Standards of Interest to the FIRM Council

Take a FIRM Stand!

Standard ~ Something from which to digress.

The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them from which to choose.

- Authors Unknown

OMB Circular A-119 encourages agencies to use and participate in the development of voluntary consensus standards, including international standards.  Raines' Rules require agencies to avoid customized solutions and to use standards-compliant commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications whenever possible.  OMB Circular A-76 suggests that agencies should refrain from engaging in activities that are not inherently governmental in nature.  OMB Circular A-123 requires standards for internal controls, including documentation that is promptly recorded, properly classified, and readily available for examination.  In Exhibit 300B (Part II.E) to accompany budget requests for information technology projects, OMB Circular A-11 (Part 3, p. 548) requires agencies to:

Several elements of the President's December 17, 1999, E-gov directive are also highly pertinent.  The first directs agencies to organize and promote access to information in ways that citizens are likely to seek it.  (FOIA requires requesters to "reasonably describe" the records they seek.)  The fifth directive requires agency officials to make their E-mail addresses more readily available for questions from the public.  E-mail is designed for quick, informal communications and is appropriately used for such purposes.  However, it is not designed to manage or provide efficient, controlled access to substantive, authoritative records.  (Records are documents that have been processed so as to have sufficient value to meet business requirements that are more than ephemeral in nature.)  The President's ninth directive requires agencies to use the Internet to become "... more open, efficient, and responsive ..."  Openness and efficiency require the adoption and use of standards.  Responsiveness depends upon a metadata standard by which government E-records may be queried and retrieved via the Internet in terms that are meaningful to the average citizen.

Here are summaries of the standards that have been identified by the FIRM E-records Standards Committee as being of interest to records managers.  If you would like to summarize additional standards, please download and fill out this template and then transmit it to Alice Gannon, CRM, chair of the Standards Committee.

Other Indices of Pertinent Standards

*Martin Bryan of The Diffuse Project advises that OII's links will be replaced by a new service at

Regulations governing electronic records management are set forth in 36 CFR 1234.10(d), (h), and (m) and 1234.20(a), which require agency heads to:

In accord with Circular A-119 and Raines' Rules, standards-compliant COTS systems should be used whenever possible.  FIRM's E-records Standards Committee plans to propose a standard set of metadata to describe and classify all U.S. federal E-records.  Australia has proposed the adoption of an international standard.  Here are some of the metadata sets that should be considered.

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This page last modified by Owen Ambur on May 9, 2000 (Links to FIRM Home Page updated January 12, 2010)