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USDA Information Quality Guidelines

General Requirements

These general information quality guidelines apply to all types of information disseminated by USDA agencies and offices..

  • USDA will strive to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information that its agencies and offices disseminate to the public.
  • USDA agencies and offices will adopt a basic standard of quality (including objectivity, utility, and integrity) and take appropriate steps to incorporate information quality criteria into their information dissemination practices.
  • USDA agencies and offices will review the quality (including objectivity, utility, and integrity) of information before it is disseminated to ensure that it complies with the standards set forth in these Guidelines.
  • USDA agencies and offices will treat information quality as integral to every step in their development of information, including creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination.
  • In accordance with OMB guidance, when collecting information that requires OMB clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act, USDA agencies and offices will demonstrate in the clearance package submitted to OMB that the information collection would result in information that will comply with OMB and USDA information quality guidelines.

The following information quality criteria comprise the general quality standards that USDA agencies and offices will follow in developing and reviewing information and disseminating it to the public.

Objectivity

  • USDA agencies and offices will strive to ensure that the information they disseminate is substantively accurate, reliable, and unbiased and presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner.
  • To the extent possible, consistent with confidentiality protections, USDA agencies and offices will identify the source of the information so that the public can assess whether the information is objective.

Utility

  • USDA agencies and offices will assess the usefulness of the information they disseminate to its intended users, including the public.
  • When transparency of information is relevant for assessing the information's usefulness from the public's perspective, USDA agencies and offices will ensure that transparency is addressed in their review of the information prior to its dissemination.
  • USDA agencies and offices will ensure that disseminated information is accessible to all persons pursuant to the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Integrity

  • USDA agencies and offices will protect information they maintain from unauthorized access or revision to ensure that disseminated information is not compromised through corruption or falsification.
  • USDA agencies and offices will secure their information resources by implementing the programs and policies required by the Government Information Security Reform Act.
  • USDA agencies and offices will maintain the integrity of confidential information and comply with the statutory requirements to protect the information it gathers and disseminates. These include: The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended; The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; The Computer Security Act of 1987; The Freedom of Information Act; and OMB Circulars A-123, A-127, and A-130.
Last Modified: 04/22/2012