Determine whether the item (e-mail message, database record, etc.) in question is necessary to document the organization, function, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Agency or program. If so, the item is a Federal record and must be managed as such.

The most frequent types of nonrecord documents and messages are information copies not needed to document activities and personal papers not related to Agency work.

If an item qualifies as a Federal record, determine whether it fits in one of the categories of Federal records that can be disposed of relatively quickly. Paper records of this type do not need to be included in official files, and e-mail messages can be deleted. Types of records in this category include:

  • Transitory documents
  • Suspense, tracking and control documents
  • Facilitative documents
  • Disposable supporting materials not required for longer-term documentation

If a record is judged to be part of the longer-term "adequate and proper documentation" of the organization, function, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the Agency or program, then it needs to be moved to a recordkeeping system.