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Recordkeeping Advice No. 14

Recordkeeping Metadata Standard

Issued: 13 July 2005; Amended 23/05/2011

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.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist


The Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies describes the metadata that the National Archives of Australia recommends should be captured in the recordkeeping systems used by government agencies.

A Standards Association sub-Committee (IT21/7 A/NZ) is currently working on the development of an Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Standard which will be applicable in all jurisdictions.


The State Archivist has endorsed the Recordkeeping Metadata Standard for Commonwealth Agencies and promotes this standard for use in Tasmanian State and local government organisations. This endorsement will be reviewed following the release of an Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Standard.

Compliance with the standard will help agencies to identify, authenticate, describe and manage their electronic records in a systematic and consistent way to meet business, accountability and archival requirements. In this respect the metadata is an electronic recordkeeping aid, similar to the descriptive information captured in file registers, file covers, movement cards, indexes and other registry tools used in the paper-based environment to apply intellectual and physical controls to records.

The standard is designed to be used as a reference tool by agency corporate managers, IT personnel and software vendors involved in the design, selection and implementation of electronic recordkeeping and related information management systems. It defines a basic set of 20 metadata elements (eight of which constitute a core set of mandatory metadata) and 65 sub-elements that may be incorporated within such systems, and explains how they should be applied.

While the standard is designed primarily for electronic recordkeeping systems, many of its concepts are also applicable to traditional paper-based or hybrid recordkeeping environments. It should be regarded as a basic foundation which agencies can build upon in order to satisfy any additional specialised recordkeeping requirements they may have.

The standard is available on the National Archives of Australia website at: Records Management>Create, capture & describe>Australian Government Recordkeeping Metadata Standard Version 2.0.