ICA Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments

The stated aim of the International Council on Archives’ project Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments was to produce globally harmonised principles and functional requirements for software which is used to create and manage electronic records in office environments.

The aim was realized by the adoption in 2008 of a suite of publications comprising three module:

The International Council on Archives (ICA) agreed to sponsor this project in 2005 in recognition of the fact that, while many individual jurisdictions have developed statements of requirements for Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) software products, it is important for the international archives and records community to agree on a single generic set of requirements to foster cross-jurisdictional harmonisation and to help ensure that we communicate consistent messages to the global software market. In addition to harmonising existing jurisdiction-specific requirements for ERMS software, this project has also taken the important step of developing guidelines and requirements for managing records in business systems. This is in recognition of the fact that many important records are only ever managed in line of business systems, rather than dedicated ERMS systems, and that increasingly the developers and vendors of such business systems are recognising the importance of incorporating records management functionality into their software applications.


The three key audiences for these modules are:

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

In sponsoring this project the ICA was pleased to work with the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative (http://www.adri.gov.au) which is a collaborative venture sponsored by the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities. Representatives of 12 National Archives from around the world participated in the project team, while the drafts were widely distributed by comment prior to finalization and adoption by the ICA.

The modules are accessible on the website of the International Council on Archives as follows:



Managing electronic records


The National Archives and Records Service, in terms of its statutory mandate, requires governmental bodies to put the necessary infrastructure, policies, strategies, procedures and systems in place to ensure that records in all formats are managed in an integrated manner. The National Archives and Records Service endorses SANS (ISO) 15489 Records Management Standard, SANS (ISO) 23081 Metadata for Records and SANS (ISO) 15801 Trustworthiness and Reliability of Records Stored Electronically. These are benchmarking tools for sound records management. The primary benchmark for creating and managing electronic records in office environments which is endorsed by the National Archives and Records Service is contained in the suite of publications Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments adopted by the International Council on Archives in 2008.

 Module 2 of these publications, Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems relates to structured records systems such as those in which records are managed according to a file plan.

A product that complies with these standards would possess the records management functionality required by the National Archives and Records Service.

The National Archives and Records Service requires governmental bodies to implement and maintain Integrated Document and Records Management Systems that provide as a minimum the following records management functionality:

Not many governmental bodies have the capacity to implement fully automated Integrated Document and Records Management Systems. This does not however mean that they should not manage their electronic records. If these records are created to aid in decision-making and to perform transactions that support the governmental bodies' activities, governmental bodies are responsible for the proper management of those records. If records generated in such an environment are not managed properly it can lead to the possible illegal destruction of records. To enhance their accountability, bodies should ensure that, even without the benefit of an Integrated Document and Records Management System, they exercise effective records management.

Detailed information regarding the management of electronic records is contained in the National Archives and Records Service's two publications Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Policy, principles and requirements and Managing electronic records in governmental bodies: Metadata requirements. Both publications are available on the National Archives and Records Service's website or can, alternatively, be requested in hard copy from the Records Management Division of the National Archives and Records Service.

Useful training and good practice materials on electronic records management produced by the International Records Management Trust (IRMT) may be downloaded from the IRMTís website at http://www.irmt.org/researchReports.html


 

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