An effective records disposition program is essential to successful records management, which is an integral part of information resources management. Managing the records disposition program includes training employees, publicizing the program, and cultivating professional relationships. Agency records officers should participate in the development of electronic and other recordkeeping systems to ensure proper planning for disposition. Along with data processing and telecommunications, records management is an integral part of information resources management (IRM).
Central to the proper management of recorded information is the concept of recordkeeping requirements. Disposition is an integral part of records management and is the third and final stage of the life cycle of records. As used in this handbook, disposition means those actions taken regarding Federal records after they are no longer needed in office space to conduct current agency business. Disposition is a comprehensive term that includes destruction as well as other actions, such as the transfer of permanent records to the National Archives.


The primary steps in managing a records disposition program are described below and summarized in figure 1-3.
This chapter describes the steps involving the program directive, training, publicity, and evaluation. A records disposition program provides for the effective and efficient management of records no longer needed in office space to conduct current business.
To establish an effective records disposition program, the agency head must issue a strongly worded directive making the program an integral part of the agency's records and information management program. The organizational placement of the records disposition program will influence its effectiveness. Smaller agencies may find that records officers must directly conduct disposition activities. NARA's introductory records disposition curriculum provides a basis for internal agency training.
Agencies should periodically brief supervisors and other employees on their records responsibilities, particularly those relating to records disposition.


The uncontrolled purchase of recordkeeping equipment can waste money and undermine the entire records disposition program.
An effective records disposition program is the key to successfully managing recorded information. After giving an overview of identifying and scheduling records, the chapters that follow explain how to carry out a records disposition program, especially by developing and implementing a comprehensive records schedule and by evaluating the program. After appraising agency records, NARA authorizes either their disposal or their transfer to the National Archives for preservation and research. Issuing this directive emphasizes the agency's commitment to the authorized, timely, and orderly disposition of records. 1-2.) Although this handbook focuses on disposition, all three stages of the records life cycle are interrelated.



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