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Information Quality Guidelines

OPM's Information Quality Guidelines: Section IV

Section IV. Definitions
  1. "Affected" person is an individual or entity who may use, benefit or be harmed by the disseminated information. This includes both persons seeking to address information about themselves or about other persons to whom they are related or with whom they are associated, as well as persons who use the information.

  2. "Dissemination" means agency initiated or sponsored distribution of information to the public (see 5 CFR 1320.3(d) "Conduct or Sponsor") including third-party information as defined in item I. below. Dissemination does not include distributions of information or other materials that are:

    1. intended for Government employees or agency contractors or grantees unless OPM represents the information as, or uses the information in support of, an official OPM position, or the grantee is disseminating the information at the request of OPM, or the grant requires OPM approval of the information request;
    2. intended to be limited to intra- or inter-agency use of sharing of Government information;
    3. produced in response to requests for agency records under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act or similar law;
    4. correspondence or other communication limited to individuals or to other persons, within the meaning of paragraph G below; or
    5. communications such as fact sheets, press releases, interviews, speeches and similar statements, but only to the extent that they announce, support the announcement or give public notice of information that OPM has disseminated elsewhere.

    Also excluded from the definition are archival records that contain information disseminated prior to October 1, 2002; public filings; responses to subpoenas or compulsory document productions; or documents prepared and released in the context of adjudicative processes to the extent that the adjudicative process provided an opportunity to contest information quality in a timely manner. These guidelines do not impose any additional requirements on OPM during adjudicative proceedings and do not provide parties to such adjudicative proceedings any additional rights of challenge or appeal.

  3. "Influential," when used in the phrase "influential scientific, financial or statistical information," refers to disseminated information that OPM determines will have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or important private sector decisions.

  4. "Information," for purposes of these guidelines, including the administrative mechanism described in Sections II and III above, means any communication or representation of facts or data, in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative or audiovisual forms. This definition does not include:

    1. opinions, where the presentation makes clear that the statements are subjective opinions, rather than facts. Underlying information upon which the opinion is based may be subject to these guidelines only if that information is published by OPM;
    2. information originated by, and attributed to, non-OPM sources, provided OPM does not expressly rely upon it. Examples include hyperlinks on OPM's website to information that others disseminate and reports of advisory committees published on OPM's website;
    3. statements related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of OPM and other materials produced for OPM employees, contractors or agents;
    4. descriptions of the agency, its responsibilities and its organizational components;
    5. statements, the modification of which might cause harm to the national security, including harm to the national defense or foreign relations of the United States;
    6. statements of Administration policy; however, any underlying information published by OPM upon which a statement is based may be subject to these guidelines;
    7. testimony or comments of OPM officials before courts, administrative bodies, Congress or the media;
    8. investigatory material compiled pursuant to U.S. law or for law enforcement purposes in the United States; or
    9. statements that are, or that reasonably may be expected to become, the subject of litigation, whether before a U.S. or foreign court or in an international arbitral or other dispute resolution proceeding.
  5. "Integrity" refers to the security of information, protection of the information from unauthorized access or revision, to prevent the information from being compromised through corruption or falsification.

  6. "Objectivity" addresses whether disseminated information is being presented in an accurate, clear, complete and unbiased manner, including background information where warranted by the circumstances.

  7. "Person" means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust or legal representative, an organized group of individuals, a regional, national, State, territorial, tribal or local government or branch thereof, or a political subdivision of a State, territory, tribal or local government or a branch of a political subdivision, or an international organization;

  8. "Quality" is an encompassing term comprising utility, objectivity, and integrity. Therefore, the guidelines sometimes refer to these three statutory terms, collectively, as "quality."

  9. "Third-Party Information" means information, prepared by an outside party, that OPM disseminates in a manner that reasonably suggests that OPM agrees with the information and that provides the appearance that the information represents OPM's view. This information is covered by these guidelines.

  10. "Utility" refers to the usefulness of the information to its intended users, including the public.

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