32 CFR 701.18 - Agency record.
Agency records are either created or obtained by an agency and under agency control at the time of the FOIA request. Agency records are stored as various kinds of media, such as:
(a) Products of data compilation (all books, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, inclusive of those in electronic form or format, or other documentary materials), regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law in connection with the transaction of public business and in Department of the Navy possession and control at the time the FOIA request is made.
(b) Care should be taken not to exclude records from being considered agency records, unless they fall within one of the following categories:
(1) Objects or articles, such as structures, furniture, paintings, three-dimensional models, vehicles, equipment, parts of aircraft, ships, etc., whatever their historical value or value as evidence.
(2) Anything that is not a tangible or documentary record, such as an individual's memory or oral communication.
(3) Personal records of an individual not subject to agency creation or retention requirements, created and maintained primarily for the convenience of an agency employee, and not distributed to other agency employees for their official use. Personal papers fall into three categories: those created before entering Government service; private materials brought into, created, or received in the office that were not created or received in the course of transacting Government business, and work-related personal papers that are not used in the transaction of Government business.
(4) A record must exist and be in the possession and control of the DON at the time of the request to be considered subject to this instruction and the FOIA. There is no obligation to create, compile, or obtain a record to satisfy a FOIA request.
(5) Hard copy or electronic records, which are subject to FOIA requests under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3), and which are available to the public through an established distribution system, or through the Federal Register, the National Technical Information Service, or the Internet, normally need not be processed under the provisions of the FOIA. If a request is received for such information, DON activities shall provide the requester with guidance, inclusive of any written notice to the public, on how to obtain the information. However, if the requester insists that the request be processed under the FOIA, then process the request under FOIA.