temporary records, is this comes

about, you are legally bound to not destroy

You must hold them until you get a hold lift.

And that can be years, unfortunately.

We have a whole team that is place to respond
when these come about.

And their job is to interpret what the request
is and try to determine who in the bureau

would be best served to respond to this.

Now, the good thing is, as I mentioned, our
new email system, Bison Connect, in the future,

lots of this searching for documents will
be conducted there, and you may or may not

even be aware of it going on.

So hopefully, this will save you some impact.

That's the goal.

So what can you do to help?

Start slowly, and build up over time.

We realize that records management has maybe
not been a part of your job until just this

fiscal year.

Some of you have been lucky and have grown
up with it, but others, this may be the first

introduction you've had.

So just start slowly.

Ask the records officer for questions.

We have good experience in the Records Management

Utilize those who have had that experience.

Develop your files plan.

When you retire, don't take your records with
you, or transfer to another office, or destroy

them, or give them to another colleague.

These are all common situations that we have
today when our employees leave.

You’re not allowed to take any records from
the USGS unless you have expressly received

written permission from your supervisor.

In that case, you may make copies and take
the copies.

But while you’re working for the federal
government, everything that's done here is

part of the federal government.

We talked about not mixing personal records
with government records.

If you are an RLC, get to know your RLO.

Maybe between both you, you'll learn more
and be prepared for questions better as they

come up.

The National Archives developed a system called
Electronic Records Archive, ERA.

This is a system to use when you’re transferring
permanent records to the National Archives

in College Park, Maryland.

Remember, you’re giving up physical and
legal control.

Used to be a standard form, now there is an
online system.

And realize, when you use that system, the
first record that you send forward goes to

the USGS records officers for approval.

Then it goes to the National Archives.

The National Archives also has a system called

This is for using the Federal Records Centers
scattered throughout the United States.

It allows you to do everything online.

It's not as required of a system as ERA is

So as an example, today I can transfer records
back and forth using email with the National

Archives staff down in Lee's Summit near Kansas

Actually works quite well.

The current drivers for this year's record
management program are really to save us money

and make you all more efficient, and by extension
of you, the project or office you work in,

your mission area, or your region.

Hopefully, we can discover more science to
doing our business in the records management


By that, an example would be rescuing data
that has been invisible.

Maybe it's on terrible media and it's ready
to fall apart.

Of course, we have to comply with our own

And some may remember the OSTP and OMB recent
directives that imply and direct that we must

have machine-readable and open, accessible

Federal regulations go back to 1950 in supporting
the records management program.

We've already talked about the data calls
that are a real pain for us to respond to

if we haven't done good records management.

So here's some assistance that you have at
your fingertips for getting at either people

or websites or even the National Archives.

I would start with the USGS before you get
into the National Archives website.

It gets a little bit more involved when you
get to that site.

You’re welcome to check it out.

I would just recommend you do it sequentially
by going through all of the USGS elements


So what are the three phases in the lifecycle
of records?

You can tell that I'm reinforcing a lot of

First stage is when you create or you receive
records that are needed in the course of your

work for USGS.

The second is where you use those records
and maintain them.

And the last is where you dispose of them.

They may get transferred to a Federal Records

Or if they're permanent, they may get transferred
to the National Archives in College Park.

Or they may be destroyed.

All based on record schedules.

So you may send me any questions in addition
to the records officer, and I thank you for

your time today.