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Records Management Self Evaluation Guide.


American CIT, worked with our client to develop this self-evaluation guide to use as an overview of the basic components of a records management program. Using this guide will assist various departments in making a preliminary assessment of the status of their records management programs and in identifying major problems and setting priorities for program improvements.

Section I


Your department has formally designated a Records Management Liaison (RML) for coordinating a records management program.

Records management responsibilities are included in the position description for the RML

The department RML routinely communicates with the Department of Archives and Records Management analysts.

Employees are informed of the identity and role of the RML serving their offices.

The department RML is involved in the transfer of archival records.

The department RML participates in planning for new electronic information systems and in major modifications to existing systems to ensure incorporation of record keeping requirements and records disposition procedures.

The department RML is involved in the development of micrographic applications.

The department RML is involved in the development of electronic record keeping systems, including procurement of computer equipment.

The department RML is involved in the development of document imaging systems.


The department RML has received training in records management regulations, policies, and procedures.

Department RMLs, secretaries, file clerks, and others with regular records duties receive training in records maintenance and filing procedures and records disposition.

The department RMLs brief senior officials and program administrators on the importance of records management and records handling responsibilities.

Electronic records regulations and guidance rules have been distributed to all employees who are responsible for managing electronic information and record keeping systems.


Internal evaluations are conducted by the Department RML on a regular basis to insure that all
records are scheduled and disposed of in a timely manner. Records shall include paper documents as well as electronic documents.

The department RML periodically evaluates records management practices.

These evaluations include electronic records.

Written evaluation reports are prepared.

Evaluated offices are required to respond to the evaluation reports promptly.

The department RML follows up to determine if offices implement necessary corrective action or recommendations for improvements.


The department has provided guidance for all employees on the definition of Company records and non record materials, including those created using office automation, and the ways in which they must be managed.

Each department has written guidance on what records, including electronic records, are to be created and maintained and the format of the official copy.

The department has issued guidance and instructions for documenting policies and decisions, especially those arrived at orally.

The department has issued guidance on the record status of working papers/files.

Department procedures require creation of finding aids such as captions and indexes to facilitate access to individual files, including electronic files or record items when appropriate.

Section II


The proper management of records guarantees that complete records are maintained. There is also the guarantee that records can be located when needed, when records and non record materials and personal papers are maintained separately and when the identification and retention of permanent records are simplified. The benefits to be obtained from an effective records and information management program are many. Some of the things records management can assist in doing are compliance with legal retention requirements, faster retrieval of information, space savings, fewer lost or misfiled records, and a reduction of expenditures for records. Special records require additional standards for maintenance.


The department has established standards and procedures for classifying, indexing, filing, and retrieving records and made them available to all employees.

Access to all records, regardless of media, is limited to authorized personnel.

Retention periods are clearly defined and implemented for each record series.

Permanent record series are identified and maintained separately from records with shorter retention periods.

The department has established and implemented regulations or procedures for the storage of security-classified and other restricted records.


Each department has designated official file locations (file stations)?

A file plan for each series of records maintained is at each file station.

Each office has procedures for filing, charging out, and refiling its records.

File drawers and folders are labeled correctly.

Electronic record keeping systems that maintain the official copy of text documents on electronic media provide indexing or text search capabilities.

Electronic record keeping systems require user identification codes or passwords to control access and ensure integrity of the documents.

The department regularly backs up electronic records to safeguard against loss of information due to equipment malfunction or human error.

The department avoids the use of diskettes for the exclusive long-term storage of permanent, long term or unscheduled records.

The department maintains complete and up-to-date technical documentation for each electronic information system.

The department safeguards and maintains all software and hardware required to read electronic records throughout their lives

Procedural controls are in place for all electronic record keeping systems (magnetic and imaging) to protect the integrity of the records.

The department has implemented a standard procedure for external labeling of the contents of diskettes, disks, and magnetic tape reels or cartridges.

All long term and permanent backup/security electronic recording media are maintained in a storage facility either on-site or off-site with temperature and humidity controls.

A statistical sample of all electronic media containing long-term or permanent records is read annually to identify any loss of information and to discover and correct the cause of data loss.

Tapes used for permanent, long term and unscheduled records are copied before they are 10 years old onto tested and verified new tapes. Magnetic media

Magnetic media containing permanent, long term or unscheduled records are stored under recommended temperature and humidity conditions, and the media is protected from potential exposure to magnetic fields.

Department employees using personal computers have received training and guidance in determining record status of documents that they create with office automation applications.

The department implemented procedures for maintaining records created using personal computers in an official file (hard copy or electronic record keeping system).

All department staff who use computers have been trained in procedures to avoid the unintentional loss of records, including techniques for backing up files and for handling diskettes.

Optical Imaging Systems

Optical imaging systems used to store permanent or long term records meet transfer requirements.

Audiovisual records

Original and use copies of audiovisual records are maintained separately.

Finding aids such as indexes, captions, lists of captions, data sheets, shot lists, continuities, review sheets, and catalogs (published or unpublished) are maintained for all audiovisual records.

Cross-references to closely related textual records are maintained with audiovisual records.

The department has instituted procedures to ensure that information on permanent or long-term magnetic sound or video media is not erased or overwritten.

The department maintains originals of permanent, long term or unscheduled photographs scanned into electronic format.

The department stores permanent audiovisual records, particularly color films and photographs in environmentally controlled space.


Maps and drawings are stored flat in shallow-drawer map cases rather than folded or rolled.

Permanent and long-term maps and drawings are stored in acid-free folders.

Large, heavy atlases and other bound volumes of maps or drawings are stored flat, preferably on roller shelves to facilitate moving them without damage.

Large, heavy atlases and other bound volumes of maps or drawings are stored flat, preferably on roller shelves to facilitate moving them without damage.


Records on microfilm are arranged and indexed to permit ready retrieval of individual documents.

Microfilms contain a title header or initial target page that identifies the records.

Boxes containing microfilm are individually labeled with the record series and date span of the records, and they are sequentially numbered.

Permanent records are filmed separately from records with shorter retention periods.

Silver gelatin and nonsilver microfilm are filed separately.

Silver gelatin master microfilm of permanent or long term records are inspected every 2 years while these records are in storage.