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Because the records of individual Members of the House of Representatives are considered personal property, what happens to those records once a Member leaves office is up to him or her. Legislative records, particularly files and reports used to develop policy and draft bills, have historical value and are one of the types of files most used in current Congressional collections, as they point toward legislative intent. The House Records Management Manual for Members suggests that offices permanently maintain these types of files. This study reveals to what extent House offices are preserving records that provide future researchers with legislative intent, finding that while congressional staffs are not largely aware of the manual, they do attempt to preserve differing types of legislative background materials. There is a general awareness that their practices have room for improvement, but with no requirements to implement a retention schedule, there is little incentive for congressional staffs to develop better records management procedures.



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