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Records Disposition Schedules

As U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) records disposition schedules are created or revised by the USGS Records Officer, they are included as part of USGS policy in the Survey Manual (SM) (see SM Chapters 431.1, Records Management Roles and Responsibilities and 431.6, Records Disposition).

As required by law, the records of the USGS may not be destroyed without the prior approval of from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) through these records schedules. This approval authority is provided in the form of USGS Records Disposition Schedules or Departmental Records Schedules that originate with the USGS Records Officer in collaboration with the programs who create and maintain the records. These records schedules list of the USGS or DOI and prescribe the periods of authorized retention. All USGS employees, contractors, emeritus, and volunteers are responsible for ensuring that records disposal actions are in accordance with these schedules. Proper implementation of these records disposition schedules involves carefully applying their provisions to both permanent and temporary records. The final objective of these records dispositions schedules are to ensure authorized, appropriate, uniform, and timely disposition of USGS records. As described in the records schedules, permanent records must be transferred legally and physically to NARA through the USGS Records Officer. For questions or issues or to address unscheduled records, contact the USGS Records Officer: 


Record Disposition Schedule Chapters and Instructions


Chapter 100 - Organization, history, administrative management, and commissions/councils/boards/committees

(Organizational records, USGS histories, management plans, strategic plans, studies and initiatives, commissions, councils, boards, high-level internal committees and other committees, program mission, bureau directors files, correspondence control system, program policy, direction, and decision case files, bureau directives and federal register notices, bureau external directives, and other organizational related records)


Chapter 200 - Chief Information Officer (CIO), security, and information management

(CIO subject and office, architecture, Information Technology (IT), capital investment, IT oversight compliance, IT facility, site management, equipment support, IT asset and configuration management, network infrastructure, IT operations, system security plans, IT security, plans of action and milestones (POAMS), records management, telecommunications, and end user support records)


Chapter 300 - Administrative Support

(Websites, mail and delivery, travel and transportation, commercial freight, travel vouchers, foreign travel, travel administration, transit subsidy, passports, natural science network, IBIS library, internal and external audits, inspector General contact reports and audit files, calendars, file plans, administrative databases, and chronological files)


Chapter 400 - Human Capital

(Human resource files, temporary official personal files (OPF), supervisor's employee files, volunteers, employment and hiring files, reduction in force (RIFs), research grade evaluation (RGE), performance, position descriptions (PDs), employer relations, leave, conflict resolution, alternative work schedules, telework, ethics, employee training, employee health and medical, labor relations, equal employment opportunity (EEO), payroll, and time and attendance related records)


Chapter 500 - Information Services

(Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), privacy, Information Quality Act, declassified, press releases, public information reference, Associate Director, Regional Director, and Office of the Director presentations, other presentations, visual identity, weekly highlights, and exhibit records)


Chapter 600 - Legal, Congressional, and Patents

(Law and litigation records, investigations, witness, congressional records, inventions, patents and copyrights, technology transfer agreements, cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), other agreements, and Intergovernmental Personnel Act related records)


Chapter 700 - Budget and Finance

(Budget and financial, work plan, financial management, accounting, appropriation, telephone files, working capital fund, performance, and accountability files related records)


Chapter 800 - Acquisitions, Supply, and Grants

(Acquisition, contract, charge card purchase records, contractor payroll files, supply management files, grant and cooperative agreements, grant administrative files, and contracting officer files)


Chapter 900 - Emergency Planning and Environmental Records

(Classified information, top secret accounting and control, HSPD-12, personnel security, safety management, accident files, occupational safety hazards (OSHA), emergency planning, fire management, environmental permit and compliance, emergency management, National Environmental Policy Act records (NEPA) including environmental impact statements (EIS), and related records)


Chapter 1000 - Property Management

(Personal property management, property management information system (PMIS), motor vehicle, aircraft and watercraft management, energy conservation, museum property, building operation (e.g., rent, surveys and space planning), and related records)


Chapter 1100 - Audiovisual

(Official portraits, general photos, mission related documentary and research photography, non-mission related photos, award ceremonies and social event photos, motion pictures, sponsored information, educational information intended for public distribution, and video recordings)


Chapter 1200 - Geospatial, Cartographic, and Architectural

(Digital geospatial data, cartographic information, and architectural drawings records)


Chapter 1300 - Publishing

(Publications, Information Product Document System (IPDS), publication review and approval records, manuscripts, electronic files, artwork and materials used to create the published copy, print jobs, publication warehouse (Pubs Warehouse) and the related documentation for these systems and other related records)


Chapter 1400 - Water Science

(National Water Information System (NWIS), technical and discipline reviews, discharge gaging stations, continuous stage measurements, digital punched paper tapes and paper charts, digital, time-series data, discharge measurements, station analysis, well permits, meter calibration, well logs, water quality, laboratory records and lab information management system (LIMS), and other water-related records)


No Chapter 1500 - these items are incorporated into Chapter 1700.


Chapter 1600 - Biological Science

(Biological project planning, conduct, outcomes, independent datasets, associated and supporting technical information, and proposed project records)


Chapter 1700 - Geospatial Science

(Geospatial and geography, maps, special maps, diapositives, cartographic materials, color separate, quadrangle, original manuscript drawings, advanced composites, name and information sheets, vertical accuracy tests, DCG, DEM, DLG, DRG, NHD, Digital Ortho, MCIS, and other related records)


Chapter 1800 - Special Geological Science

(Special Geologic Studies Group (SGSG), classification and declassification, bibliographies, project records, peaceful nuclear explosion (PNE) records, and underground nuclear test (UNT), intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), mineral resource records, deep geology, hydrology, map records, and any other records related to the SGSG)


Chapter 1900 - Geological Science

(Geological projects, physical sample control records, research support, unfunded projects, historical seismograms, WWSSN, preliminary determination epicenter, magnetogram, permanent California network, portable digital seismographs, strong motion accelerographs, and other related records)


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: I am having a hard time finding a specific series within a section -- what can I do to help find my topic? 

A: Items are organized by type and function.  If you know the section where the records should be, read the surrounding items as they are likely sorted together. 

Q: Why Excel?

A: Excel provides functionality that you cannot find in a static table using Word or PDF file.  You can search, filter, sort, create formulae, create macros, and conditionally format cells to find quick answers to complex questions.