Guiding principles

  1. Government archives and records authorities are responsible for advocating the implementation of comprehensive records management programs in the public sector and for assisting government agencies accordingly.
  2. An essential prerequisite for successful digital recordkeeping is the design and implementation of recordkeeping systems that enable the creation and capture of records in support of business needs, efficiency, accountability and to meet community expectations.
  3. Everyone involved in recordkeeping processes, including records creators, managers and users1, should be made aware of their rights and responsibilities and given adequate support and training.
  4. In developing and implementing recordkeeping systems it is essential to identify at an early stage what records need to be made and how long those records need to be kept to meet business and accountability needs and community expectations.
  5. Systems for making, keeping and using digital records needed to capture and manage standardised metadata which documents the content, context and structure of records, and which enables records to be linked to their functional context.
  6. Records that are made in digital form should be retained in the form which most appropriately ensures their ongoing integrity, authenticity, preservation and access, with a preference for retention in digital form.
  7. Digital records need to be actively managed and maintained if they are to remain authentic, reliable and useable for as long as they are required.
  8. Preservation formats for digital records should not be dependent on or constrained by proprietary rights. Digital records that are required for long term use should be retained in stable archival file formats in order to avoid problems associated with proprietary software and hardware dependencies.
  9. Safe, secure and trustworthy digital repositories for the protection and preservation of valuable digital public records need to be established and maintained for each jurisdiction. These repositories may be shared by jurisdictions.
  10. As governed by relevant legislation in each jurisdiction, the public has a general right of access to public records. Access regimes for digital records should be instituted that make full use of digital technologies and public networks to promote and maximise access to records as soon as those records are legally able to be made accessible.