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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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SMG h:3291.1





Transmittal Number 93-02 -- Date: 10/28/1992

[PDF Version]

 1. Purpose
 2. Responsibilities
 3. Transfer Eligibility
 4. SF-135, Records Transmittal and Receipt
 5. Preparing Records for Transfer
 6. Boxing Records
 7. Transferring Records
 8. Receipt and Reference
 9. Recall Procedures
 10. Return of Recalled Records

Attachment A - SF-135 Completion Instructions
Attachment B - List of Assistant Records Liaison Officers
Attachment C - OF-11 Completion Instructions


This Guide provides instructions for the orderly and systematic transfer of FDA Headquarters records to the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) and for their subsequent recall to the Agency when needed.


A. FDA Records Management Officer (HFA-250) will:

1. Approve all records transfers to the WNRC.

2. Serve as point of contact between the Agency and the WNRC.

3. (Assign accession numbers to those groups of records that are ready for transfer to the WNRC.

4. Develop, approve, issue, and supply FDA Records Disposal Schedules and changes thereto.

B. Assistant Records Liaison Officers (ARLOs) will:

1. Ensure that all eligible, and only eligible records (see Paragraph 3 below approved records control schedule as being transferable)records maintained in their area of responsibility are transferred to the WNRC in accordance with the prescribed schedules.

2. Ensure that the necessary paperwork to effect the transfer of the records is correctly prepared and processed.

3. Provide for a supply of records center file retirement boxes to the activities needing them.

4. Arrange for direct delivery of the boxed records to WNRC to their transfer to the point of pick-up by the WNRC.

5. Assist, as necessary, program offices in recalling previously transferred records from the WNRC and their subsequent return.

C. Files Custodians will:

1. Maintain their files in such a manner so as to facilitate the transfer of records when eligible.

2. Transfer all eligible records to the WNRC in accordance with the prescribed schedule.

3. Prepare the documentation needed for the transfer. (This responsibility may be assumed by the ARLO.)

4. Pack and identify the boxes of records as prescribed in this Guide.


The WNRC and other Federal Records Centers have been established by the National Archives and Records Administration to house records that, while no longer needed at Agency work sites on a day-to-day basis, should not be immediately destroyed. To prevent filling the WNRC with records that are unlikely to be needed in the future, National Archiveshas limited the documents that may be stored to those listed in Records Control Schedules. Those schedules applicable to FDA are contained in Appendices A and B-331 to the HHS Department Staff Manual - Records Management. Appendix A (the General Records Schedules) lists those records, mostly administrative, common in most agencies. Appendix B-331 contains records that are unique to FDA. Records not listed in either Appendix A or B-331 will not be accepted for storage unless special prior arrangements are made with the WNRC by the FDA Records Management Officer. All records listed in these appendices are eligible for transfer to WNRC whether transfer is specified in the schedules or not. Thus, in order to transfer scheduled records, it is not necessary that the statement "Transfer to FRC (or WNRC) after..." appear in the disposition instructions. However, records having one year or less until their authorized disposal date must be retained in Agency space. Copies of the Records Control Schedule are available from ARLOs and the FDA Records Management Officer.


This form and its continuation sheet, SF-135-A, are the designated forms for transferring records to the WNRC. Instructions are provided on the back of the form and in Attachment A to this Guide. Prepare the SF-135 concurrently with filling the records center boxes (see paragraph 6). Send the original and three completed copies of the SF-135 through the appropriate ARLO in each center and staff office to the FDA Records Management Officer. A list of the ARLOs is provided in Attachment B to this Guide. (Because of the time needed to send and process the SF-135s, forward them to the FDA Records Management Officer not later than three weeks prior to the planned WNRC records pick-up date. Retain an SF-135 copy for reference.)

After reviewing the SF-135 for completeness and propriety of the transfer, the WNRC will acknowledge it by stamping "Return 1 copy of this SF-135 in box 1 of the accession" and the date. The form will then be returned to the FDA Records Management Officer who will note the WNRC's acknowledgement and forward the SF-135 acknowledgement copy to the ARLO in the initiating organization. The ARLO or files custodian will place the copy on top of the records in the first box of the accession (see Paragraph 6c). Note the boxes may not be sent to the WNRC until the acknowledgement copy of the SF-135 is placed in the first box.


First remove and dispose of any unneeded or duplicate material from among the records to be transferred. Then place the records in the transfer boxes (see next paragraph). Unless the records are merged with others or rearranged, it is usually advisable to keep them in their file folders or jackets.

Ensure the folders/jackets are adequately labeled to differentiate their contents. Place the folders/jackets in the transfer boxes in a logical order (usually in the same sequence as they were taken from the file cabinets or other containers) with the labels showing. This will facilitate removal of individual folders/jackets, if necessary.

Do not overfill the transfer boxes as this may cause them to burst after extended time or use. Conversely, if a box is only partially filled, use crumpled newspapers or similar material to prevent shifting of the records.


A. Types of boxes. Except in unusual circumstances, put transferred records into one of the following types of boxes:

1. Fiberboard, tuck bottom, 14 3/4" x 12" x 9 1/2", NSN 8115-00-117-8249.

2. Fiberboard, non-tuck bottom, 14 3/4" x 12" x 9 1/2" NSN 8115-00-117-8344.

3. Fiberboard, shipping, 15" x 12" x 10" NSN 8115-00-290-3379.

4. Fiberboard, magnetic tapes, 14 3/4" x 11 3/4" x 11 3/4" NSN 8115-00-117-8347.

5. Fiberboard, half size, 14 3/4" x 9 1/2" x 4 7/8" NSN 8115-00-117-8338.

B. Labeling. The following information must be entered with a black felt tip pen directly on one end (short side) of each box of records:

1. The accession number (see Attachment A, items 6a, b, and c).

2. The box number and total number of boxes. Although not required, it will facilitate future retrieval if the following information is also written on each box:

3. The organization transferring the records.

4. A brief description of the records. Do not use adhesive backed separate labels such as former FDA Form 2876 because they may fall off the boxes in time. The WNRC has banned their use for this reason.

C. SF-135. Place the copy of the SF-135 returned by the FDA Records Management Officer showing WNRC acknowledgement (see paragraph 4 above) in box number one of the accession. Place the form across the top of the records inside the box so it will be readily visible when the box is opened. See Paragraph 7 below for disposal of this form.

D. Sealing and Closing. Unless tuck bottom boxes are used, seal the bottoms of the boxes with heavy duty tape. Do not tape or otherwise seal the tops of boxes since this complicates reopening. Rather, intertuck the box flaps (fold the bottom of the last flap under the first flap). This will permit opening a box to retrieve documents without breaking the seal and later having to reseal it.


A. Parklawn Complex. WNRC vehicles pick up transferred records from the Parklawn Building loading dock (room 1A-70) on a regular basis, usually the fourth Monday of each month. For the exact dates, contact the designated ARLO for your organization or the FDA Records Management Officer. To Get the boxes of records to the loading dock, complete a set of Form PHS 6181, Request for Laboring, Materials Handling and Trucking Services. Note on the form if the records contain privileged information or material subject to provisions of the Privacy Act, so that they can be protected in transit. Retain the third copy for reference and send or hand carry the rest of the set to the Shipping and Receiving Office in Room 1A-70 of the Parklawn Building. Personnel from the loading dock will come to your location to pick up the records. Sign the copies of the Form PHS 6181 that they will bring with them, keeping a copy as a receipt for one year.

This procedure was instituted to help prevent loss of records in transit to WNRC. Do not take the records to the loading dock yourself as was sometimes done in the past as this will defeat the procedure's purpose.

B. Other Headquarters Locations. The WNRC does not normally provide pick-up services to locations other than Parklawn. Consequently, special arrangements must be made to transfer records from these locations on an ad hoc basis. To arrange for transfer, contact the ARLO for your organization. 

C. Other Records Centers. To transfer Headquarters records to other than the WNRC, such as personnel or vital operating records, contact the FDA Records Management Officer for special arrangements. 

D. Direct Transfer. Retired records may be taken directly to the WNRC, either by Agency personnel or by a private contractor. When this is done, the Center should be advised a few days in advance, especially when a large volume of records is being delivered.


When the records are received at the WNRC their personnel will remove the accompanying SF-135 form from the first box (see Paragraph 6c above). They will receipt the shipment by completing Item #4 and indicate its WNRC location number in Item #6j of the form. This receipted copy of the SF-135 will be returned to the FDA Records Management Officer who will advise the appropriate ARLO of the location where the records are stored. This information should be retained in case the records need to be recalled from the WNRC (see below).

The FDA Records Management Officer will then send the receipted Form SF-135 to Records Section , Administrative Services Branch, Division of Administrative Management, Office of Facilities and Administrative Management (HFA-224) where it will serve as the Agency's official fill copy. An information copy will also be sent to the appropriate ARLO.


Prepare a three part set of Form OF-11, Reference Request - Federal Records Center, for each record or group of related contiguous records that were originally transferred to WNRC in the same accession. When non-contiguous records from different accessions are needed, prepare a separate OF-11 set for each. Completion instructions are given on the form and a sample of a filled in OF-11 is illustrated in Attachment C.

Forward the completed OF-11 set (s) to the Records Section, Administrative Services Branch, Division of Administrative Management, Office of Facilities and Administrative Management (HFA-224). Records Section is located in Room 1B-49 of the Parklawn Building (Phone (301) 443-1667).

(Note: Certain organizations having a high volume of recalls have designated persons in those organizations to whom the OF-11 may be submitted rather than to the Records Section. These persons will process recall requests originating only within their office.)

Records Section will arrange for the recall of the requested records from WNRC and advise when they have been received and may be picked up.


When no further immediate use of the recalled records is anticipated, return them to WNRC via Records Section (or designated organization/person if recalled by them). Unless instructed otherwise, do not return them directly, as this will defeat the control system. Be sure the records are clearly identified by WNRC location accession number and box number.

DO NOT add new material to folders containing returned records. This may increase their volume so that they cannot be placed back in their boxes. Instead, include this new material in a new accession with appropriate cross reference.

Notify Records Section if the recalled records will be destroyed in-house or retained permanently. This final step in unnecessary if the PERMANENT WITHDRAWAL box on the OF-11 was checked. Do not destroy any records prior to their authorized destruction time given in an appropriate records control schedule.

Attachment A 

SF-135 Completion Instructions

Complete the entries on the form as described below and on the back of the form.

Enter the page number and number of pages at the top right corner of the form.

1. Enter:

Washington National Records Center
Washington, D.C. 20409

2. Enter: FDA Records Management Officer. Leave room for signature. Leave the date blank.

3. Enter either your name, organization, and telephone number or that of a person whom the WNRC may contact if a problem or question arises.

4. Leave blank. WNRC will complete this item.

5. Enter:

FDA Records Management Officer (HFA-250)
Food and Drug Administration, PHS, HHS
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857

(Use this address even if you are not located in the Parklawn complex.)

6a, b, and c. Obtain the accession number from the FDA Records Management Officer.

6d. Enter the volume for each accession. When boxes described in paragraph 6a (1), (2), (3), or (4), are used, base the volume at the rate of one cubic foot per box. Measure the volume when larger or smaller size containers are used.

6e.Enter the box numbers. If you do not itemize the contents of each box separately in 6f, enter all the boxes in the accession as one entry (i.e., 1 - 18).

6f. Enter a brief description of the contents of the records in the box(es). The description should be adequate enough to allow you or your successor to identify the records if they are recalled or destroyed. To facilitate recall or specific records in multi-box accessions, enter differentiating information for each box such as first and last case or jacket numbers, names or other alphabetic information, file names, or dates.

Note the in all cases the cut-off date of last action for the records must be included in the description.

Enter the appropriate restriction code as explained on the back of the SF-135. If other than the "N" code is used, describe the restriction in column 6f.

6h. Enter the disposal authority from either the General Records Schedule (Appendix A of the HHS Department Staff Manual - Records Management) for administrative records or Appendix B-331 of the Manual for records unique to FDA. When the Appendix B-331 authority is used, it will also be necessary to include the National Archives and Records Administration disposal authority designator (NARA "Job Number". This designator is given in parenthesis after the name of the record series in the Appendix. Unless special arrangements have been made in advance with the FDA Records Management Officer, no records will be accepted by the WNRC unless they are covered by one of these disposal authorities. If you are not sure of the proper disposal authority for your records, contact the appropriate ARLO or FDA Records Management Officer. Do not attempt to forward any records that are not listed on a disposal authority without first contacting your ARLO.

6i. Based on the retention period included with the disposal authority cited in item 6f, compute the date the records may be destroyed and enter it in this column. For example, if the date of last action of the records you are transferring to WNRC was December, 1989 and the disposal authority gives a ten year retention period, enter 12/99 in column 6i. Note that the WNRC will not accept any records that have a disposal date of one year or less from the date sent. If no precise retention period is given (i.e., in the case of the Administration Files: Destroy on repeal of enabling legislation), enter "indefinite" and "review for disposal on (date)" in this column. The review for disposal date should be not more than ten years from the date of transfer to WNRC.