Central Files

Identity area

Type of entity

Authorized form of name

Central Files

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence


The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) established a centralized files system on September 30, 1946 with the issuance of Administrative Order No. 3, "Organization of the Communications and Records Services". Initially reporting to the Bank Vice President, the Communications and Records unit was responsible for opening and routing all incoming written official wire, mail, and other communications, dispatching all outgoing written official communications, and maintaining the centralfiles location of official correspondence created by Bank departments and offices.

According to the 1947 Administration Manual, "each office and department will forward Bank records received or created by it, as soon as they cease to be working papers" to the General Files. Initially only the Secretary's Department, Treasurer, Loan, Research, and Legal Departments were authorized to maintain their own files outside of the General Files. Executive Directors' minutes, agenda, and similar documents were also excluded from the centralized files, except those distributed by the Secretary for filing.

Beginning in 1948 through the next decade, file collections from Loan, Economics (formerly Research), Legal, and Technical Operations Departments as well as the Economic Development Institute were incorporated into the Central Files. As the Bank grew to include the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1956 and International Development Association (IDA) in 1960, the Central Files included records of those entities as well.

The centralized files were organized according to a Bank-wide classification system and files were traditionally divided into four groups: general files (or non-regional files); operational files (country-specific or regional files) generated mostly by the Loan and Economic Departments; membership, bond and finance files; and official documents mostly legal in nature including loan agreements.

The Communications and Records unit succeeded by the Central Files Section (ADMCF), theGeneral Files Section (ADMGF) and the Records Management Section (later under the Information Solutions Department) were responsible for classifying and maintaining official files from 1946 to 1987. In practice however, official files were incomplete and fragmentary, as departments often kept their own files for convenience or did not forward official correspondence to Central Files once it was no longer required for business.

By the 1960s the maintenance of a central filing system had become progressively cumbersome as the growth of Bank Group operations had resulted in an increasingly large volume of files. As a result, decentralization of some department files began occurring in 1960 with the Legal Department. By late 1967, other departments considered to be specialized including Treasurer, Economic Development Institute, and the Personnel Division of the Administration Department were also authorized to keep their own files.

The physical relocation of Central Files from the Bank's main complex tothe tenth floor of the G Street building in May 1970 also led to the sharp decrease in the use of Central Files and an increase of duplicate sets of working files in the divisions and departments throughout the Bank. In response to this problem, Central File Stations were created and located in close physical proximity to their primary users, although the files remained under the administrative control of the Records Management Section. The IFC Files Station was the first to become a satellite file stationin June 1971 followed by the Bank Administration and Policy (BAP) Central Files Stations (1972 - 1974). These were renamed BAP Central Records Stations (1975 - 1977) and then the Non-Regional Information Centers (NRIC, 1978 - 1987). From 1972 to 1987 these satellite records stations served Administration, Operations Policy, Economic Research and External Relations Vice Presidencies, among other non-regional departments.

As a result of the Bank's July 1987 reorganization of the records management function, Non-Regional Information Centers were closed and recordkeeping responsibilities were turned over to the records-creating offices.


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

Related subjects

Related places