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Recordkeeping Advice No. 3

Day Batching of Source Records

Issued: 13 July 2005 Revised: 2 April 2008

Recordkeeping Advices issued by the State Archivist provide advice on the management of records of State and local government organisations and support or explain recordkeeping requirements set out in formal State records guidelines.

State Records Guideline No. 8, Management of source records that have been copied, converted or migrated informs State and local government organisations of their legal obligations regarding the destruction of source records that have been copied, converted into another medium or format, or migrated from one system to another.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist


Introduction

Day batching is the practice of filing the paper originals of imaged records (source records) on the basis of date received or imaged. 

In managing this process, it is important to consider whether all the source records being stored are in fact required to be retained in hard copy, and if so, for how long. By taking steps to determine the value of records as they are being scanned and then managing them accordingly, agencies can make real savings on storage costs and can remove uncertainty with regard to the status of source records and reproductions.

Definitions

agency - is used in this guide to refer to all agencies, authorities, statutory offices, councils and other organisations that are subject to, and defined in, the Archives Act 1983.

disposal (records) - involves either the destruction of records; their transfer to the Archives Office for retention as part of the State archives; their transfer to another custodian; or some other process approved by the State Archivist which removes them from the custody of their creator or current keeper.

permanent value records - are those that should be transferred to the Archives Office 25 years after the date of creation. 

record - a document or an object that is, or has been, made or kept by reason of any information or matter that it contains or can be obtained from it or by reason of its connection with any event person, circumstance, or thing. A document includes any printed or written material and an object includes a sound recording, coded storage device, magnetic tape or disc, microfilm, photograph, film, map, plan, or model or painting or other pictorial or graphic work.

recordkeeping system - a system which captures manages and provides access to records through time. Recordkeeping systems can be either in an electronic or paper form.

reproduction - the output of a copying, conversion, or migration process, i.e. the copy, converted, migrated or reformatted version of the source record.

source records - documents or records that have 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.

temporary value records - are those that can be destroyed under the authority of an authorised disposal schedule after a minimum retention period, or once certain requirements have been met.

unscheduled records - are those that are not described in an authorised disposal schedule.

Which records can be destroyed once they are scanned?

PERMANENT value source records created before 1 January 2000 should not be found in current day batches so are not dealt with in this Advice.

The reproductions of PERMANENT value source records created after 1 January 2000 and all TEMPORARY value source records may be retained as the official agency records providing they have the required degree of authenticity, integrity, reliability and usability necessary to substitute for the source records in business and regulatory applications. This includes their use as evidence in the Courts, to respond to Freedom of Information requests or to comply with guidelines issued by the State Archivist. 

The Disposal Schedule for Source Records – DA No. 2159 covers the disposal of source records that have PERMANENT status (and were created after 1 January 2000) and all those that have TEMPORARY status in a current disposal schedule and have been scanned. The reproductions of these records must be retained for the retention periods specified in the relevant disposal schedule.

It should be noted that agencies must obtain a formal authorisation from the State Archivist before destroying the source records of PERMANENT value records and source records that are not covered by a current disposal schedule (unscheduled records).

If the records have been imaged and are..

Then..

Identified in an authorised disposal schedule as having PERMANENT value (created after 1 January 2000) or TEMPORARY value

  • You may destroy the source record
  • Retain the reproduction as the official State record

Identified in an authorised disposal schedule as having PERMANENT value (created before 1 January 2000)

  • You must retain the source record as it remains the official State record

PERMANENT value records where authority has been obtained from the State Archivist to destroy the source record.

  • You may destroy the source record
  • Retain the reproduction as the official State record

UNSCHEDULED records (these may include both permanent and temporary value records)

  • You must retain the source record as it remains the official State record

UNSCHEDULED records where authority has been obtained from the State Archivist to destroy the source record.

  • You may destroy the source record
  • Retain the reproduction as the official State record

Conditions that must be met to destroy source records.

If a record qualifies to be destroyed after it has been imaged in terms of its disposal status, then destruction of the paper original is only permitted where the imaging is done in accordance with the Reproduction Conditions for Digitising Source Records contained in the State Records Guideline No. 8, Management of source records that have been copied, converted or migrated.

Those conditions include:

  • all requirements for keeping the records in their original format have been assessed and fulfilled (for example, there is no known event which may change the record’s disposal status, such as a pending legal case)
  • reproductions have the required degree of authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability necessary to meet the identifiable purpose of the source records 
  • the reproductions are kept for the authorised retention period (that is, the retention period that applied to the original record)

Managing the Scanning Process

Step 1

Open incoming correspondence and examine against relevant disposal schedules.

These may include:

  • Disposal Schedule for Common Administrative Records – DA No. 2157
  • Disposal Schedule for Council Records – DS11
  • Disposal Schedule for Short-term Value Records – DA No. 2158
  • Applicable Agency Functional Disposal Schedules

Step 2

For each record being scanned, determine whether it is able to be destroyed once scanned (see ‘Which records must be retained in hard copy?’ above).

  • If the record is not permitted to be destroyed once scanned then register the source record in the agency’s recordkeeping system with all necessary metadata including information on disposal, location and related records (e.g. the scanned copy). Ensure the source record is stored so that it can be easily retrieved and is protected from deterioration
  • If the record is permitted to be destroyed once scanned then retain the source record for an adequate period to allow for checks of scanning quality; and any likely change in disposal status (e.g. a complaint becoming part of a legal case). Ensure the reproduction is registered in the agency’s recordkeeping system with all necessary metadata including disposal information

Management of source records

In order to ensure that records that need to be retained are not destroyed, some organisations establish a system whereby all source records that have been scanned are kept for a period of time in batches separated according to their retention requirement. An example of this system might involve keeping batches for:

  • records for which destruction is permitted
  • records which must be retained in hard copy
  • records that may have a change in disposal status - for example, those relating to a contentious issue that is likely to escalate into a legal matter

All records are registered in the recordkeeping system including their location (e.g. batch identifier, shelf location).

Periodically (for example every 6 months), a report is produced from the recordkeeping system, the records are reviewed and their disposal status is checked. They may then either be destroyed or placed in storage conditions appropriate for long term records.

Records that are ‘born electronic’

While not the subject of this guide, it should be noted that records that are ‘born’ electronic such as emails, Word documents or webpages may be retained in electronic form for as long as required, including permanent value records. It is not a requirement that these records be printed and retained in hard copy format.

Tools such as electronic records and document management applications can be used to support effective ongoing management of electronic records.

 Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement is made to the State Records Authority of New South Wales, Day Boxing Dilemma: Advice for NSW Councilsfor much of the content in this guideline.

For more information

Archives Office of Tasmania,State Records Guideline No. 8, Management of source records that have been copied, converted or migrated

Archives Office of Tasmania,Disposal Schedule for Temporary Value Source Records – DA No. 2159