Principles and Functional Requirements in Electronic Office Environments

In 2005 the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative agreed to work with the International Council on Archives (ICA) to co-sponsor a project under the ICA's Electronic Records and Automation Priority Area to produce globally harmonised principles, functional requirements and generic guidelines for software which is used to create and manage electronic records in office environments.

This project, which was led by the National Archives of Australia and which featured participation from twelve other archival institutions from around the world, has realised its aim with the publication of three separate but inter-related modules:

  • Overview and Statement of Principles;
  • Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems; and
  • Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Records in Business Systems.

ADRI and the ICA agreed to sponsor this project in recognition of the fact that, while many individual jurisdictions have developed statements of requirements for electronic records management software (ERMS) products, it is important for the international archives and records community to agree on a single generic set of requirements to foster cross-jurisdictional harmonization and to help ensure that we communicate consistent messages to the global software market.

In addition to harmonising existing requirements for ERMS software, this project has also taken the important step of developing guidelines and requirements for managing records in business systems. This recognises that for reasons of business efficiency many important records are only ever managed in line of business systems, rather than in dedicated ERMS systems. Increasingly, the developers and vendors of such business systems are recognising the importance of incorporating records functionality into their software applications.

The three key audiences for these modules are:

  • Software developers and vendors
  • Jurisdictional standards setters
  • Organisations wishing to build or buy software products that will be used to capture and manage records in office environments.