The head of each Federal agency shall make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency's activities.
Cite as 44 U.S.C. § 3101 Source: Pub. L. 90-620, Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1297. Notes from the Office of Law Revision Counsel current through 6/21/2017 HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES
Based on 44 U.S. Code, 1964 ed., §396(a) (June 30, 1949, ch. 288, title V, §506(a), as added Sept. 5, 1950, ch. 849, §6(d), 64 Stat. 583).
MANAGING GOVERNMENT RECORDS
Memorandum of President of the United States, Nov. 28, 2011, 76 F.R. 75423, provided:
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
SECTION 1. Purpose. This memorandum begins an executive branch-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices. Improving records management will improve performance and promote openness and accountability by better documenting agency actions and decisions. Records transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide the prism through which future generations will understand and learn from our actions and decisions. Modernized records management will also help executive departments and agencies (agencies) minimize costs and operate more efficiently. Improved records management thus builds on Executive Order 13589 of November 9, 2011 (Promoting Efficient Spending), which directed agencies to reduce spending and focus on mission-critical functions.
When records are well-managed, agencies can use them to assess the impact of programs, to reduce redundant efforts, to save money, and to share knowledge within and across their organizations. In these ways, proper records management is the backbone of open Government.
Decades of technological advances have transformed agency operations, creating challenges and opportunities for agency records management. Greater reliance on electronic communication and systems has radically increased the volume and diversity of information that agencies must manage. With proper planning, technology can make these records less burdensome to manage and easier to use and share. But if records management policies and practices are not updated for a digital age, the surge in information could overwhelm agency systems, leading to higher costs and lost records.