Adapted from A Federal Records Management Glossary. National Archives and Records Administration, 1993.

B-C

BACKGROUND DENSITY
The opacity of the noninformation area of a microform. See also DENSITY (2).
BACKING UP
Making a copy of a computer file for use if the original is lost, damaged, or destroyed. Sometimes called archiving. See also DUMPING.
BAR CODE
A series of rectangular marks and spaces in a planned pattern. Used in records management to encode indexing information.
BASE
In microform records, a transparent plastic material, such as cellulose triacetate or polyester, on which a photographic emulsion or other material may be placed. See also CELLULOSE TRIACETATE FILM, NITRATE FILM, POLYESTER FILM.
BINARY CODE
A code using two distinct characters, normally 0 and 1. See also CODE (2).
BIT
The small unit of information (usually either a 0 or a 1) recognizable by a computer. A combination of binary digit. See also BYTE.
BIT-MAPPED GRAPHICS
A method of generating images by representing a picture image as a matrix of dots or picture elements, such as in an optical disk system. Also called raster graphics. See also OPTICAL DISK (OD), PICTURE ELEMENT, SCANNING.
BLIP
In microform records, an optical mark, usually rectangular, located below and/or above an image on a roll of microfilm and used to count images or frames automatically.
BLOCK
(1) One or more chronological segments of cutoff, or closed, records that are in the same series and are dealt with as a unit for disposition purposes, especially during the transfer of permanent records to the National Archives. For example, a transfer of records in 5-year blocks.
(2) In electronic records, a grouping of data stored as a unit on an external storage medium and dealt with as a unit by the computer for input or output. (3) The records of an Agency, organizational component, or functional area. See also ACCESSION, CUTOFF, PERMANENT RECORDS, TRANSFER.
BUSINESS NEEDS
An Agency's need to conduct its business, maintain a record of its essential activities and decisions for its own use, support oversight and audit of those activities, fulfill legal requirements, and permit appropriate public access.
BYTE
The number of bits representing a character to a computer, normally 8 bits. See also BIT.

CAMERA
A photographic device with an optical system that is used for exposing light-sensitive material. See also COMPUTER OUTPUT MICROFILMER, PLANETARY CAMERA, ROTARY CAMERA, STEP-AND-REPEAT CAMERA.
CAMERA MICROFILM
First-generation microfilm. See also MASTER MICROFORM.
CAMERA-PROCESSOR
A device that functions as both a camera and a processor. See also CAMERA, PROCESSOR (3).
CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS
Graphic representations drawn to scale of selected features of the earth's surface and atmosphere and of other planets and planetary satellites. Include maps, charts (hydrographic/nautical, weather, and aeronautical), photomaps, orthophotomaps, atlases, cartograms, globes, relief models, and related records, such as field survey notes, map history case files, and finding aids. Also include digital cartographic records, such as geographic information system records, which are managed like other electronic records. See also REMOTE-SENSING IMAGERY RECORDS.
CASE FILES
Records, regardless of media, documenting a specific action, event, person, place, project, or other matter. Include personnel, project, and transaction files, which are types of case files.
CASE WORKING FILES
Background or support files, such as worksheets, questionnaires, rough notes, calculations, or drafts, used to prepare or analyze case file documents. Often bulky when in paper form. See also WORKING FILES.
CELLULOSE NITRATE FILM
See NITRATE FILM.
CELLULOSE TRIACETATE FILM
A film base of transparent plastic that is relatively nonflammable but has some difficulty keeping its original size and shape. See also BASE.
CENTRAL FILES
Files accumulated by several offices ororganizational units and maintained and supervised in one location. Also called centralized files.
CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU)
The component of a computer system that interprets and carries out program instructions. See also HARDWARE.
CHARACTER
In electronic records, any symbol, such as a number, letter, or punctuation mark, that represents data and that, when encoded, can be processed or stored by a computer system.
CHARGEOUT
The act and result of recording the removal and loan of a document or a file to indicate its location. Usually involves the use of a form, such as OF 23.
CHARTS
See CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS.
CHRONOLOGICAL (CHRON) FILES
See READING FILES.
CIRCULAR NO. A-130
See OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-130.
CLASSIFICATION
(1) The process of determining the sequence or order in which to arrange documents. See also ARRANGEMENT, FILE DESIGNATION.
(2) See FILING SYSTEM.
(3) The process or result of identifying records containing national security information. See also CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, DECLASSIFICATION.
CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
Records or information requiring, for national security reasons, safeguards against unauthorized disclosure. See also ADMINISTRATIVELY CONTROLLED INFORMATION, CLOSED FILE (2), DECLASSIFICATION.
CLOSED FILE
(1) A file unit or series containing documents on which action has been completed and to which more documents are not likely to be added.
(2) A file unit or series to which access is limited or denied. See also ADMINISTRATIVELY CONTROLLED INFORMATION, CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.
CODE
(1) See FILE CODES.
(2) In electronic records, a set of rules to convert data to a form that computers can process. Also called a computer code. Examples include ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) and EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code).
(3) A computer program.
(4) A systematically arranged collection of laws or regulations, such as the United States Code (U.S.C.) or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR)
See CODE (4).
CODEBOOK
In electronic records, a guidebook identifying and explaining the codes used in a computer file or data base. See also DOCUMENTATION (3).
CODING
(1) The process of putting abbreviated file designations on documents. See also FILE CODES, FILE DESIGNATION.
(2) The process of converting data to a form that a computer can process. See also CODE (2) and (3).
COMPACT DISK (CD)
A relatively small optical disk on which text, data, sounds, visual images, and the like can be recorded digitally and then scanned, decoded, and transmitted by a laser beam to a computer monitor, television set, or playback device. See also AUDIOVISUAL RECORDS, OPTICAL DISK.
COMPACT DISK--INTERACTIVE (CD-I)
A compact disk combining audiovisual, text/data, software storage, and retrieval capabilities. See also COMPACT DISK, OPTICAL DISK.
COMPREHENSIVE RECORDS SCHEDULE
A schedule or collection of schedules based on NARA-approved disposition authorities and issued as a directive or manual to cover all the records of an independent Agency or department, or those of a bureau, service, or office within a department. Should also include instructions for nonrecord materials, whose disposition is based on Agency needs. See also RECORDS SCHEDULE.
COMPUTER
An electronic device designed to accept data (input), perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed (processing), and supply the results of these operations (output). A digital computer processes data as numbers and includes mainframe computers, minicomputers, and microcomputers. In contrast, an analog computer represents data by measurable quantities, such as voltages. See also ANALOG, DIGITAL, LOCAL AREA NETWORK, MAINFRAME COMPUTER, MICROCOMPUTER, MINICOMPUTER, OFFICE AUTOMATION.
COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN (CAD)
See ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING RECORDS.
COMPUTER-AIDED ENGINEERING (CAE)
See ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING RECORDS.
COMPUTER-AIDED MANUFACTURING (CAM)
See ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING RECORDS.
COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE
The organizational structure of a computer system, including hardware and software. See also INFORMATION SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE.
COMPUTER-ASSISTED LOCATER (CAL) SYSTEM
A computer system that keeps track of documents as they circulate through an Agency.
COMPUTER-ASSISTED RETRIEVAL (CAR) SYSTEM
A records storage and retrieval system, normally microfilm-based, that uses a computer for indexing, automatic markings such as blips or bar codes for identification, and automatic devices for reading those markings and, in some applications, for transporting the film for viewing.
COMPUTER CODE
See CODE (2) and (3).
COMPUTER INPUT MICROFILM (CIM)
Microfilm containing data suitable for direct input into a computer.
COMPUTER OUTPUT MICROFILM (COM)
Microfilm containing data converted and recorded directly from a computer. Generally used instead of hard copy printouts.
COMPUTER OUTPUT MICROFILMER
A device for converting data from a computer into human-readable language and recording it onto microfilm. See also CAMERA, COMPUTER OUTPUT MICROFILM.
COMPUTER PRINTOUT
See PRINTOUT.
COMPUTER PROGRAM
(1) A systematic plan for the automatic solution of a problem by a computer.
(2) A sequence of instructions enabling a computer to solve a problem. See also SOFTWARE.
COMPUTER SECURITY
The protection of the information and physical assets of a computer system.
COMPUTER SYSTEM
A configuration, or working combination, of hardware, software, and data communication devices. See also AUTOMATED INFORMATION SYSTEM (AIS), ELECTRONIC RECORDS SYSTEM, INFORMATION SYSTEM.
CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS
See ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING RECORDS.
CONTINGENCY PLANNING
Instituting policies and procedures to mitigate the effects of potential emergencies or disasters on an Agency's operations and records. Contingency planning is part of the continuity of operations planning required under Federal Preparedness Circulars and other guidance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Executive Order 12656. See also VITAL RECORDS.
CONTINGENT RECORDS
Records scheduled for final disposition at some unspecified future time after the occurrence of a particular event, such as the decommissioning of a vessel, the sale of property, or the destruction of a building. See also RECORDS.
CONTINUED PRESERVATION
See PERMANENT RECORDS, PRESERVATION, RECORDS.
CONTINUING VALUE
The lasting value of records, especially of permanent records. See also PERMANENT RECORDS.
CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS
The capability to continue to operate, or rapidly resume operations, in an emergency or threat of an emergency. Activities may include the activation of a crisis management headquarters at the national or regional level; the evacuation of work force personnel from their normal operating locations; the selection and occupation of a relocation site able to support the continuation of essential activities; and the provisioning of ADP, logistics, and telecommunications support by temporary use of nonstandard or alternate means.
CONTINUITY REFERENCE FORM
A form, such as OF 22, used to replace a record that has been moved to another location in the file. Often indicates that correspondence has been brought forward from a cutoff subject file for attachment to correspondence in the current year's file.
CONTRACTOR DATA
See CONTRACTOR RECORDS.
CONTRACTOR RECORDS
Data produced and/or maintained by a contractor for a Federal Agency and required to provide adequate and proper documentation of that Agency's programs and to manage them effectively. Also called contractor data. See also ADEQUATE AND PROPER DOCUMENTATION, PROPRIETARY INFORMATION, RECORDS.
CONVENIENCE FILES
Nonrecord copies of correspondence, completed forms, and other documents kept solely for ease of access and reference. See also TECHNICAL REFERENCE FILES, WORKING FILES.
COPY
(1) A reproduction of the contents of an original document, prepared simultaneously or separately and usually identified by function or by method of creation. Copies identified by function include action copy, information or reference copy, official file copy, reading or chronological file copy, suspense or tickler file copy, and stock copy. Copies identified by method of creation include carbon copy, electrostatic copy, mimeograph copy, and ribbon copy.
(2) In electronic records, the action or result of reading data from a source, leaving the source data unchanged, and writing the same data elsewhere on a medium that may differ from the source.
(3) See USE COPIES.
CORRESPONDENCE
Letters, postcards, memorandums, notes, telecommunications, and any other form of addressed, written communications that are sent and received. See also GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES, TRANSITORY CORRESPONDENCE FILES.
CREATION
See RECORDS CREATION.
CROSS-REFERENCE
In files management, a finding aid, such as OF 21, directing a user from one place in a file to another when a particular document must be retrievable under more than one filing feature. See also FILING FEATURE, INDEX (1).
CURRENT RECORDS
Records necessary to conduct the current business of an office and therefore generally maintained in office space and equipment. See also NONCURRENT RECORDS, SEMICURRENT RECORDS.
CUSTODY
Guardianship, or control, of records, including both physical possession (physical custody) and legal responsibility (legal custody), unless one or the other is specified.
CUTOFF
Breaking, 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 and, for correspondence files, to permit the establishment of new files. Case files are generally cut off at the end of the year in which the case is closed. Cutoff is sometimes abbreviated as COFF and is also called file cutoff or file break. See also BLOCK (1).
CYCLE
The periodic removal of obsolete copies of vital records and their replacement with copies of current vital records. This may occur daily, weekly, quarterly, annually or at other designated intervals.