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Electronic Mail

  • E-mail may be a Federal record

  • A complete e-mail record will include transmission data (and distribution lists)

  • E-mail with record status should be maintained in a recordkeeping system

Disposition: NARA has authorized deletion of the electronic mail system version of the record after the record has been printed and preserved in a recordkeeping system along with all appropriate transmission data.

NIH e-mail messages. NIH e-mail messages (messages, including attachments, that are created on NIH computer systems or transmitted over NIH networks) that are evidence of the activities of the agency or have informational value are considered Federal records. These records must be maintained in accordance with current NIH Records Management guidelines. Contact your IC Records Officer for additional information.

All e-mail messages are considered Government property, and, if requested for a legitimate Government purpose, must be provided to the requester. Employees' supervisors, NIH staff conducting official reviews or investigations, and the Office of Inspector General may request access to or copies of the e-mail messages. E-mail messages must also be provided to Congressional oversight committees if requested and are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Since most e-mail systems have back-up files that are retained for significant periods of time, e-mail messages and attachments are likely to be retrievable from a back-up file after they have been deleted from an individual's computer. The back-up files are subject to the same requests as the original messages.

Click here for FAQs concerning email records.


Last updated on: 3/12/2007

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