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Implementing Disposition Using NIH Manual Chapter 1743

Flowchart summarizing text of page. Implementing Dispositions: Are records permanent? Implementing Dispositions: Destroy Transferring Records: Transfer to Federal Records Center (FRC) Transferring Legal Custody to NARA Destruction at Federal Records Centers Transferring Legal Custody to NARA

NIH Manual Chapter 1743, Keeping and Destroying Records contains descriptions of records series. It also provides you with specific instructions as to how long records may be kept and what must be done with them after the specified period. These instructions are known as the disposition, and this information is provided at the end of each series description.

After you identify the records series, a disposition date can be calculated. Records can be either temporary or permanent.

Temporary records are those records that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approves for either immediate disposal or for disposal after a specified time or event. Temporary records not yet at their destruction date, depending on how long they must be held, can be handled in two ways:

  1. Stored in your office.
  2. Transferred to a storage facility.

Permanent records are those that NARA identifies as having sufficient value to warrant continued preservation by the federal government as part of the National Archives of the United States. Permanent records can also be handled in two ways:

  1. Held for a period of time at a storage facility before being transferred to NARA.
  2. Sent directly to NARA.

Records transferred to storage may be sent to a federal records center (FRC) or a commercial storage facility. The use of an FRC is recommended. These facilities actively manage your records and will guide you every step of the way. FRCs offer pickup and delivery services in the Washington, DC, area, alert you when your records have reached their destruction date, handle the transfer of records to NARA, and provide reference services for easy access to your records. You may choose to store your records at commercial storage facilities; however, the facility must meet NARA regulations.

If records are past their destruction date and they are not subject to a records audit, freeze, or other event that may forbid it, they should be immediately destroyed. If more than six months remain until the records become eligible for destruction, you should transfer them to an FRC for storage. If less than six months remain until the destruction date, you may temporarily maintain the records in your office. The National Interagency Fire Center website provides a useful tool which calculates the disposition date according to NARA’s quarterly disposition schedule.

Examples of dispositions found in 1743 include:

  • PERMANENT. Review files at 5-year intervals and transfer those which are no longer needed for reference to the Federal Records Center. Offer to National Archives when 15 years old.
  • PERMANENT. Offer to National Archives when 7 years old.
  • Destroy after 2 years. Earlier disposal is authorized.
  • Destroy when 6 years old.
  • Destroy when superseded or obsolete.
  • Destroy when no longer needed for reference.
  • Destroy when funds are obligated.
  • Destroy 6 years and 3 months after final payment. (Place in inactive file on final payment, transfer fiscal year block to Federal Records Center after 2 years.)
  • Destroy 6 years after completion of contract.

These instructions are used to calculate the records' date of final action.

Below are links to examples of calculating final action dates:

  1. Minutes of NIH Advisory Committees
  2. Passenger Reimbursement Files
  3. Routine Procurement Files
  4. Subject Files

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