What are web records?
There are certain pieces of website content and/or pages that are considered web records. Dynamic home pages (such as GSA.gov, Acquisition.gov, GSAAdvantage.gov, etc.) are considered web records. Interactive website content and public input related to the website and delivered via the website are also considered to be web records. It’s important to note, however, that not everything that appears on a website is a web record.
Web records are also the written or electronic materials that document the what, when and how a website is managed. Any material, including written documents (governance, reports, memoranda, promotional pieces, letters, etc.) or design documents (wireframes, sites designs, etc.), dealing with the creation, management and maintenance of a website is considered to be a web record.
By law, website managers need to maintain web records. The rules governing the maintenance of federal records cover web records. A formal “records schedule” establishes categories of records, determines how long categories of records must be kept, and, by extension, informs when the records may be deleted or destroyed. Document ownership determines responsibility for record management. Documents and other content which is disseminated via the website are records but they are not typically considered web records. This content belongs to the entity that created it and had it posted on the web. The creating entity maintains the record.
Web records schedule
There are a number of unique and distinct categories of documents (web records) that belong to the office that hosts, creates or manages a website. The schedule for how long each category of records will be retained on the website has been established for the categories in the table below. Note that offices may keep records longer than specified by the schedule.
|#||Item for schedule
Content web records
|1||Press releases and news stories||Removed from website seven (7) years after the end of the fiscal year when issued|
|2||Congressional testimony||Removed from website fifteen (15) years after the end of the fiscal year when issued|
|3||Speeches||Removed from website seven (7) years after the end of the fiscal year when issued|
|4||Directives and orders||Removed from public website when cancelled. Retained on intranet for fifteen (15) years after cancellation|
|5||Executive orders||Convenience copy that can be removed at any time|
|6||Blog posts||Removed from website seven (7) years after the end of the fiscal year when issued|
|7||Informational page||Removed from website (taken offline) when no longer valid. May be destroyed (deleted) one (1) year after the content has been taken offline|
|8||Dynamic homepage||Removed from website (taken offline) when no longer valid. May be destroyed (deleted) one (1) year after the content has been taken offline|
|9||File asset versions||Removed old versions from website three (3) years from the year when the older version of the file was issued|
Administrative Web Records
|#||Item for schedule
Content web records
|1||Templates, style sheets, and code that determine site architecture||May be destroyed when superseded or no longer applicable|
|2||Website design records||May be destroyed when one (1) year old|
|3||Web management and operations records||May be destroyed when two (2) years old|
|4||Site maps||May be destroyed when superseded or no longer applicable|
|5||Customized software configuration files||May be destroyed one (1) year after termination of the software use, and all information in the system has been transferred or deleted|
|6||Metrics — inventory of web activity||May be destroyed when two (2) years old|
|7||Log files||May be destroyed when superseded or no longer applicable|
|8||Usability records, including test designs and usability testing reports||May be destroyed when one (1) year old|
|9||“Contact us” web communication from the public commenting or requesting information||May be destroyed three (3) months after issue is resolved, or request has been fulfilled|
|10||Other transitory files — routine requests for information or publications||May be destroyed when three (3) months old|