Whilst this glossary is not an exhaustive listing of all terms used in records and information management, terms selected are those predominantly used in our publications, and commonly used in Tasmanian Government organisations.

Where appropriate, definitions are followed by a brief citation.

You are encouraged to contact us to suggest new terms for inclusion in our glossary.




The right, opportunity, means of finding, using, or retrieving information.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.1

The granting of permission to:

  • use the reference facilities of an archive
  • examine and study individual archives and or collections held by archives
  • extract information from archives and records for research or publication.

Access to archives may be restricted or withheld to prevent physical damage to original records or to protect confidential information.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 46

Public access is authorised by agencies when determining access restrictions.

Access restrictions

A direction made by an agency to place restrictions on the degree of access to transferred records for specific lengths of time and/or for specified categories of users. Access restrictions are notified to OSA before or at the time of signing of the formal transfer documentation (Transfer and Access Agreement). Access cannot be made more restricted after this.


A group of records or archives from the same source taken into archival custody at the same time.

May also refer to the process of formally accepting and recording the receipt of records into archival custody. Accessioning provides basic physical and intellectual control over material coming into archives.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p.460


The principle whereby individuals, organisations and the community are responsible for their actions and may be required to explain them to others.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.2

Acid Free

Paper and other materials with a pH of 7 (neutral) or higher (alkaline), prescribed for use in the packaging of records to ensure their long-term preservation.
See Permanent paper

Active records

Those records (not closed) required for the day-to-day functioning of an agency or person. Active records may also be referred to as current records.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 461

Records in frequent use, regardless of their date of creation, required for current business relating to the administration or function of the organisation.


Activities are located at the second level of a business classification scheme. Activities are the major tasks performed by an organisation to accomplish each of its functions. In a functional analysis, an activity is identified by name and scope note. The scope of an activity encompasses all the transactions that take place in relation to it. Depending on the nature of the transactions involved, an activity may be performed in relation to one function, or it may be performed in relation to many functions.
See ‘Function’
See ‘Transaction’

Activity descriptor

The level of descriptor that follows a keyword. The activity descriptor reflects the activity performed within the function that is represented by the keyword. Used in records management thesauri.
See ‘Keyword classification’

Administrative change

The process whereby agencies and departments are created, modified or abolished, and responsibility for legislation and functions (and records) is transferred from one jurisdiction, portfolio, department or agency to another.
See ‘Machinery of Government’


Refers to:
(a) a department of the State Service established under the State Service Act 2000; or

(b) a department or service of the State that does not form part of the State Service – and includes any department which would be a department referred to in paragraph (a) or would be a department or service referred to in paragraph (b), but for the fact that it has ceased to exist or has been merged with or superseded by some other body.

Local authority means any:
(a) council; or

(b) body corporate established by or under an Act, or in the exercise of prerogative rights of the Crown and having jurisdiction limited to a district, locality, or part of the State.

May also be used to refer to Government Business Enterprises (GBE’s) and government-owned companies.

Analogue records

Records not captured and stored in digital or binary format. Examples may include books, papers, photographs, and films made with light-sensitive media, video recordings, phonograph records and older magnetic sound recordings.


The process of evaluating business activities to determine which records need to be captured and how long the records need to be kept, to meet business needs, the requirements of organisational accountability and community expectations.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.3


The whole body of records of continuing value of an organisation or individual. May also be referred to as corporate memory.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.4

The body of records of continuing value of an agency or individual.

An accumulation of series or other record items with a common provenance, or of a distinct organisation, body, or purpose.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 462

The above definition differs from the Information Technology (IT) sphere where it refers to a copy of one or more files, or a copy of a database, that is saved for future reference and/or recovery purposes in case the original data is damaged or lost.


Records appraised as having continuing value.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.5

Traditionally the term has been used to describe records no longer required for current use which have been selected for permanent preservation, also referred to as permanent records.
The place (building/room/storage area) where archival material is kept.

An organisation (or part of an organisation) that is responsible for appraising, acquiring, preserving, and making available, archival material.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 463


The intellectual and physical process of putting archives and records into order in accordance with accepted archival principles, particularly those of provenance and original order. If, after detailed examination, the original order is identified as a totally haphazard accumulation making the records irretrievable (but not an odd, unorderly, or difficult arrangement), the archivist may (after documenting the original order) impose an arrangement that presents the records objectively and facilitates their use.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 464

See ‘Description’
See ‘Original order’
See ‘Provenance’

AS ISO 15489-1: 2017

AS ISO 15489-1: 2017 replaced AS ISO 15489, which in turn replaced AS 4390 as the code for records management practice in Australia. The standard provides a descriptive benchmark that organisations can use to assess their recordkeeping systems and practices. The Standard applies to records in any format or media.

Audit trail

Data that allows the reconstruction of a previous activity, or which enables attributes of a change (such as date, time, or operator) to be stored so that a sequence of events can be determined in the correct chronological order.

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Back up

(Verb.) To create a duplicate copy – of a program or a data file or a complete disk [or server] – normally on a different disk or on a different medium such as cassette tape.
(Noun.) The duplicate copy itself.
Backups are made as a protection against loss or damage to the original.
Source: Gunton, The Penguin Dictionary of Information Technology, p.17.

Born digital

Information created in electronic format. Term used to differentiate materials from those that have been created as a result of converting analogue or paper originals into electronic form through the process of digitisation.

Business activity

An umbrella term used to incorporate all the functions, processes, activities and transactions of an organisation and its employees. Business activity is used as a broad term, not restricted to commercial activity, and including public administration, non-profit and other activities.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.6

Business classification scheme

A conceptual model of what an organisation does and how it does it. It involves the identification and documentation of each business function, activity and transaction and the documentation of the flow of business processes, and the transactions which comprise them.

Business continuity planning

A process of identifying, preventing, or preparing for events that may interrupt business activities to protect critical business processes from the effects of major failures or disasters. These events may include natural disasters, accidents, equipment failures and deliberate actions.
Source: Based on AS/NZS 17799 Clause 11.1

See also ‘Counter-disaster plan’

Business process mapping

The process of creating a table or map of the agency’s business processes to enable a better understanding of an agency’s business context. This may aid in the development of business classification schemes and retention and disposal schedules, or automation into workflows.

Business system

Automated systems that create or manage data about an organisation’s activities. Includes applications whose primary purpose is to facilitate transactions between an organisational unit and its customers – for example, an e-commerce system, client-relationship management system, or finance or human resources systems. Business systems are typified by containing dynamic data that is commonly subject to constant updates (timely), able to be transformed (manipulable) and holds current data (non-redundant).

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A deliberate action which results in the lodging of a document or digital object into a recordkeeping system, and assigning metadata to describe it and place it in context, thus allowing the appropriate management of the record over time. For certain business activities, this action may be designed into electronic systems so that the capture of records is concurrent with the creation of records.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.7


A non-hierarchical qualifier (such as ‘commercial in confidence’) attached to a security category to limit access to particular records. Caveats are implemented as active metadata by applying access controls or defining special record types.


Systematic identification and arrangement of business activities and/or records into categories according to logically structured conventions, methods and procedural rules represented in a classification system.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.5

Classification system

A set of terms and business rules that can be applied to records to facilitate capture, retrieval, maintenance, and disposal.

Closed part

That part of a file that has been separated from the active file because the file has become too large for easy handling. When a closed part is created in a paper environment, a ‘closed part’ sheet is attached to the file as the last folio, so that no further documents are added to the file.


Conservation is used to describe those activities carried out by professional cultural materials conservation staff and which involve direct intervention with the records.

Conservation is defined by the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) as preventing damage and loss to cultural heritage. It aims to minimise change to archival holdings and protect records from the adverse effects of climate, chemical deterioration, and handling.

See also ‘Preservation’


A group of records that belong to the same series, need to be kept for the same length of time, have the same storage requirements, and are transferred at the same time.

Content Management System (CMS)

The function and use of a content management system is to store and organise files and provide version-controlled access to data. Enterprise systems offer more complex and powerful functions including web-based publishing, format management, indexing, search, and retrieval.

See ‘Enterprise Content Management’


See ‘Records continuum’


Control systems and processes associated with records management include:

  • registration – which provides evidence of the existence of records in a recordkeeping system
  • classification – which allows for appropriate grouping, naming, security protection, user permissions and retrieval
  • indexing – which allocates attributes or codes to particular records to assist in their retrieval
  • tracking – which provides evidence of where a record is located, what action is outstanding on a record, who has seen a record, when such access took place and the recordkeeping transactions that have been undertaken on the record.
    Source: AS 4390 Part 4 Clause 1

OSA can have control of a State record either by taking the record into custody or by entering into an agreement whereby some other person (which can include the agency that is responsible for the record) has custody of the record.

See ‘Place of Deposit’
See ‘Custody’

Controlled vocabulary

An alphabetical list containing terms which are authorised (or otherwise controlled) to ensure that only one term is allowed to represent a concept or name. The alternative to a controlled vocabulary is free text.

See ‘Thesaurus’


The process of changing records from one medium to another, or from one format to another. The process of transferring records from one medium to the next is sometimes also referred to as ‘refreshing’.

See ‘Migration’

Core function

A function that is specific or unique to an organisation, as opposed to administrative functions common to most agencies.

Corporate governance

The processes by which organisations are directed, controlled and held to account. It encompasses authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction, and control exercised in the organisation.
Source: AS 8000 Clause 1.5.1.

Counter-disaster plan

A plan for measures to be taken for disaster prevention; disaster response and recovery; and vital records protection.

See ‘Business continuity planning’

Crown Record

Crown record means a record:

(a) made for the use, or any purpose, of the Crown; or

(b) in the case of a record not so made, kept by an officer or employee of the Crown for any public purpose in accordance with a duty or responsibility imposed, or a power or authority conferred, by or under an Act.
Source: Archives Act 1983


Carrying out the instructions (disposal actions) contained in a retention and disposal authority.

See ‘Sentencing’

Current records

See ‘Active Records’


The physical location of the records or archives. Custody does not always include legal ownership or the right to control access to records.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 466

See ‘Control’
See ‘Place of Deposit’

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An organised collection of related data. Databases are usually structured and indexed to improve user access and retrieval of information.


The process of removing material from the care and custody of an archive, either because the material has been reappraised and found to be unsuitable for the archives’ holdings, because the legal owner has requested its return, or because it has been agreed to transfer it to another archive.
Deaccessioning is a serious matter which requires careful consideration and documentation.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 466


The process of recording information about the nature and content of records in archival custody. The description identifies such features as provenance, arrangement, format, and contents and presents them in standardised form.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 467

See ‘Arrangement’
See ‘Provenance’


A non-hierarchical qualifier (e.g. ‘Personnel’) attached to a security category to limit access to particular records. Descriptors may be informative or advisory but cannot actively control access.

See ‘Activity Descriptor’
See ‘Subject Descriptor’

Design specification

A document that details the requirements for functionality, performance, and design to be incorporated within a system to be built. The design specification details what is to be built, how it is to be built, and how the system will function.


The process of eliminating or deleting records beyond any possible reconstruction.

Destruction Authority

A one-off authorisation from the State Archivist for the destruction of non-scheduled records.

Digital archive

An archive which performs the same role in the digital world as traditional archives do in the paper world. It is broader than just a digital repository storing digital items. A digital archive is underpinned by a strong continuum focus. It ensures that digital records are professionally created, managed, and preserved, whilst also ensuring access over time. A digital archive encompasses the technical infrastructure, standards, policies and procedures, and support services for managing and providing access to digital objects and their associated metadata.

Digital record

A record created and/or maintained by means of digital computer technology. Includes records that are born digital or those that have undergone conversion from a non-digital format.

See ‘Born digital’

Digital signature

A security mechanism included within a digital record that enables the identification of the creator of the digital object and can also be used to detect and track any changes that have been made to the digital object.


The process of creating digital files, either by scanning or otherwise converting analogue materials.

Digitised record

Records transformed into a digital form from an analogue form, e.g. a scan of a paper record.


An 8-step methodology that provides a comprehensive approach to system design to develop systems with adequate recordkeeping functionality that are specific to, and that meet business needs. Developed by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), the DIRKS (Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems) methodology is outlined in Australian Standard, AS ISO 154892002, Records Management. It was originally detailed in the precursor Australian Standard, AS 4390-1996, Records Management.

Disaster plan

See ‘Counter-disaster Plan’

Disaster preparedness

A range of activities aimed to reduce the risk of damage that might occur to records as a result of any disaster situation. Disasters can range in scale from minor flooding arising from leaking water pipes, to major fire damage arising from a natural disaster. It encompasses planning, training, maintenance of relevant documentation, procurement of services, equipment and supplies, and salvage activity.


A range of processes associated with implementing appraisal decisions. These include the retention, deletion, or destruction of records in or from recordkeeping systems. They may also include the migration or transmission of records between recordkeeping systems, and the transfer of custody or ownership of records.
Source: AS 4390 Part1 Clause 4.9

Disposal authority

See “Destruction Authority
See “Retention and Disposal Schedules”

Disposal classes

Classes of records performing or recording similar activities and therefore having the same retention period and disposal action.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.11

Disposal trigger

The event from which the disposal date is calculated, for example ‘last action’ or ‘expiry of contract’.


Recorded information or object which can be treated as a unit.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.10

Document means any record of information, and includes:

  • anything on which there is writing, or
  • anything on which there are marks, figures, symbols or perforations having a meaning for the person qualified to interpret them, or
  • anything from which sounds, images or writings can be reproduced with or without the aid of anything else, or
  • a map, plan, drawing or photograph.

Some documents are records because they have participated in a business transaction, or were created to document such a transaction. Conversely, some documents are not records because they do not function as evidence of a business transaction.

See ‘Electronic documents’

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Electronic documents

A collection of electronic data which may be produced by the creation of original data (typically a text document, small database, spreadsheet or graphic created within the office environment) or by the combination of existing data (which may include data extracted from data files and databases). It should be managed as a unique entity by means of a standard set of descriptors.
Source: Information Exchange Steering Committee, Management of Electronic Documents in the Australian Public Sector, p. 12

Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)

An automated system that supports the creation, use and maintenance of electronically created documents for the purpose of improving an organisations workflow. These systems do not necessarily incorporate recordkeeping functionality and the documents may be of informational rather than evidential value (i.e. the documents may not be records).

See ‘Electronic Document and Records Management System’
See ‘Electronic Records Management System’

Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS)

A type of content management system that refers to the combined technologies of document management and records management systems as an integrated system.

See ‘Electronic Document Management System’
See ‘Electronic Records Management System’

Electronic messages

A general term covering all forms of electronically-mediated communication. This includes electronic mail for text messages and an equivalent service that uses recordings of spoken messages, known as voice messaging. It may also include computer conferencing and videotext. Also used as synonymous with electronic mail (email).
Source: Gunton, The Penguin Dictionary of Information Technology, p. 100

Electronic records

Records communicated and maintained by means of electronic equipment.
Source: AS 4390 Part1 Clause 4.13

Records capable of being processed in a computer system and/or stored at any instant in a medium which requires electronic or computer equipment to retrieve them.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 469

Electronic Records Management System (ERMS)

An automated system used to manage the creation, use, maintenance, and disposal of electronically created records for the purposes of providing evidence of business activities. These systems maintain appropriate contextual information (metadata) and links among records to support their value as evidence.

See ‘Electronic Document Management System’
See ‘Electronic Document and Records Management System’


See ‘Electronic messages

Enterprise Content Management

A formalised means of organising and storing an organisation’s documents and other content that relate to the organisation’s processes. The term encompasses strategies, methods, and tools used throughout the lifecycle of the content.

See ‘Content Management System (CMS)’


A record or document that has been alienated from the possession of its legitimate custodian.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 470

A State record is an estray if it is owned by the State or an agency of the State, but is not under the control/custody of the agency responsible for the record (except as a result of being under the control of the Authority or of some other person with lawful Authority).


Information that tends to prove a fact. Not limited to the legal sense of the term.
Source: AS 4390-1996, Part1. Clause 4.14

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(Noun.) An organised unit of documents accumulated during current use and kept together because they deal with the same subject, activity, or transaction.

(Verb.) The action of placing documents in a predetermined location according to an overall scheme of control.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p.470

A file is a collection of documents, which show organisational activities through an identifiable sequence of transactions. Individual documents in the file have relationships with each other, for example, a letter and a reply, and a reply to that etc., which are preserved by being kept on file in the right order and are part of the evidence in the records. A file can be physical or electronic.

File part

A continuation of the same activity or transactions, placed on a new file because the previous file (closed part) contained too many documents to be easily handled.

A file part generally has the same title followed by a part number (e.g. part 2), but a different file number to the closed part.

See ‘Closed part’

File plan

The business classification scheme, including all the transactional ‘folders’ at the lowest level.
See ‘Business Classification Scheme’


A single leaf of paper or page of a register, usually numbered only on one side.

The number assigned to the leaf or page.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 471

Folio numbering

The practice of placing a number on each item in a paper file so that items within the file are easily identifiable from each other. Documents are placed in the file in strict chronological order and as new documents are added, each is marked with the next consecutive number.


The physical form (such as paper or microfilm) or computer file format in which a record is maintained.


The first level of a business classification scheme. Functions represent the major responsibilities that are managed by an organisation to fulfil its goals. Functions are high-level aggregates of the organisation’s activities.

Functions are generally not based on organisational structures because they are more stable than administrative units, which are often amalgamated or devolved when restructuring takes place.

See ‘Activity

Functional analysis

Functional analysis is the analysis of business activity. This analysis involves:

  • collecting information from documentary sources and interviews
  • identifying and documenting each business function, activity and transaction
  • establishing a hierarchy of business functions, activities and transactions
  • identifying and documenting the flow of business processes and the transactions which comprise them.

Source: AS 4390 Part3 Clause 6.2.2 (b)

Functional records

Records created by an organisation to help carry out its unique business role. The functions associated with these records are specific to the organisation, as opposed to housekeeping records that document functions common to all organisations. Also referred to as operational records, or core records.
Source: National Archives of Australia, DIRKS Glossary p. 8

Functional thesaurus

A thesaurus that reflects the unique functions of an organisation, and their relationships.

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Hybrid recordkeeping system

A recordkeeping system containing/managing records in a combination of paper, electronic or other formats.

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Inactive records

See “Secondary Records


The process of establishing access points to facilitate retrieval of records and/or information.
Source: AS 14389 Part1 Clause 3.11


A collection of data in any form that is maintained by an agency or person and which may be transmitted, manipulated, and stored. Records are the subset of information that constitutes evidence of activities.

Information architecture

The structural design of shared information environments.

The science of organising and labelling websites, intranet’s, online communities, and software to support findability and useability.

A community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

The term ‘information architecture’ exists across multiple fields, which may affect the definition. In the field of systems design for example, information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise.

Information governance

The set of multidisciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organisation’s immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.

Information governance encompasses more than traditional records management. It incorporates privacy, electronic discovery, storage optimisation and metadata management.
Source: Wikipedia 16 April 2014

Information management

Information management (IM) describes the measures required for the effective collection, storage, access, use and disposal of information to support agency business processes. The core of these measures is the management of the definition, ownership, sensitivity, quality, and accessibility of information. These measures are addressed at appropriate stages in the strategic planning lifecycle and applied at appropriate stages in the operational lifecycle of the information itself.
Source: Office of Information Technology, Information Management Framework Guidelines, pp. 4-5

See ‘Knowledge Management’

Information management framework

A strategic framework that outlines an organisation’s vision for its information management, including documenting the attributes of good information management (having accurate information that is accessible and accountable). Other aspects include information principles, directives and objectives, and high-level implementation strategies.

Information systems

Organised collections of hardware, software, supplies, policies, procedures, and people, which store, process and provide access to information.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.17


A tight-knit relationship between an EDRMS and another application or mechanism. Integration implies data being shared between systems and a common look and feel suggesting a single application.

See ‘Interface

Intellectual control

The control established over the informational content of records and archives resulting from ascertaining and documenting their provenance, and from the processes of arrangement and description.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 472


A mechanism whereby data can be exchanged between applications. A point of interaction between hardware and/or software.

See ‘Integration


The smallest discrete unit of record material which accumulates to form a series (i.e. a file or part file in a series of files; a volume in a series of volumes, etc.).
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 473

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Joint venture

A joint venture is a legal entity that has been created for the purpose of undertaking a business activity. Two or more parties may establish a business relationship to undertake a joint venture.

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Pre-determined, prescribed, and controlled descriptors which represent broad functions undertaken by an agency. They are the first element in the classification hierarchy (and consequently in a title).

Can also be a common data element name in a retrieval interface where the user enters text as a single word or phrase.

See ‘Keyword classification’
See ‘Function’

Keyword classification

Keyword classification involves grouping records into broad, functionally based areas represented by keywords. Records are further classified by the use of activity descriptors and optional subject descriptors.

See ‘Activity descriptor’
See ‘Subject descriptor’

Knowledge management

A multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making best use of knowledge. It involves the design, review, and implementation of both social and technological processes to improve the application of knowledge in the collective interest of stakeholders.
Source: AS 5037 Clause 1.2.4

See ‘Information Management’

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Legacy record

Closed records, also referred to as non-current records, created:

(a) Under a previous/defunct recordkeeping system

(b) Under a defunct function or activity

(c) By a predecessor agency

Legislative mapping

The process of analysing legislation that the agency administers or operates under for explicit or implicit recordkeeping requirements, to assist in the development of retention and disposal schedules.

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Machinery of Government

The allocation or reallocation of functions between government agencies.

See ‘Administrative change’


The range of processes and tasks for protecting records from unauthorised access, loss or destruction, theft or disaster and retaining their integrity over time.

Merged thesaurus

A merged thesaurus is a single thesaurus that covers both general and functional terms.


In records management, recordkeeping metadata is data that describes the context, content and structure of records and their management through time.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.12

Metadata is attached to records when they are created, and added to as a result of different processes, such as sentencing and disposal.


The process of moving records from one system to another, while maintaining the records’ authenticity, integrity, reliability, and useability.

See ‘Conversion

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Non-current records

See “Secondary Records

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Off-site storage

A general term describing location arrangement for records. The storage might be owned or leased by the agency, or held by a storage provider. The agency contracts the storage provider to care for the records on their behalf.

Open access

Agencies are required to set access restrictions for all records. Open access permits access by the public.


Online Retention and Disposal Application. ORDA is a web-based system for drafting Disposal Schedules. Through ORDA, you can draft (or import) your disposal schedule, export your disposal schedule in different formats, and search across other authorised Disposal Schedules.

Original order

The order in which records and archives were kept when in active use, i.e. the order of accumulation as they were created, maintained, and used. The principle of original order requires that the original order be preserved or reconstructed unless, after detailed examination, the original order is identified as a totally haphazard accumulation making the records irretrievable (but not an odd, unorderly, or difficult arrangement).
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 475

See ‘Arrangement’


Engagement of external service providers by government agencies, under a contract or agreement, to perform functions and activities of government.

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See “File Part

Performance indicator

Defines the measurement of a piece of important and useful information about the performance of a program. Indicators are usually expressed as a percentage, index, or rate; are monitored at regular intervals and are compared to one criterion or a number of criteria.
Source: Office of Public Management, Planning and monitoring your program: First steps in program evaluation, p. 76

Permanent paper (Archival quality paper)

Paper which during long term storage in libraries, archives and other protected environments will undergo little or no change in properties that affect use.
Source: AS 4003, p. 1

Acid-free paper, with a protective alkaline buffer and pH of 8 to 10, containing low levels of undesirable substances such as lignin and acidic sizing. Also referred to as non-acidic paper.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p.475

See Acid-free

Physical control

The control established over the physical aspects (such as format, quantity, and location) of the archives and records in custody.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 476

See ‘Custody

Place of Deposit (POD)

A strategy whereby an agency, or other person, can enter into an agreement with OSA to have possession or custody of State archives. OSA retains control of the archives, while they are held in the custody of the public office or person, ensuring their proper management and care through the terms of the agreement.

See ‘Custody’
See ‘Control’


Process and operations involved in ensuring the technical and intellectual survival of authentic records over time.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.14

See ‘Conservation’


The agency, office, or person of origin of records, i.e. the entity which created, received, or accumulated and used the records in the conduct of business or personal life.

The chain of custody which reflects the agency(ies) or person(s) that created, received, or accumulated and used the records in the conduct of business or in the course of personal life. Identifying and documenting the provenance of records is an essential part of establishing their authenticity and integrity as evidence.

In archival theory, the principle of provenance requires that archives of an agency or person not be mixed or combined with the archives of another, i.e. the archives are retained and documented in their functional and/or organisational context.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 476

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Information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organisation or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.15


Making and maintaining complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in the form of recorded information.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.19

Recordkeeping includes the following:

  • The creation of records in the course of business activity and the means to ensure the creation of adequate records.
  • The design, establishment, and operation of recordkeeping systems.
  • The management of records used in business (traditionally regarded as the domain of records management) and as archives (traditionally regarded as the domain of archives administration).
    Source: AS 4390 Part 3 Foreword

Recordkeeping framework

The policy, strategy, and stakeholder engagement model which addresses the needs of records management across an agency. The framework is derived from legislation, regulation, industry standards and government strategies, policies and directives.

Recordkeeping requirements

Requirements arising from regulatory sources, business needs and community expectations that identify the types of records that should be created, and the management framework needed in order to have, and accountably manage, all the business information that is necessary for an organisation.

Recordkeeping systems

A framework to capture, maintain and provide access to evidence of transactions over time, as required by the jurisdiction in which it is implemented, and in accordance with common business practices. Recordkeeping systems include:

  • Ways to record both practitioners and users.
  • A set of authorised policies, assigned responsibilities, delegations of authority, procedures, and practices.
  • Policy statements, procedure manuals, user guidelines, and other documents that are used to authorise and share the policies, procedures, and practices.
  • The records themselves.
  • Specialised information and records systems used to control the records.
  • Software, hardware, other equipment and stationery.

Records continuum

The whole extent of a record’s existence. Refers to a consistent and coherent regime of management processes from the time of the creation of records (and before creation, in the design of recordkeeping systems), through to the preservation and use of records as archives.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.22

Records management

Field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, access, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.16

Records management program

A records management program encompasses the management framework, the people and the systems required within an organisation to manage full and accurate records over time. This includes the identification and protection of records with enduring value that may be required as State archives.


The act of giving a record a unique identifier on entry into a system.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 3.18

The primary purpose of registration is to provide evidence that a record has been created or captured in a records system, and an additional benefit is that it facilitates retrieval. It involves recording brief descriptive information or metadata about the record and assigning the record an identifier, unique within the system.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 1 Clause 9.4


The process of displaying a digital image. The final and actual displayed image is said to have been rendered.


The building or room, or part thereof, set aside for storing records. Archival repositories are often constructed to meet specific environmental standards designed to ensure the longevity of the records.

Retention and Disposal Schedules

Documents authorised by the State Archivist that set out appropriate retention periods for classes of records. There are two main types:

  • Functional retention and disposal authorities authorise the retention and disposal of records unique to a specific organisation.
  • Common retention and disposal authorities authorise the retention and disposal of records common to more than one organisation.

Such records may include:

  • general administrative records
  • common records that relate to unique functions, and
  • records relating to the unique functions of like organisations such as local councils, universities, and public health services.

Retention period

The period of time, usually based on an estimate of the frequency of current and future use, and taking into account statutory and regulatory provisions, that records need to be retained before their final disposal. Sometimes also used to indicate the length of time records are to be retained in offices before being transferred to secondary storage.

Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 479

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Scope note

The definition of a particular term, or combination of terms, in a business classification scheme or classification tool (such as a functional thesaurus). It guides users on how such terms should be applied and facilitates consistency in usage by discouraging personal interpretations of the same term by different people across the organisation.

Secondary records

Those records that are required so infrequently in the conduct of current business that they can be transferred from offices to separate secondary storage areas. May also be referred to as non-current records or semi-current records.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 472

Those records no longer required for the conduct of business and which may therefore be transferred to secondary storage, archival custody or destroyed.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 472

Also may be referred to as ‘Inactive records’, ‘semi-active records’, etc.

Secondary storage

A warehouse-style repository or storage area where inactive or semi-active records are housed and referenced pending their ultimate destruction or transfer to archives.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 472

Semi-active records

See “Secondary Records


The process of identifying and classifying records according to a retention and disposal authority and applying the disposal action specified in it.

See ‘Culling’


Those records or archives having the same provenance which belong together because:

  • they are part of a discernible filing system (alphabetical, numerical, chronological, or a combination of these)
  • they have been kept together because they result from the same activity or
  • they are of similar formats and relate to a particular function.

A series may also consist of one item.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 479

Source record

A document or record that has been copied, converted or migrated or will be the input for such a process. A source record may be an original record, or it may be a reproduction that was generated by an earlier copying, conversion, or migration process.


Those people or entities who may affect, or by affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by, a decision or activity. Stakeholders may be internal and/or external. Key stakeholders are those identified after analysis as being central to the decision or activity concerned.

State archive

State archive means any State record or any other record which is deposited and preserved permanently in the Tasmanian Archives.

State record

State record means:

(a) a Crown record; or

(b) a record of a State authority which relates to the business or affairs of that authority; or

(c) a record of a local authority which relates to the business or affairs of that authority; or

(d) any other record that was at any time a record mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) – but does not include a record of the Parliament of Tasmania.
Source: Archives Act 1983


A set of processes to ensure that records are protected, accessible, and managed in a cost-effective manner for as long as they are needed. This includes facilitating retrieval and use.

Structured data

A record created from data that has been collated and managed in a structured environment, often in a database-type business information system. The captured data is highly structured, predictive, and repetitive.

Subject descriptor

The level of descriptor that follows an activity descriptor. Subject descriptors define the subject content of the activities represented by the activity descriptor.

See ‘Activity descriptor’
See ‘Keyword classification’


Commonly used to describe computer software applications, however software is also supported by an infrastructure of users, administrators, policies, procedures, rules, and associated tools.

System administrator

A user role with designated responsibility for configuring, monitoring, and managing a system and its use.

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The classification of entities in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships.

Temporary records

Records with no enduring value that can be sentenced for destruction.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 480


A thesaurus is a controlled list of terms linked together by semantic, hierarchical, associative or equivalence relationships. Such tools act as a guide to allocating classification terms to individual records.

In a thesaurus, the meaning of the term is specified and hierarchical relationships to other terms shown. A thesaurus provides sufficient entry points to allow users to navigate from terms which are not to be used, to the preferred terminology adopted by the organisation.
Source: AS ISO 15489 Part 2 Clause

See ‘Controlled vocabulary’


Capturing and maintaining information about the movement and uses of records.
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.26

Tracking information can form part of recordkeeping metadata.


The smallest unit of business activity. Uses of records are themselves transactions.

See ‘Activity’
Source: AS 4390 Part 1 Clause 4.27


The process of changing the physical custody of archives, generally without changing the legal title of the material.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 480

Transfer of custody

Involves transferring the duty of care for the ongoing physical management of records from one custodian to another.


See “Disposal Trigger

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User profile

A summary of all attributes allocated to a user of an electronic records management system. It includes all data known to the system such as username, ID and password, security and access rights, and functional access rights.

User role

An aggregation or standard set of electronic records management functional permissions that may be granted to a predefined subset of system users.

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A person or company selling or supplying goods and services.

Version Control

A process which allows a record’s data to be edited and revised whilst retaining the history of the changes. Version control functionality allows for older versions of the record to be recalled if necessary.

Viewer / player technology

Software designed specifically to give users the ability to view or play, and possibly copy or print, information in electronic files independent of the authoring or other application software with which it was created.

Can form part of a preservation strategy for electronic records.

Vital records

Those records that are essential for the ongoing business of an agency, and without which the agency could not continue to function effectively. The identification and protection of such records is a primary object of records management and disaster planning.
Source: Ellis (ed), Keeping Archives, p. 480

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The automation of a business process, in whole or in part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules. A participant may be a system user, business work group, or software application.

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Acland, Glenda. ‘Glossary’ in Judith Ellis (ed.) Keeping Archives. 2nd Edition, Australian Society of Archivists Inc., Thorpe Publishing, Port Melbourne, 1993.
Archives Act 1983 Tasmania
Australian Standard AS 4390-1996, Records Management. Standards Australia, Homebush NSW.
Australian Standard AS 4003-1996, Permanent Paper. Standards Australia, Homebush NSW.
Australian Standard AS ISO 15489-2003 Records Management Part 1: General. Standards Australia, Sydney.
Australian Standard AS ISO 15489-2003 Records Management Part 2: Guidelines. Standards Australia: Sydney.
Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO/IEC 17799-2001 Information technology: Code of practice for information security management, Standards Australia: Strathfield NSW.
Australian Standard AS 8000-2003 Good Governance Principles. Standards Australia, Sydney.
Evidence Act 2001 (Tasmania)
Gunton, Tony. The Penguin Dictionary of Information Technology. Third edition. Penguin Books, London, 1994.
Information Exchange Steering Committee. Management of Electronic Documents in the Australian Public Sector. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia, 1993.
Kennedy, Jay and Schauder, Cheryl. Records Management: A Guide for Students and Practitioners of Records Management. Longman, Melbourne, 1994.
National Archives of Australia DIRKS Glossary September 2001
National Archives of Australia
Office of Information Technology. Information Management Guidelines, 1997. Available online: Information Management Guidelines