Digital recordkeeping enquiries at State Records NSW, September 2012 October 11, 2012

Here is a quick overview of the key digital recordkeeping issues that State Records staff have dealt with in September.

If you have any comments on the advice we have provided,  please do get in contact and tell us! We love to get your feedback.

State Records survey on EDRMS use in government

We conducted a survey in September to ask government organisations:

  • whether they are using electronic records and document management systems
  • what systems they are using
  • how many people in their organisation have access to an EDRMS
  • how many of those with access actually use the EDRMS,
  • how many business systems are integrated with the EDRMS and
  • about their anticipated future use of EDRMS software.

We received 62 responses. A full report summarising the responses is available in our blog post, State Records survey on electronic document and records management system use in NSW government – report.

As a quick summary, 58% of respondents are using TRIM. The next most popular system is Objective, used by 18% of respondents.

In terms of how many staff are using EDRMS, there is a table at the end of the survey report that breaks down EDRMS access and use rates by sector. The comparative figures are very interesting. There is little standardisation between them, with some agencies having EDRMS rolled out to 90-100% of staff and then reporting 90-100% of staff using the software, and others reporting broad access but very limited use rates.

47% of respondents reported that their EDRMS is integrated with one or more business systems. 55% of respondents state that they will continue to use their current EDRMS as their primary recordkeeping system in the foreseeable future. 28% report that they believe they will have multiple recordkeeping environments in the future, including EDRMS, business systems and collaborative workspaces.

This survey provided a really interesting snap shot of current government recordkeeping systems and strategies and has given us some really useful data. We are really grateful to all the staff who took the time to answer it for us.


We had an enquiry about metadata mapping and we provided feedback on an organisation’s mapping analysis which compared their business system metadata to the metadata requirements of the Standard on digital recordkeeping.  We also provided feedback on a metadata schema and associated implementation guidelines that has been developed by a government organisation.

Social media

We talked to an agency about listening posts or social media monitoring technology. A number of agencies are using these tools to track the effectiveness and impact of their social media engagement. We will suggest using the reporting documentation generated by these tools for both business and recordkeeping purposes in our forthcoming advice on social media and recordkeeping.

Another organisation asked where to look for disposal rules about social media records. We let them know that social media records are just like any other records and it really depends on the type of business they document. For example, if you are in local government and if social media is being used to advertise a particular service, product, program or event, the records could be disposed of in accordance with GA39 2.11.1, the class that covers general advertising matters. Alternatively, if your organisation is consulting with the community about its policy on building and development controls and approval processes via social media or the web, these records would be covered by the classes in the local government authority that deal with this, GA39 7.5.1.

Another agency asked for advice on developing strategies for managing social media records and was directed to:

We will also be posting further advice soon on the Future Proof blog about strategies for social media recordkeeping.


An agency asked about what it should do with the hard copies of archival value records that it has now digitised. We replied that, as they are of archival value we would be happy for them to transfer the paper originals to us while they retain the digital copies for their business purposes. This relatively simple question raises interesting issues for State Records to consider in the future, however. For example, do we need to request that these digital copies also be transferred to us in the future? These digital records would provide enhanced access opportunities for researchers. We also need to consider how to document and control the existence of paper and digital versions of the same records, and how to manage the relationship of these records through time.

Another organisation asked whether State Records supported the use of JPEG 2000 as a digitisation format. They were told that JPEG 2000 is indeed one of the formats recommended in the Technical Specifications section of State Records’ Managing digitisation programs and projects guidelines.

Another organisation asked that, if records have been scanned and are then subject to a legal matter, can the paper original records be destroyed and the digitised records used for the legal proceedings instead? They were told that they would need to consider the risks associated with doing this. They should also consider assessing the quality of the scanning and making a policy decision that the scanned copies of any records required for these proceedings are an authentic, complete and accurate copy and can be used in any legal proceedings or to answer any public access requests. They were also directed to the FAQs in our digitisation guidance which discuss the legal admissability of digitised records.

A similar query was received from another public office, asking for guidance about what paper records should be kept after digitisation. They were told that Section 1.4 of GA36 identifies the very small group of records that must be retained in paper form. Apart from that, any requirements for keeping records in paper would be dictated by specific business or risk requirements. [UPDATE – January 2015: GA36 has been replaced by GA45]

Management of legacy shared drives

Another organisation asked about the management of legacy shared drives, after the organisation had transitioned to an EDRMS. The organisation previously had a ‘print and file’ culture so technically records on the shared drive should already be captured on paper files. We recommended that they develop a strategy that considered issues such as:

  • Can you be reasonably confident that records have been captured into corporate recordkeeping systems (i.e. either printed and filed or captured to an EDRMS)?
  • If you are reasonably confident that records have been captured into corporate recordkeeping systems, is there a need to retain the drives for a period of time for reference purposes before they are deleted?
  • If you are not reasonably confident that records have been captured into corporate recordkeeping systems, what is the longest period of time for which records saved on the drives need to be kept? What strategies can you put in place to manage the data and keep it accessible for this period?

They were also directed our advice on managing shared or network drives.

SFIA Framework

We had to research the SFIA Framework this month, which stands for the Skills Framework for the Information Age. SFIA is an internationally endorsed and adopted skills matrix which identifies and classifies the wide variety of skills necessary to support business in the information age. It is widely used in ICT training and recruitment to define and measure skill sets.

We researched SFIA to determine how information management skills have been defined within the framework. It was gratifying to see that not only have information management skills been defined within SFIA, a number of them have actually been graded at the highest levels of competency.

The procedural and strategic components of information management are differentiated clearly and well in the SFIA documentation where information management occupies the Enable, Ensure, Initiate and Strategy layers. The SFIA documentation clearly shows that information management has a very strategic component to it which is integral to the success of a wide variety of underlying ICT initiatives.  The success of digital information management in the future really depends on the strategic nature of information management being acknowledged, understood and supported, so it was gratifying to see it clearly articulated in the SFIA documentation.


We had an enquiry about our podcast series and the range of topics covered in it. The podcast page remains perennially popular on Future Proof so do check it out if you have yet seen it. It will be updated again in November after our upcoming Records Managers Forum.


There was a big run on our e-Learning courses this month, with a number of organisations requesting permission to use the courses. Again, if you haven’t see our e-learning material before, please go and have a look!


As usual we had a range of meetings in September. 

Some key meetings to mention are that we hosted one of the regular gatherings of our Digital Records Advisory Group. At this meeting there was great discussion around:

  • monitoring implementation of the Standard on digital recordkeeping
  • the International Council on Archives Congress in Brisbane
  • State Records EDRMS survey results
  • possible inclusions for State Records upcoming social media advice
  • the digital State archives project

We also had meetings with some of the government organisations who are developing and implementing innovative social media strategies. These meetings are helping us to hopefully develop some useful advice on social media that meets the needs of the NSW public sector.

Blog posts

There were six posts on Future Proof this month:

The blog had 3312 unique views during September, with the most popular posts relating to social media, metadata and the digital recordkeeping enquiries. 

 The Future Proof blog also reached a milestone in September, welcoming its 100,000th visitor. Well done Future Proof! And that’s it for September.

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