Guidance on the recordkeeping capabilities of SharePoint 2010 – exposure draft now available! July 19, 2012

As foreshadowed in previous posts, State Records has released an exposure draft of our guidance on the recordkeeping capabilities of SharePoint 2010. SharePoint 2010: recordkeeping considerations is available from the State Records website where you can also find information about how to provide comments. The deadline for comments is Friday 26 October 2012.

While developing this guidance we’ve taken the opportunity to meet with agencies that are implementing (or thinking about implementing) SharePoint to talk about some of the decisions they’re making regarding how records will be created, captured and managed in a SharePoint environment. We’ve met with a range of agencies, including from the local government and university sectors, and have been really impressed and inspired by some of the work these agencies are doing.

Some agencies have an established EDRMS that is widely used and accepted within the organisation as the repository for corporate records – these agencies are planning to integrate their SharePoint environment with their EDRMS as their strategy for capturing records created in SharePoint. In the lead up to such integrations these agencies are making decisions about:

  • when and how records will be captured from SharePoint to the EDRMS
  • what role users will play in capturing records (e.g. will they be required to identify records for capture, or will records automatically be captured at a specific point in a business process?)
  • how users will access corporate records (e.g. will SharePoint be the only environment in which users will work, and will they be able to access corporate records created in a variety of business systems and captured in the EDRMS through SharePoint?)
  • what metadata will be captured by SharePoint automatically and what metadata will require user input.

Other agencies are looking to replace an EDRMS that perhaps is not widely used or no longer meets the organisation’s requirements with SharePoint – these agencies are investigating how SharePoint can be configured and/or enhanced with an add-on product to capture and maintain full and accurate records.

There is some really innovative, thoughtful work being undertaken by agencies to ensure that their organisation’s SharePoint implementation will both support business processes AND facilitate good recordkeeping. Some of these agencies are taking the time to map their organisation’s business processes in considerable detail and then designing their SharePoint implementation to support these. Business process re-engineering is part of this process, as is identifying ways of capturing records at defined points in a business process with minimal user involvement.

As well as being inspired, one of the key messages we’ve taken away from these meetings is that there is no single, ‘best’ way of implementing SharePoint. SharePoint is such a huge product and can be used in so many different ways – the ways in which records of business conducted using SharePoint will be captured and maintained will differ from organisation to organisation.

Because of this, we have consciously avoided giving specific configuration or implementation advice in the guidance. The purpose of the guidance is to identify recordkeeping features and functionality that can be enabled or configured in SharePoint as well as the areas where additional configuration and/or add-on software are needed to meet particular recordkeeping requirements. We hope that the guidance will be of use to NSW public offices, either when they are planning and designing a new SharePoint implementation or when they are assessing how recordkeeping features and functionality can be incorporated into an existing SharePoint implementation.

Most of the agencies we’ve spoken to are still in the early stages of planning and designing their SharePoint implementations. However, we hope to add a number of case studies to the guidance as these projects reach a stage where they can be assessed and evaluated. These cases studies will be so useful for other agencies thinking about implementing SharePoint – they will describe some of the different approaches to recordkeeping in SharePoint taken, as well as specific configuration decisions made.

In the meantime, we can recommend some sources for more detailed information and advice about setting up SharePoint to facilitate good recordkeeping:

  • Andrew Warland is a Sydney-based consultant who has blogged extensively about the recordkeeping features and functionality of SharePoint on his blog, Records about the world, including how you might structure a SharePoint implementation and use Content Types and managed metadata to facilitate good recordkeeping. See
  • Another blog that is worth a look is This blog contains a number of useful posts describing exactly how to switch on and configure certain recordkeeping features and bits of functionality, complete with screenshots. See
  • Microsoft has published a range of articles and resources to assist in planning, designing and implementing a SharePoint implementation in the SharePoint 2010 section of the Microsoft TechNet Library. See

As always, we’d love to hear from you if your organisation is currently looking at implementing SharePoint 2010 or is examining how recordkeeping functionality can be incorporated into an existing SharePoint implementation. Email us at or leave a comment below. And don’t forget to take a look at the draft guidance and let us know what you think.

photo by: Mrs Logic
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