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Administrative Department
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Forms Program Definitions

Electronic Form.  An officially prescribed set of data residing in an electronic medium with exact sequence as prescribed by the issuing component or that is used to produce a mirror-like image of the officially prescribed form. There are basically two types of electronic forms – one that is part of an automated transaction, and one where the image/data elements reside on a computer. These forms can be integrated, managed, processed, and/or transmitted through a component’s information processing workflow systems.

Form.  A fixed arrangement of captioned spaces designed for entering and extracting prescribed information.  Any document, including letters, post cards, and memoranda printed or otherwise reproduced with space for filling in information, descriptive material, or addresses; or any format designed to structure the arrangement of such information.  Certain printed items without fill-in space, such as contract provisions, instruction sheets, notices, tags, labels, and posters, may be treated as forms to identify and control them for reference, printing, stocking, and distribution, but do not come within the definition of forms as used in this instruction.

Format.  A guide, table, sample or exhibit that illustrates a predetermined arrangement or layout for presenting information. Most formats are largely narrative in nature and the space needed by the respondents to furnish the desired information varies substantially. Formats are often used where the arrangement and layout of items are simple and flexible and where the number of respondents is fairly limited. A format is used instead of a printed form in such instances, requiring a less expensive and more effective method of collecting the desired information. Formats should not be used in place of a standardized form or to expedite a project. Formats often place an unnecessary burden on the respondent and fail to provide the needed data.

Information. Any communication or representation of knowledge such as facts, data, or opinion in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative, or audiovisual forms.

Information Collection (Report). Data or information collected for use in determining policy; planning, controlling and evaluating operations and performance; making administrative determinations; or preparing other reports. The data or information may be in narrative, statistical, graphic, or any other form and may be displayed on paper, magnetic tape, on the World Wide Web, or other media.

Official Form.  A  form which is numbered, dated, titled, and designed  per established Navy forms management criteria.  Such a form may not be altered for local use, or a substitute form used in place of it without concurrence of the form sponsor.

Originator.  Any activity assuming responsibility for a form. The originator shall decide what items to include on the form, estimated annual usage and form availability (i.e. stocking point or website). This information shall be submitted to the forms manager for approval. If the form will be used outside the originators office, the originator must inform users in writing that the form is required and also provide a signed copy of the requiring instruction, notice, or order to the command’s forms manager.

Personal Information. Information about an individual that identifies, relates, or is unique to, or describes him or her; e.g., SSN, age, military rank, civilian grade, marital status, race, salary, home/office phone numbers, etc.

Public Information Collection. An information collection involving members of the public.

Sponsor.  Person designated to take action on behalf of a form.  No actions will take place in the life of a form without the sponsors approval.

Unauthorized Form.  An uncontrolled form, issued without an identifying prefix or number, and not compatible with any particular method of completion. Unauthorized forms need not be completed.

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