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A record is broadly defined as documentary material, in any media, that is created or received in the normal course of laboratory business, is worth preserving, either temporarily or permanently, because it provides evidence of the organization's policies, procedures, activities, and decisions and has technical, administrative, historical, and/or legal value. Laboratory records cannot be destroyed unless they are covered by a records retention schedule which indicates the authorized point at which they can be legally destroyed.

The DOE/LBNL Contract between the University of California and DOE specifies that all records, except the University's fiscal and administrative records, are federal records. Individuals do not own Laboratory records and do not have the authority to dispose of them or transfer records to another institution. If individuals maintain personal files at the Laboratory, they must not mix Laboratory records with their personal records. Individuals may make convenience copies of appropriate Laboratory records for their personal files in reasonable quantities.