Glossary

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X

A

Access (1)

The right, opportunity, means of finding, using or retrieving information, usually subject to rules and conditions.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.1; International Council on Archives, ISAD (G), p. 14.

Access (2)

Access to Commonwealth records for agencies and the public is governed by the Archives Act 1983. Under the Act, there is a general right of access to Commonwealth records that are in the open period, subject to certain exemptions.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.1; International Council on Archives, ISAD (G), p. 14.

Access controls

The scheme of non-hierarchical mechanisms, which may be applied to records and record plan entities, to prevent access by unauthorised users. They may include the definition of user access groups and ad hoc lists of individual named users.

See also: Security controlsSystem access controlUser access group

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 28.

Access examination

The process of examining records to identify any exempt information they may contain. The four main types of access examination are folio-by-folio, item sampling, title checking and full appraisal.

Accession (1)

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

Accession (2)

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.

J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe Melbourne, 1993, p. 460.

Accountability

The principle that individuals, organisations and the community are responsible for their actions and may be required to explain them to others (such as regulatory authorities, shareholders, members and the public).

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.2; Standards Australia AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.1.

Acid free

Paper and other materials with a pH of 7 (neutral) or higher (alkaline). Acid-free materials are often prescribed for use in the packaging of records to ensure their long-term preservation.

Active metadata

Metadata available for use by an electronic records management system (ERMS) to support or trigger automated records management processes.

See also: Electronic records management system (ERMS)MetadataDescriptive metadata

Active record

A record that has not been closed and which is required for the day-to-day functioning of an agency or person.

See also: Current record

Activity

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 also: Business information system (BIS)FunctionTransaction (2)

Administrative Arrangements Order

A formal document issued by the Federal Executive Council (and generally published in the Commonwealth Gazette), which assigns responsibility for legislation and functions to departments of State. They can cause administrative change when functions are moved from one department to another.

See also: Administrative change

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 also: Administrative Arrangements Order

Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA)

A general disposal authority that covers common administrative functions performed by most Australian Government agencies. The structure of the authority is based on the business classification scheme of the Keyword AAA: Thesaurus of General Terms Commonwealth Version.

See also: Records authority

Administrative record

A record that an agency creates in the course of administrative activities which are generally common to all agencies.

See also: Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA)Housekeeping record

Admissibility

The quality of being permitted to serve as evidence in a trial, hearing or other proceeding. Material admitted as evidence may be challenged as not authentic or as unreliable. Documentation to support evidence generally relies of the quality of the recordkeeping system creating and managing it.

Adapted from: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Agency

A distinct and recognisable body that has responsibility for carrying out administrative functions. It will usually have an identifiable head with decision-making authority at his/her hierarchal level, a legal instrument or some form of delegated authority, which establishes its basis for existence and sets out its functions, and its own recordkeeping system. An agency can be part of the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary. Registered agencies include statutory authorities, central, state or local offices of Australian Government departments, naval establishments, lighthouses, Royal Commissions, inquires, embassies, schools, courts and tribunals.

See also: Organisation

Agency controlling

The agency with responsibility for the functions or legislation to which a series of records relates. A series may be controlled by more than one agency. The agency controlling may change from time to time following changes in administrative arrangements and the movement of functions from one agency to another. It may not necessarily be the same as the agency that created the records in the first place.

See also: Administrative Arrangements OrderSeries

Aggregation

Any accumulation of record entities at a level above record object (document, digital document) eg. folder, digital folder or series.

See also: FolderRecord category

Ambient function

A high-level function that exists outside the boundaries of an organisation. An ambient function provides the broader societal context in which an organisation’s business functions are performed. Examples include childcare services, Indigenous affairs and international relations.

See also: ActivityFunctionTransaction (2)

Analog

A term describing any device that represents a variable by a continuously moving or varying entity such as a clock, the hands of which move to represent time, or a UV meter, the needle of which moves to represent varying amplifier output energy.

Source: Macquarie Dictionary Online, 2006, published online at www.macquariedictionary.com.au.

Application programming interface (API)

A specific method prescribed by a computer operating system or application program so that the application program can make requests of the operating system or another application.

Source: Archives New Zealand, Electronic Recordkeeping Systems Standard, June 2005, p. 14.

Appraisal

The process of evaluating records to determine which are to be retained as archives, which are to be kept for specified periods and which will be destroyed.

See also: Appraisal criteria

Adapted from: Standards Australia AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.3.

Appraisal criteria

The criteria used to determine the value of a record for future business, accountability or community needs.

See also: Appraisal

Archival data format

A format into which digital data objects are converted for long-term preservation.

Archival Information Collection (AIC)

An archival information package whose content information is an aggregation of other archival information packages.

See also: Archival Information Collection (AIC)Archival Information Package (AIP)Archival Information Unit (AIU)Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Archival Information Package (AIP)

An information package consisting of the content information and associated preservation description information (PDI), which is preserved within an open archival information system (OAIS).

See also: Archival Information Collection (AIC)Archival Information Unit (AIU)Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Adapted from: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), 2002, published online at: public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/650x0b1.pdf.

Archival Information Unit (AIU)

An archival information package whose content information is not further broken down into other content information components, each of which has its own complete preservation description information.

Source: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), 2002, published online at: www.public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/650x0b1.pdf.

Archival quality

A term used to describe materials that retain their original characteristics without loss of quality over an indefinite period of time. It can also be used to describe materials that, by their nature, are able to resist deterioration. The National Archives manages an Archival Quality certification trademark to describe products with a level of chemical stability and physical strength such that they will survive for long periods and cope with a high level of handling.

Archival value

The attribute of Australian Government records appraised as being retain as national archives (RNA).

See also: AppraisalRetain as national archives (RNA)

Archives (1)

Records that are appraised as having archival value. This definition of the term differs to the 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 or for recovery purposes in case the original data is damaged or lost.

Archives (2)

A place such as a building, room or storage area where archival material is kept.

Archives (3)

An organisation (or part of an organisation) responsible for appraising, acquiring, preserving and making available archival material.

Archives Act 1983

The Archives Act 1983 officially established the Australian Archives (now the National Archives of Australia) and defines its powers. The Act also establishes a general right of access to Commonwealth records that are over 30 years old, subject to certain exemptions.

Adapted from: Archives Act 1983, Section 5, and Part 5, Division 3.

Arrangement

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.

See also: ProvenanceOriginal orderDescription

Source: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 464.

AS 4390

AS 4390 is the original Australian Records Management standard released in 1996. AS 4390 was superseded by an international standard, AS-ISO 15489, in 2002. Some definitions in AS 4390 relate specifically to the Australian context, so remain relevant even though the standard is no longer current.

See also: AS ISO 15489

AS ISO 15489

AS ISO 15489 replaced AS 4390 as the code for records management practice in Australia in March 2002. The standard provides a descriptive benchmark that organisations can use to assess their recordkeeping systems and practices. AS ISO 15489 comprises two parts and both of which are designed to help organisations create, capture and manage full and accurate records to meet their business needs and legal requirements, as well as to satisfy other stakeholder expectations. AS ISO 15489 applies to records in any format or media, created or received by any public or private organisation during the course of its activities.

See also: AS 4390

Associative relationship

Used when describing terms from a functional analysis. The relationship between pairs of terms that are not members of an equivalence set, nor can be organised as a hierarchy in which one term is subordinated to another, yet they are associated to such an extent that the link between them should be made explicit on the grounds that it would reveal alternative terms that might be used for indexing or retrieval. It establishes non-hierarchical relationships between related terms.

Adapted from: International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 2788: Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri, 2nd ed. Geneva, 1986, Clause 8.4.

Audiovisual record

A record that has sound and pictorial attributes. 'Audiovisual' is often used in a general sense to distinguish non-textual materials from written records.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

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. It is usually in the form of a database or one or more lists of activity data.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 1.

Australian Business Number-Digital Signature Certificate (ABN-DSC)

A digital certificate linked to an entity’s ABN. The certificate identifies an individual with an associated entity that has an ABN.

Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS)

The Australian metadata standard (AS 5044.1) for the discovery and retrieval of government information online.

Australian Governments' Interactive Functions Thesaurus (AGIFT)

A web-based thesaurus that enables users to search online government resources. The thesaurus links natural language terms with terms used by governments.

Authentic
Authenticated transaction

An electronic transaction that has a digital signature attached to it.

Authentication

The process of establishing that the sender of a message is who he/she claims to be.

Authorised term

B

Backup

The activity of copying files or databases so that they will be preserved in case of equipment failure or other catastrophe. This is different from archiving information, which is preserving information with a view to its long-term value.

Binary code

A code using two distinct characters, normally 0 and 1.

Bit

A single numeric character. Each bit of a binary number can either be 0 or 1. Physically, a memory cell within the computer and the smallest unit of information in a computer. The value of a bit represents a simple two-way choice, such as yes or no, on or off, positive or negative, something or nothing. The small unit of information (usually either a 0 or a 1) recognisable by a computer.

Bitmap

An image created from a series of bits and bytes that form pixels. Each pixel can vary in colour or grey-scale value.  Image data bits or pixels are acquired, stored or mapped into memory, and/or displayed in the exact position as in the original view, document or scene. Representation of digitised characters or graphics by individual pixels arranged in row (horizontal) and column (vertical) order. Each pixel is represented by either one bit (simple black and white) or up to 86 bits (high-definition grey scale). Also known as a raster image. This is the opposite of vector images where a small set of values can generate an object.

Bitstream (1)

A sequence of binary information transmitted, stored, or received as a unit without regard for internal organisation or grouping.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at: www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Bitstream (2)

The flow of data over a network.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at: www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Boolean search

A search formed by joining simple terms with 'and', 'or' and 'not' for the purpose of limiting or qualifying the search.

Born digital

Electronic materials that are not intended to have an analogue equivalent, either as the originating source or as a result of conversion to analogue form. Used to differentiate materials from those that have been created as a result of converting analogue originals, and material that may have originated from a digital source but have been printed to paper, eg. some electronic records.

Source: M. Jones and N. Beagrie, Definitions and Concepts from Preservation Management of Digital Materials: A Handbook, 2002 published online at: http://www.dpconline.org/text/intro/definitions.html.

Browsing

A method of finding a record by starting at a known point and following linked terms and other identified paths to locate required information.

Adapted from: New South Wales Department of Public Works and Services, Request for Tender No. ITS2323 for the Supply of Records and Information Management Systems, Part B Specifications, March 2001, p. 12.

Business activity

An umbrella term covering all the functions, 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.

See also: Activity

Adapted from: Standards Australia AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.6.

Business classification scheme (BCS)

A conceptual representation of the functions and activities performed by an organisation. The scheme is derived from the analysis of business activity. It is the basis from which classification tools, such as a functions thesaurus and record classification scheme, are developed. These tools help agency personnel create meaningful titles for records.

Business function

See: Function

Business information system (BIS)

An automated system that creates or manages information about an organisation’s activities. Includes applications whose primary purpose is to facilitate transactions between an organisational unit and its customers eg. an e-commerce system, client relationship management system, purpose-built or customised database, finance or human resources systems. Business information systems that create or manage records should have the appropriate functionally for these tasks, or they should interface with other systems that manage the records.

See also: Electronic document management system (EDMS)Electronic records management system (ERMS)System (2)

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.17.

C

Capture

The process of lodging a document or digital object into a recordkeeping system and assigning metadata to describe the record and place it in context, thus allowing the appropriate management of the record over time. For certain business activities this functionality may be built into business information systems so that the capture of records is concurrent with the creation of records.

See also: Create (a record)Registration

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.7.

Caveat

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.

See also: Access controlsActive metadataDescriptorSecurity category

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 5.

Census
Certificate revocation list (CRL)

The published directory that lists revoked and/or suspended certificates. The CRL may form part of the certificate directory or may be published separately.

Certification authority

A body that generates, signs and issues public key certificates that bind subscribers to their public key.

Change management

The proactive development of strategies and action plans to manage the impact of changes in work practices and business processes on an organisation. It is usually associated with the implementation of information and communication technology in an organisation.

Checksum

An algorithm-based method of determining the integrity and authenticity of a digital data object. It is used to check whether errors or alterations have occurred during the transmission or storage of a data object.

Adapted from: New South Wales Department of Commerce, Office of Information and Communications Technology, Change Management Guideline, Issue no. 2, May 2002, p. 2.

Classification (1)

The 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.

Classification (2)

Determining document or file naming conventions, user permissions and security restrictions on records.

See also: Security classification system

Source: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.5; Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.8.

Classification system

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

Commonwealth person

A significant individual such as a Governor-General, Prime Minister, Minister, Member of Parliament or senior public servant who has been associated with the Commonwealth and who has created personal records held by the National Archives is included in the CRS System as a Commonwealth Person.

Commonwealth record

A record that is the property of the Commonwealth or of a Commonwealth institution; or a record that is deemed to be a Commonwealth record by virtue of a regulation under the Archives Act 1983, but does not include a record that is exempt material or is a register or guide maintained in accordance with the Act.

See also: Record

Adapted from: Archives Act 1983, Part I, Section 3.

Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) System
Compliant
Component

A set of constituent parts that comprise a digital record (such as the multimedia components of a web page). It is necessary to capture metadata about components to enable a record to be managed over time eg. for migration purposes.

See also: Digital objectDigital record

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 1.

Compound record

A record that comprises multiple individual digital objects eg. a web page with embedded graphics and style sheets.

Source: Archives New Zealand, Electronic Recordkeeping Systems Standard, June 2005.

Comprehensive
Compression

A process that reduces the amount of space necessary for data to be stored or transmitted. Compression is often used to describe the process of compacting and extracting the information, although the term can be used to distinguish the first phase from the second phase, which is called decompression. The digital image formats JPEG and GIF both use compression to minimise file size.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Conservation

The treatment of items (including records and objects) to stabilise them chemically or strengthen them physically so that they can be maintained for as long as possible in their original form. In the archival context, conservation is generally understood to be a narrower function within the broader scope of preservation, and usually implies a more significant level of interventive action being applied to individual items.

Consignment

A quantity of records that all have the same storage requirements and are prepared for transfer to the National Archives. The format is a combination of series number and single number, eg. A9816/3.

Content

That which conveys information, eg. text, data, symbols, numerals, images, sound and vision.

Content management system (CMS)

A content management system supports the creation, editing, maintenance, retrieval and storage of websites.

Contents date range

The contents start date and contents end date, which are usually the dates on the first and last folios of a record.

Context

The background information that enhances understanding of technical and business environments to which the records relate, eg. information on the application software, logical business models and the provenance of the record.

Continuum

The whole extent of a record's existence. The related theory replaces the life cycle model by considering that records require management starting before they are created, eg. in systems design. This theoretical model more effectively allows for preservation and management processes to be applied to a record at any point in time, which is particularly relevant when dealing with digital records.

Control record

A record created and maintained to help identify and retrieve other records. Agency control records include such registry tools as record registers, movement registers, subject indexes and name indexes.

Control symbol

The numbers or letters imposed on an item to identify it in order to provide a system for facilitating control. Systems may be chronological, alphabetical, lexicographical, single number or a combination of these. Common control systems are annual single number and multiple number, often with alphabetical prefixes.

See also: ItemSeries

Controlled copy

An exact reproduction of a digital record, where there is no change to the content of the record. A controlled copy may be allocated to a different part of the record plan but must be linked to the originating record and all other controlled copies of that record.

Controlled vocabulary

An alphabetical list containing terms or headings that are authorised or controlled so that only one heading or form of heading is allowed to represent a particular concept or name.

See also: Natural languageThesaurus

J. Kennedy and C. Schauder, Records Management: A Guide to Corporate Recordkeeping, 2nd edition, Longman, Melbourne, 1988, p. 291.

Conversion

The process of changing records from one medium to another or from one format to another. Conversion involves a change of the format of the record but ensures that the record retains the identical primary information (content). Examples include microfilming and digital imaging of paper records.

See also: Migration

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, clause 3.7; and Part 2, clause 4.3.9.2(b).

Copying

The production of an identical copy on the same type of medium (paper, microfilm or electronic), eg. from paper to paper, microfilm to microfilm or the production of backup copies of electronic records (which can also be made on a different kind of electronic medium).

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 2, Clause 4.3.9.2.

The exclusive right, granted by law, of the creator of a work (or his/her assignees or employers) to make or dispose of copies and otherwise control the use of a literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or other work. Ownership of copyright in a work does not necessarily pass with ownership of the work itself. The laws relating to copyright are complex and require specialist legal advice.

Source: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p.466.

Core business

A core business is a key area of responsibility carried out by an agency. It is made up of groups of activities supporting the performance of the core business area. Areas of core business determine the framework for an agency's records authority/authorities.

See also: Records authority

Core function

A function that is specific to an organisation, as opposed to administrative functions common to most or all agencies. As a general rule, housekeeping records are listed in the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority. The functions that an agency carries out which are not covered in this authority are likely to be core functions. However, there is an overlap for some agencies.

See also: Core record

Core record

A record unique to a particular agency, generated as the agency carries out its specific functions. Some examples are Australian Bureau of Statistics census returns, Centrelink client files and project files of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. Core records are also called operational or portfolio records.

Create (a record)

To make a record (evidence) of business transactions.

See also: Full and accurate record

CRS System
Cryptographic key

Data elements used for the encryption or decryption of electronic messages. They consist of a sequence of symbols that control the operation of a cryptographic transformation, such as encipherment.

See also: EncryptionKey management plan (KMP)Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

Current record
Custody

The responsibility for the care of records and archives, usually based on their physical possession. Custody does not necessarily include legal ownership.

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 466.

D

Data

Facts or instructions represented in a formalised manner, suitable for transmission, interpretation or processing manually or automatically.

Adapted from: International Council on Archives, Dictionary of Archival Terminology, KG Saur, Munich, 1988, p. 48.

Data dictionary (1)

A formal repository of terms used to describe data.

Source: ISO 14721, 2003 1-10 Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Data dictionary (2)

A collection of detailed information on the data elements, fields, tables and other entities that comprise the data model underlying a database or similar data management system. The data dictionary maps the relationships between these entities and may be used to gain an understanding of the structure and internal operating processes of a system.

See also: DatabaseData elementFieldTable

Data element

A logical, identifiable unit of data that forms the basic organisational component in a database. Usually a combination of characters or bytes referring to one separate piece of information. A data element may combine with one or more other data elements or digital objects to form a digital record.

See also: DataDatabaseDigital recordFieldTable

Database

An organised collection of related data. Databases are usually structured and indexed to improve user access and retrieval of information. They may exist in physical or digital format.

See also: Data

Decrypted record

A record that was subject to an encryption process but has since been successfully deciphered.

Deletion

The process of removing, erasing or obliterating recorded information from a medium outside the disposal process. Deletion within electronic systems generally refers to the removal of the pointer (ie. location information) that allows the system to identify where a particular piece of data is stored on the medium. Deletion does not meet the requirements for destruction of Commonwealth records as it may be possible to retrieve the deleted data before it is completely over-written and obliterated by the system.

See also: Destruction (1)Disposal

Description

The process of recording information about the nature and content of records. The description identifies such features as provenance, arrangement, format, contents, and administrative and recordkeeping contexts, and presents them in standardised form.

See also: ArrangementMetadata

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 467.

Descriptive metadata

Metadata that is available for informational purposes only (such as comments and notes fields) and is not actively used by an electronic records management system to support or trigger automated records management processes.

See also: Active metadataMetadata

Descriptor

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

See also: Descriptive metadata

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, pp. 27–8.

Design specification

A document detailing 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.

Destruction (1)

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

See also: DisposalDeletion

Destruction (2)

The National Archives authorises disposal of Commonwealth records (including destruction) for the purposes of the Archives Act 1983. Destruction should be carried out by an approved method such as shredding or, in the case of electronic records, rendering them unreadable.

See also: DisposalDeletion

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.8.

Digital archive

An archive which performs the same role in the digital world as traditional archives have 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, while 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 certificate

An electronic document signed by the Certification Authority that identifies a key holder and the business entity he/she represents. It binds the key holder to a key pair by specifying the public key of that key pair and should contain any other information required by the certificate profile.

Digital document

A document created and/or maintained by means of digital computer technology.

See also: Document

Digital folder

A set of related digital records held in a tight-knit relationship and managed as a single object. It may also be referred to as a 'container'.

See also: Folder

Digital object

An object that can be represented by a computer, such as a file type generated by a particular system or software application, eg. a word-processed document, a spreadsheet or an image. A digital record may comprise one or more digital objects.

See also: ComponentDigital record

Digital preservation

The series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary. Digital preservation is defined very broadly as all of the actions required to maintain access to digital materials beyond the limits of media failure or technological change.

Digital Preservation Recorder (DPR)

The National Archives’ computer application that has been developed to track all activity undertaken by a data object during the digital preservation process.

Digital record

A record created and/or maintained by means of digital computer technology. It includes records that are born digital or have undergone conversion from a non-digital format. Digital records are a subset of electronic records.

See also: Electronic recordRecord

Digital repository

A device on which digital records and their associated metadata are stored.

See also: Electronic records management system (ERMS)

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.

Source: Australian Government Information Management Office, Trusting the Internet: A Small Business Guide to E-security, July 2002, p. 43.

Digital watermark

A complex visible or invisible pattern denoting provenance or ownership information. A watermark may be superimposed on a digital image and can only be removed by use of an algorithm and a secure key. Similar technologies may be applied to digitised sound and moving picture records.

Source: Cornwell Management Consultants (for the European Commission Interchange of Documentation between Administrations Programme), Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq Specification), March 2001, p. 70.

Digitisation

The process of creating digital files by scanning or otherwise converting analog materials. The resulting digital copy, or digital surrogate, is then classed as digital material and then subject to the same broad challenges involved in preserving access to it as born digital materials.

Source: M. Jones and N. Beagrie, Definitions and Concepts from Preservation Management of Digital Materials: A Handbook, 2002 published online at www.dpconline.org/text/intro/definitions.html.

Digitised record

Records transformed into a digital form from an analog form eg. scanning a paper record.

Disaster plan

A written procedure setting out the measures to be taken to minimise the risks and effects of disasters such as fire, flood or earthquake, and to recover, save and secure the vital records should such a disaster occur.

See also: Disaster preparedness and response

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p.467

Disaster preparedness and response

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.

See also: Disaster plan

Disposal

The National Archives authorises the disposal of Commonwealth records for the purposes of the Archives Act 1983, generally by issuing a records authority (RA), previously referred to as a records disposal authority (RDA), or a general records authority (GRA), previously referred to as a general disposal authority (GDA).

See also: Records authorityDeletionGDA

Disposal action

An action stipulated in a record authority indicating the minimum retention period for a record and the event in relation to which the disposal date should be calculated.

See also: Disposal trigger

Disposal authority

See: Records authority

See also: Disposal

Adapted from: Archives Act 1983, Part 5, Division 2, Section 24; Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.10.

Disposal class (1)

The descriptor of a group of records which document similar activities. The disposal class includes a disposal action to be applied to the group in addition to function and activity terms, a scope note, a record description and a unique class number.

Disposal class (2)

A component of a records authority which acts as a set of rules within an electronic records management system. It is comprised of a disposal trigger, a retention period and a disposal action which may be applied to a record plan entity.

Disposal freeze (1)

A ban on disposal action that applies to certain groups of records as designated by the National Archives from time to time.

Disposal freeze (2)

A mechanism within an electronic records management system that can prevent any disposal action from taking place, even if the retention period for a digital record has elapsed. The disposal freeze mechanism may be applied to prevent the disposal of records identified as being subject to a pending or ongoing freedom of information or legal discovery process, or records identified as being subject to a formal National Archives disposal freeze.

Disposal schedule
Disposal trigger

The point from which the disposal action is calculated. This can be a date on which action is completed or a date on which an event occurs. Examples include ‘Destroy 20 years after last action’ or ‘Destroy 75 years after date of birth’.

Disposition

See: Disposal

Dissemination Information Package (DIP)

The information package, derived from one or more Archival Iinfomtion Packages (AIPs), received by the consumer in response to a request to the digital repository.

See also: Archival Information Package (AIP)Digital repositoryOpen Archival Information System (OAIS)

Source: ISO 14721, 1-10 Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), 2003.

Distributed custody

The arrangement whereby archival records are held in a controlling agency beyond the period where they would normally be transferred to the archives, by agreement between the archival authority and the controlling agency.

Document

Recorded information or an object that can be treated as a unit.

Source: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, 2001, Part 1, Clause 3.10.

Dynamic website

A website on which pages are generated ‘on the fly’ from smaller elements of content, such as databases. The result is a website that is presented differently to and experienced in a different way by each user.

Source: A. Brown, Archiving Websites: A Practical Guide for Information Management Professionals, Facet Publishing, London, 2006, p. 45.

E

EDMS

An automated system that supports the creation, use and maintenance of electronically-created documents for the purpose of improving an organisation’s workflow. These systems do not necessarily incorporate recordkeeping functionality, and the documents may be of informational rather than evidential value (ie. the documents may not be records). EDMS is a subset of business information systems whose primary purpose is to support creation, revision and management of digital documents.

See: Electronic document management system (EDMS)

Electronic business  (e-Business)

Business activity that is conducted online.

See also: Electronic commerce (e-Commerce)

Electronic commerce (e-Commerce)

All business transactions that are conducted by electronic means.

See also: Electronic business  (e-Business)

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 organisation’s workflow. These systems do not necessarily incorporate recordkeeping functionality and the documents may be of informational rather than evidential value (ie. the documents may not be records). EDMS is a subset of business information systems whose primary purpose is to support creation, revision and management of digital documents.

See also: Business information system (BIS)Electronic records management system (ERMS)

Electronic messages

Any communication using an electronic system for the conduct of official business internally, among Australian Government agencies, or with the outside world. Common examples include email, instant messaging and SMS (short messaging services).

See also: Digital record

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, 1996, Part 1, Clause 4.13; J. Kennedy and C. Schauder, Records Management: A Guide to Corporate Recordkeeping, 2nd edition, Longman, Melbourne, 1998, p. 293.

Electronic messaging systems

Applications used by agencies or individuals for sending and receiving, as well as storing and retrieving, electronic messages. These systems generally do not possess recordkeeping functionality.

Electronic record

A record created, communicated and/or maintained by means of electronic equipment. Although this term can refer to analogue materials (eg. videotapes), it generally refers to records held in digital form on magnetic or optical computer storage media.

See also: Digital record

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, 1996, Part 1, Clause 4.13; J. Kennedy and C. Schauder, Records Management: A Guide to Corporate Recordkeeping, 2nd edition, Longman, Melbourne, 1998, p. 293.

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. ERMS is a subset of business information systems whose primary purpose is the capture and management of digital records.

See also: Business information system (BIS)Electronic document management system (EDMS)System (1)

Electronic transaction

A discrete packet of data transmitted in the course of conducting business activity online, whether in the form of a message, automated transaction or other type of digital communication.

Emulation

A digital record preservation approach that involves keeping digital records in their original format and recreating the operating environment to enable the original performance of the software to be recreated on current computers. The result is that the original data format is preserved and may be accessed in an environment that allows for the recreation of the original ‘look and feel’ of the record.

Encapsulated object

A digital record that has been ‘packaged’ with enough metadata to preserve its content and context, and to support their reconstruction at some time in the future. The encapsulated metadata is managed as an integral part of the record.

Encapsulation

The process of ‘packaging’ records with enough metadata to preserve their content and context, and to support their reconstruction at some time in the future.

Encryption

The process of converting data into a secure code through the use of an encryption algorithm for transmission over a public network. The mathematical key to the encryption algorithm is encoded and transmitted with the data, thus providing the means by which the data can be decrypted at the receiving end and the original data restored.

Source: Australian Government Information Management Office, Trusting the Internet: A Small Business Guide to E-security, July 2002, p. 43.

Enterprise architecture
Equivalence relationship

The relationship between preferred and non-preferred terms in a thesaurus where two or more terms are regarded, for indexing purposes, as referring to the same concept. It is the relationship linking non-preferred terms to preferred terms.

Evaluation criteria

The criteria used to evaluate the compliance and/or relative ranking of submissions received in response to a procurement process.

Source: Department of Finance and Administration, Guidance on the Mandatory Procurement Procedures, January 2005, p. 66H.

Exempt information

Sensitive information in Commonwealth records as defined in Section 33 of the Archives Act 1983 (eg. personal or security-related information), which may be withheld from public access beyond the closed access period (previously 30 years, progressively reducing to 20 years in 2021).

Export

A disposal process whereby copies of a digital record (or group of records) are passed with their metadata from one system to another, either within the organisation or elsewhere. Export does not involve removing records from the first system.

See also: Transfer

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 3.

Expunge

To delete exempt information from a copy of a record in order to make the remainder of the record available for public access.

Extant

Records that remain or have survived to the present, ie. records that have not been destroyed or lost.

Extract

A copy of a digital record from which some material has been removed or permanently masked. An extract is made when the full record cannot be released for access, but part of the record can.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 3.

Extraction

The act of creating an extract.

See also: Extract

F

Field

A set of one or more related data elements within a database that represent a category of information.

See also: Data elementDatabaseTable

File (1)

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

File (2)

The action of placing documents in a predetermined location according to a scheme of control.

Source: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 470.

File census

A stocktake of all an organisation’s files stored in a designated area. A file census or audit is usually carried out to gather data to update the organisation’s file tracking system.

File part

A part of a file (or item) that has no independent intellectual existence or control apart from the other part(s) of the file.

Finding aid (1)

A tool that facilitates discovery of information within a collection of records. Finding aids can be found in a wide range of formats, including card indexes, calendars, guides, inventories, shelf and container lists, and registers.

Finding aid (2)

A description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over the materials and assists users to gain access to and understand the materials. Finding aids place materials in context by consolidating information about the collection, such as acquisition and processing, provenance, including administrative history or biographical note and scope of the collection, including size, subjects, media, organisation and arrangement. They also provide an inventory of the series and folders.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Folder

An aggregation of records allocated to a records category within the records classification scheme. A folder is constituted of metadata that may be inherited from the parent (records category) and passed on to a child (record).

See also: Digital folderPhysical folder

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 3.

Folio (1)

A leaf of paper or page in a file, usually numbered on one side only.

Folio (2)

To assign a number to a leaf or page.

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 471

Format

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

See also: ConversionNative format

Adapted from: United States of America Department of Defense, Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications, DoD 5015.2-STD, June 2002, p. 14.

Freedom of information (FOI)

The right of the public, granted by law (the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Act 2010), to inspect or otherwise have access to documents in the recordkeeping systems of government, subject to specified exclusions.

Full and accurate record

A record that is:

  • compliant with the recordkeeping requirements arising from the regulatory and accountability environment in which the organisation operates
  • adequate for the purposes for which it is kept
  • complete – containing not only the content, but also the structural and contextual information necessary to document a transaction
  • meaningful – containing information and/or linkages that ensure the business context in which the record was created and used is apparent
  • comprehensive – documenting the complete range of the organisation's business for which evidence is required
  • accurate – to reflect the transactions that it documents
  • authentic – enabling proof that it is what it purports to be and that its purported creators did indeed create it
  • inviolate – securely maintained to prevent unauthorised access, alteration or removal.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, 1996, Part 3, Clause 5.3.

Function

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

See also: Activity

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 4, Clause 7.2.

Functional record
Functional requirements

A description of the requirements of a system for it to fulfil its responsibilities and to support users in performing tasks relating to those responsibilities.

Adapted from: Universal Preservation Format Cross Domain Glossary, 1998, published online at www.info.wgbh.org/upf/index.html.

Functional specifications

A detailed description of the hardware, software, communications and human resources needed for an information system to be built, installed, tested, operated and maintained.

Adapted from: Universal Preservation Format Cross Domain Glossary, 1998, published online at www.info.wgbh.org/upf/index.html.

Functions thesaurus

An alphabetical classification tool that reflects the business activities of an agency and their relationships. A functions thesaurus can be used to classify, title, retrieve, sentence and dispose of records and other business information.

G

Gatekeeper

The Australian Government strategy to develop public key infrastructure to facilitate government online service delivery and e-procurement.

General records authority (GRA)

A records authority that covers functions common to all or most government agencies, usually produced by the National Archives on behalf of the Australian Government.

See also: Records authority

Government Public Key Infrastructure (GPKI)

The collective term for the standards, products, services and service providers certified under the Gatekeeper strategy. It also refers to the policies created for the management of those standards, products and services, and the relationships between them.

H

Hardware obsolescence

Hardware that is no longer in use or available because of the development of an improved or superior way of achieving the same goal. The obsolete hardware is no longer supported.

Hierarchical relationship

A relationship based on degrees or levels of superordination and subordination, where the superordinate term represents a class or whole and the subordinate terms refer to its members or parts. A relationship between terms that is based on a ranking or order from a superior to a subordinate position.

Adapted from: International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 2788: Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri, 2nd ed. Geneva, 1986, Clause 8.3.

Housekeeping record
Hybrid record

A set of related digital and physical components that are linked by metadata in a tight-knit relationship and managed as a single record.

See also: Digital recordRecord

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 4.

Hybrid recordkeeping system

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

I

Image format

The specification under which an image has been saved to disk or in which it resides in a computer memory. There are many commonly used digital image formats including TIFF, DIB, GIF and JPEG. The image format specification dictates what image information is present and how it is organised in memory.

Import

To receive digital records and associated metadata into one system from another, either from within the organisation or from elsewhere.

Inactive record

A record that is not required to be readily available for the business purposes of a department or agency and may therefore be transferred to intermediate storage, archival custody or be destroyed subject to applicable laws.

See also: Non-current record

Indexing

The process of establishing access points to facilitate retrieval of records and/or information.

Source: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, 2001 Part 1, Clause 3.11.

Information

Any type of knowledge that can be exchanged. In an exchange, it is represented by data. An example is a string of bits (the data) accompanied by a description of how to interpret a string of bits as numbers representing temperature observations measured in degrees Celsius (the representation information).

Source: International Organisation for Standardisation, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems, Open Archival Information System, Reference model ISO 14721, 2003.

Information architecture

The interrelationships of systems in place in an organisation. It is used to assist in creating systems that are interoperable rather than duplicating.

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, objectives and directives, and high-level implementation strategies.

Information management plan

A long-term management plan for the information created by an organisation. Information management plans can be created at a macro (organisation) level or at a micro (information systems) level. They are strongly linked to preservation plans.

Information package

An information packaging concept that distinguishes content information from associated preservation description information (PDI) where it applies to the content information and is needed to aid in the preservation of the content information. It has associated packaging information used to delimit and identify the content information and PDI.

Source: International Organisation for Standardisation, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems, Open Archival Information System, Reference model ISO 14721, 2003.

Information system
Ingest

To accept one or many submission information packages (SIPs) into an Open Archival Information System (OAIS). The ingestion process prepares archival information packages (AIPs) for storage and ensures that they and their supporting descriptive information become established within the OAIS.

See also: Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Source: International Organisation for Standardisation, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems, Open Archival Information System, Reference model ISO 14721, 2003.

Inherit

To take on a metadata attribute from a parent entity.

See also: Retrospective inheritance

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 4.

Inherited record

A record that has been passed from one agency to another when responsibility for the relevant function is transferred or one agency is absorbed by another, including when state agencies are absorbed by Australian Government agencies.

Instance

An occurrence of a digital record in a particular format or at a particular point in time. For example, one instance of a record may be in its native format while another instance is a rendition. Instances may be created as a product of migration or conversion processes.

Integration

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

Adapted from: New South Wales Department of Public Works and Services, Request for Tender No. ITS2323 for the Supply of Records and Information Management Systems, Part B – Specifications, March 2001, p. 13.

Intellectual control

The control established through the arrangement and description process over the informational content of records and archives, and the administrative and recordkeeping contexts in which they were created and used.

Source: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 472.

Interface

A mechanism whereby data can be exchanged between applications.

Adapted from: New South Wales Department of Public Works and Services, Request for Tender No. ITS2323 for the Supply of Records and Information Management Systems, Part B – Specifications, March 2001, p. 13.

Interoperability

The ability to transfer and use information in a uniform and efficient manner across multiple organisations and information technology systems. It underpins the level of benefits accruing to enterprises, government and the wider economy through e-commerce.

Source: M. Stuart Lynn and Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access, Preservation and Access Technology: The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes - A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms, 1990, published online at www.palimpsest.stanford.edu/byauth/lynn/glossary/

Inviolate
Item

A discrete unit in a recordkeeping system or, in the archival context, within a series, such as a document or file, that is treated as a unit for control and retrieval.

K

Key management plan (KMP)

A strategy to ensure continuing access to public and private key pairs. It describes how cryptographic services are securely deployed within an organisation and documents critical controls to protect keys and associated material during their life, along with other controls to provide confidentiality, integrity and availability of keys.

See also: Cryptographic keyPublic Key Infrastructure (PKI)

Key pair

A pair of asymmetric cryptographic keys (ie. one decrypts messages which have been encrypted using the other) consisting of a public key and a private key.

Keyword (1)

The highest-level term in Keyword AAA: A Thesaurus of General Terms.

See also: Function

Keyword (2)

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

Keyword AAA: A Thesaurus of General Terms

A thesaurus of general terminology designed for use in the Australian public sector for classifying, titling and indexing administrative records in most technological environments. It covers administrative terminology common to most organisations and should be used in conjunction with a functions thesaurus relating to the organisation’s specific functions to provide comprehensive controlled vocabulary coverage. It was developed by State Records New South Wales.

L

Legacy record

A record that is not covered by a records authority or a general records authority. These records can be in Archives or agency custody and can be of any age or any format.

Lending

See: Retrieval

Life-cycle records management

A model for the management of records modelling the life of a record on that of living organisms. Although models vary in complexity, they usually state the life cycle to be the creation, use and disposal. While this model is still in use in North America, in Australia it has been superseded by the continuum model, which is felt to be more user-friendly when considering digital records.

See also: Continuum

Lossless and lossy (image compression)

Image compression may be described as lossless and lossy. Lossless compression ensures that the uncompressed version is identical to the original - no information has been lost. Lossy compression results in some difference between the original and an uncompressed version. In general, lossy compression may produce a smaller file size. The GIF file format incorporates a compression algorithm that is lossless for images that contain fewer than 256 colors; images with more colors are reproduced with a limited palette. The JPEG format can, in theory, be configured to have varying degrees of loss, including a lossless option.

See also: Compression

M

Macro-appraisal

A whole-of-government approach to identifying society's needs for public records. Rather than analysing functions at an individual agency level, macro-appraisal identifies and analyses functions at a whole-of-government level. These functions are assessed to determine their relative significance to government and the people of Australia, independently of the agencies that perform them at a given point in time.

See also: Whole-of-Government Functional Analysis

Magnetic tape

A plastic, paper or metal tape that is coated or impregnated with magnetisable iron oxide particles on which information is stored as a pattern of polarised spots. These are read using magnetic tape drives.

Source: M. Stuart Lynn and Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access, Preservation and Access Technology: The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes: A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms, 1990, published online at www.palimpsest.stanford.edu/byauth/lynn/glossary/.

Magneto-optical disk

A disk that combines the use of magnetic and optical technologies. To record data, elements of the crystal structure of the substrate are aligned by using a laser to heat the element in the presence of an applied magnetic field. When the magnetic field is aligned one way, a '1' is recorded; when the magnetic field is reversed, a '0' is recorded. The data is read by reflecting a lower-intensity laser beam off the surface; the polarisation of the reflected light varies according to the crystal alignment of the element of the substrate.

Source: M. Stuart Lynn and Technology Assessment Advisory Committee to the Commission on Preservation and Access, Preservation and Access Technology: The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes: A Structured Glossary of Technical Terms, 1990, published online at www.palimpsest.stanford.edu/byauth/lynn/glossary/.

Maintain

To retain records in identifiable recordkeeping systems over time in accordance with disposal decisions. Records that are required to be maintained should remain accessible, their integrity should be protected and, where necessary, they should meet the conditions or requirements identified in order to satisfy business needs, organisational accountability and community expectations. This may include the migration of records across successive systems and other preservation strategies.

Marker

The metadata profile of a record physically held outside an electronic records management system. A marker may denote a physical record (such as a large bound volume or building plan) or an electronic record stored on a removable medium (such as a CD-ROM or a video cassette). A paper file will usually be represented and managed in the electronic records management system as a physical folder. It is not envisaged that a physical folder would contain markers for each document or record placed on the paper file.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 4.

Meaningful
Merged thesaurus

A single alphabetical list of both general administrative and organisation-specific terms that is used to classify records.

See also: Functions thesaurusThesaurus

Metadata

Structured information that describes and/or allows users to find, manage, control, understand or preserve other information over time. Metadata is attached to records when they are created and added to as a result of different processes such as sentencing and disposal.

See also: Recordkeeping metadata

Source: A. Cunningham, ‘Six degrees of separation: Australian metadata initiatives and their relationships with international standards’, Archival Science, vol. 1, no. 3, 2001.

Migration

The act of moving records from one system to another while maintaining their authenticity, integrity, reliability and usability. Migration involves a set of organised tasks designed to periodically transfer digital material from one hardware or software configuration to another, or from one generation of technology to another.

See also: Conversion

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, 2001 Part 1, Clause 3.13 and Part 2, Clause 4.3.9.2.

N

Naming principle

The rule for labelling digital records and other record plan entities. It may include titling conventions, the use of a controlled vocabulary or indexing scheme, and the allocation of textual or alphanumeric references.

Native format

The format in which the record was created or in which the originating application stores records.

See also: Conservation

Adapted from: New South Wales Department of Public Works and Services, Request for Tender No. ITS2323 for the Supply of Records and Information Management Systems, Part B – Specifications, March 2001, p. 13.

Natural language

Living language that is flexible, variable and fluid. Natural language is the language of thought and conversation. It is the language used in free text titling.

See also: Controlled vocabulary

Non-current record
Non-preferred term

A term in a thesaurus or other classification tool that cannot be applied to a record.

See also: Unauthorised term

Non-repudiation

Prevents an individual or entity from denying having performed a particular action related to electronic data (such as origin, intent or ownership).

Normal administrative practice (NAP)

Is a provision under s.24 of the Archives Act that provides for the destruction of Commonwealth records whose destruction is not otherwise covered by a specific law or an authorized records authority. Normal administrative practice is specific to individual agencies. What is normal administrative practice for one agency may not be normal administrative practice for another depending on the specific context of an agency’s business. A NAP can be used as part of routine administration to destroy records that do not document agency business decisions and where the risk to the agency associated with their destruction is considered to be low. Facilitative, transitory or short-term records, rough drafts and working papers, reference copies and external publications are all examples of the types of records that can be considered for destruction using a NAP. Decisions to authorize the destruction of records using a NAP should be documented in agency policy and procedures.

Normalisation

The process of changing records from one data format to an archival data format.

O

Off-site storage

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

Online authentication

A system, technology or process that ensures the integrity, security and authenticity of electronic transactions conducted via an unsecured, public network.

Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

An archive, consisting of an organisation of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available. An OAIS has a defined set of requirements that distinguish it from other uses of the term ‘archive’. The term ‘open’ in OAIS is used to imply that the standards that govern the archive are developed in open forums, not that access to the archive is unrestricted.

Source: International Organisation for Standardisation, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems, Open Archival Information System, Reference model ISO 14721, 2003.

Open period

Once a set closed period has elapsed since a record came into existence, it comes into the open period. This closed period was previously 30 years but is being progressively reduced to 20 years, effective from 2021. The public has a general right of access to Commonwealth records in the open period subject to certain exemptions.

Adapted from: Archives Act 1983, Division 3, section 31.

Open standards

The recognised national or international platform-independent standards. They are developed collaboratively through due process, are vendor-neutral and do not rely on commercial intellectual property.

Source: Australian Government Information Management Office, Australian Government Technical Interoperability Framework, 2005, published online at www.agimo.gov.au/publications/2005/04/agtifv2/glossary, 2005.

Operating system

The essential program that enables all other programs to be run on a computer and which establishes an interface between a user and the hardware of the computer.

Source: Macquarie Dictionary online, 2006, published online at www.macquariedictionary.com.au.

Organisation

See: Agency

Original order

The order in which records and archives were kept when in active use (ie. the order of accumulation as they were created, maintained and used). This principle requires that the original order be preserved or reconstructed unless, after examination, the original order is identified as a totally haphazard accumulation making records irretrievable (but not an odd, unorderly or difficult arrangement).

See also: Provenance

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 475

Ownership

P

Participant

Any party involved in a particular business process for the purposes of a workflow. A participant may be a system user, business work group or software application.

Permanent records
Personal records

The records of a person who is, or has been, associated with the Commonwealth (eg prime ministers, ministers or judges). These records are not maintained in the recordkeeping systems of an Australian Government agency or organisation. The personal records held by the National Archives may include official Commonwealth records as well as private records.

Photographic Activity Test (PAT)

An International Standard (ISO 14523) for archival quality in photographic enclosures. The test is used to predict possibly harmful interactions between photographic images and the enclosures in which they are stored. The PAT is also used to test the components of enclosures, such as adhesives, inks, paints, labels and tapes.

Physical control

The responsibility for the custody of records based on their physical possession but not necessarily implying legal title. This control entails establishing information concerning the physical characteristics of records, such as their format, quantity and location.

See also: Intellectual control

Physical folder

An entry in the record plan for a hardcopy folder, usually paper. The folder itself is stored outside an electronic records management system, but metadata about its location and management may be maintained in the system. A physical folder may stand on its own within the records classification scheme, or it may form part of a hybrid folder of closely-related digital and physical objects.

See also: File (1)

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 5.

Physical record

A record in hardcopy form, such as a folio, paper file, bound volume or photograph.

See also: Digital recordRecord

Preferred term

A term in a thesaurus or other classification tool that can be applied to a record.

See also: Authorised term

Preservation

The processes and operations involved in ensuring the technical and intellectual survival of authentic records through time. Preservation encompasses environmental control, security, creation, storage, handling, and disaster planning for records in all formats, including digital records.

Source: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, 2001 Part 1, Clause 3.14.

Preservation Description Information (PDI)

The information that is necessary for adequate preservation of the content information and which can be categorised as provenance, reference, fixity and context information.

Source: International Organisation for Standardisation, Space Data and Information Transfer Systems, Open Archival Information System, Reference model ISO 14721, 2003.

Private authentication key

The key used by a key holder to digitally sign messages on behalf of an organisation.

Private confidentiality key

The key used by an addressee to decrypt messages that have been encrypted using the corresponding public confidentiality key.

Procurement documentation

Documentation provided to vendors to enable them to understand and assess the requirements of the procuring agency and to prepare appropriate submissions. It includes documentation for expressions of interest, open and select tender processes and direct sourcing.

See also: Design specificationRequest for tender

Property

For the purposes of the Archives Act 1983, property is derived from delivery (ie. physical delivery) coupled with an intention on the part of the parties that property in the item should pass with delivery of it to the Commonwealth. Intentions as to ownership will often be implied rather than expressed. In such cases, the intention needs to be objectively inferred. The question of ownership of any particular record must be determined with regard to all relevant facts and circumstances relating to that record at the time the question of ownership arises.

See also: Commonwealth record

Provenance

The office of origin of records, (ie. the agency, office or person that created, received or accumulated and used the records in the conduct of business). In archival theory, the principle of provenance requires that the archives of an agency or person not be mixed with the archives of another.

See also: Original order

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 476.

Public Key Authentication Framework (PKAF)

An Australian Standard (AS/NZS 4539) that provides a structure for the generation, distribution and management of public key certificates.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

The combination of hardware, software, people, policies and procedures needed to create, manage, store and distribute keys and certificates based on public key cryptography.

See also: Cryptographic keyDigital certificateGovernment Public Key Infrastructure (GPKI)

Q

Quarantine

The first phase in the National Archives’ digital preservation process that checks the transfer for content accuracy, data integrity and viruses. An operational term for the first stage in a digital preservation process where checking for content accuracy and virus occurs.

R

Record

A record is all information created, sent and received in the course of carrying out the business of your agency. Records have many formats, including paper and electronic. Records provide proof of what happened, when it happened and who made decisions. Not all records are of equal importance or need to be kept.

Adapted from: Archives Act 1983, Part I, Section 3; Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.15.

Record category

A subdivision of the record classification scheme, which may be further subdivided into one or more lower-level record categories. A record category is constituted of metadata that may be inherited from the parent (record category) and passed on to a child (folder). The full set of record categories, at all levels, together constitute the record classification scheme. A record category does not itself contain records; it is an attribute against which a folder is classified.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 1.

Record classification scheme (RCS)

A hierarchical classification tool that, when applied to a business information system, can facilitate the capture, titling, retrieval, maintenance and disposal of records and other information. An organisation’s record classification scheme is usually derived from its business classification scheme.

See also: File planRecord plan

Record plan

The record classification scheme plus all the folders. It is also called a 'file plan'.

See also: File planRecord classification scheme (RCS)

Record type

The definition of a record object that specifies particular management requirements, metadata attributes and forms of behaviour. A default record type is the norm. Specific record types are deviations from the norm, which allow an organisation to meet regulatory requirements (such as privacy or data matching) for particular groups of records.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 5.

Recordkeeping

The making and maintaining of complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in the form of recorded information. Recordkeeping includes the creation of records in the course of business activity, the means to ensure the creation of adequate records, the design, establishment and operation of recordkeeping systems and 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).

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.19; and Part 3, Foreword.

Recordkeeping metadata

Structured or semi-structured information that enables the creation, management and use of records through time and across domains. Recordkeeping metadata can be used to identify, authenticate and contextualise records and the people, processes and systems that create, manage, maintain and use them.

See also: Metadata

Adapted from: D. Wallace, ‘Archiving metadata forum: Report from the recordkeeping metadata working meeting, June 2000’, Archival Science, vol. 1, no. 3, 2001.

Recordkeeping requirements

The identified needs for evidence or information arising from various documentary and oral sources that may be satisfied through appropriate recordkeeping action (such as creation, capture, maintenance, preservation and access). The sources include legislative and other regulatory sources, industry codes of best practice, broader identifiable government interests, external clients or stakeholders, and the general public.

Recordkeeping system

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:

  • both records practitioners and records users
  • a set of authorised policies, assigned responsibilities, delegations of authority, procedures and practices
  • policy statements, procedures manuals, user guidelines and other documents that are used to authorise and promulgate 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 authority

A records authority is an instrument issued by the National Archives of Australia to give its approval to Australian Government agencies or other organisations or persons to dispose of Commonwealth records. Records authorities may also state which classes of records are to be retained as part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth. Records authorities that permit destruction generally specify the minimum length of time that Commonwealth records must be retained. Some authorities may include other conditions. Records authorities are issued under the Archives Act and Regulations for the purposes of sections 24, 26 and 3C. Section 6 of the Archives Act empowers the Archives to authorise the disposal or destruction of Commonwealth records. Records authorities (RAs) usually apply to the records of a single agency. General records authorities (GRAs), such as the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA), normally apply to all Commonwealth institutions. Records authorities were previously referred to as records disposal authorities (RDAs), while general records authorities were previously referred to as general disposal authorities (GDAs).

Records classification tool

A device or method used to assist in classifying, titling, accessing, controlling and retrieving records. Types of record classification tools include record classification schemes, thesauruses, indexing schemes and controlled vocabularies.

Records continuum

See: Continuum

Records disposal authority (RDA)
Records management

The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposal of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.16.

Records management system
Records manager (1)

An officer responsible for the creation, storage, retrieval and disposal of all recorded information about an organisation's activities.

Records manager (2)

A user role with designated responsibility for undertaking, monitoring and managing records processes. The role may exist at various degrees of seniority with a variety of permissions to undertake records processes and some system administration functions.

Source: Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training, Job Guide 2005 and adapted from: NSW Department of Public Works and Services, Request for Tender No. ITS 2323 for the Supply of Records and Information Management Systems, Part B – Specification, March 2001, p. 14.

Registration

The act of giving a record or file a unique identity in a recordkeeping system to provide evidence that it was created or captured. Registration involves recording brief descriptive information about the context of the record and its relation to other records. In the archival context, both aggregations (such as series) and individual record items can be registered.

Source: R. Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, 2005, published online at www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp.

Registration authority (RA)

An entity that performs services in relation to the registration and verification of the identity of applicants for public key certificates, as described in the registration authority accreditation criteria.

Relying party

A recipient of a certificate who acts in reliance on that certificate and/or digital signatures verified using that certificate.

Render

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

Rendition

The instance of a digital record made available in another format or on a different medium by a process entirely within an electronic records management system control, without loss of content. A rendition should display the same metadata as the native format record and be managed in a tight-knit relationship with it. Renditions may be required for preservation, access or viewing purposes.

See also: Conversion

Repository

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.

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 472.

Request for tender

A published notice inviting businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit a tender in accordance with the requirements of the request for tender and other procurement documentation.

Source: Department of Finance and Administration, Guidance on the Mandatory Procurement Procedures, January 2005, p. 67.

Retain as national archives (RNA)

The disposal action for Commonwealth records appraised as having archival value. This means that the records should be transferred to the National Archives as soon as they are no longer required for business use.

Retention period

The length of time after the disposal trigger that a record must be maintained and accessible. At the expiration of the retention period, a record may be subject to disposal.

See also: Disposal actionDisposal trigger

Retrieval

The processor service of making records in the National Archives’ custody available to the agencies that control them. It also includes returning records to the Archives' custody. Each office of the Archives has a lending service to assist agencies retrieve and return records.

Retrospective inheritance

The process whereby a subordinate (or child) entity automatically takes on a metadata attribute from its superior (or parent) entity when the metadata of the parent entity is changed or the child entity is moved from one parent entity to another.

See also: Inherit

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 4.

Review (1)

A disposal process where a folder or group of records is examined to consider the allocation of a disposal class or whether any disposal action can take place.

Review (2)

An assessment process undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness, appropriateness, relevance and efficiency of an identified system or systems.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 6.

Roll-out

The process of implementing a system or software application within an organisation. Implementation may occur across the entire organisation or be limited to specific business units.

S

Sampling

A form of appraisal or disposal used especially in connection with large series or other groups of records. The purpose of sampling is to secure a sufficient sample to enable inferences about the records creator, its operational setting and the form, functions and content of its records.

Adapted from: M. Leppänen, The Use of Sampling in the Appraisal and Disposal of Records, National Archives of Finland, published online at http://www.narc.fi/parnu/3.pdf.

Schema

The organisation or structure for a database. The activity of data modelling leads to a schema. The term is used in discussing both relational databases and object-oriented databases. It sometimes seems to refer to a visualisation of a structure and sometimes to a formal text-oriented description.

Scope note

The definition of a particular term, or combination of terms, in a business classification scheme or a classification tool (such as a functions thesaurus or record classification scheme). 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 an organisation.

Security category

The hierarchical designation in a recordkeeping system (such as ‘top secret’ or ‘protected’) allocated to a user, user role, digital record or other record plan entity to indicate the level of access allowed in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Framework (PSPF) issued by the Attorney-General’s Department. The security category reflects the level of protection that must be applied during use, storage, transmission, transfer and disposal of the record.

See also: Security controls

Adapted from: Cornwell Management Consultants (for the European Commission Interchange of Documentation between Administrations Programme), Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq Specification), March 2001, p. 107.

Security classification system

A set of procedures for identifying and protecting official information whose disclosure could have adverse consequences for the Commonwealth. The security classification system is implemented by assigning markings (such as 'top secret' or 'protected') that show the value of the information and indicate the minimum level of protection it must be afforded.

See also: Classification (2)

Adapted from: Attorney-General’s Department, Commonwealth Protective Security Manual, Glossary.

Security controls

A scheme of protective markings that may be allocated to users, digital records and record plan entities to restrict access in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Framework (PSPF). It may include a hierarchical security category, possibly in conjunction with a non-hierarchical qualifier.

See also: Access controlsDescriptor

Semi-active record

A record required so infrequently in the conduct of current business that it can be transferred from offices to separate storage areas.

Adapted from: J. Ellis (ed.), Keeping Archives, 2nd edition, Australian Society of Archivists, Thorpe, Melbourne, 1993, p. 472.

Semi-structured data

Data not managed in a structured database. The term refers to narrative and contextual data such as word-processed documents, emails, presentations and web pages. To be managed as a record, this data needs to be captured into a system with recordkeeping functionality.

See also: Structured data

Sentencing

The process of identifying the disposal class a record belongs to and applying the disposal action specified in the relevant records authority. Sentencing is the implementation of decisions made during appraisal.

Sentencing on creation

The process of allocating a disposal action to a file as soon as it has been created. The file title is constructed using terms from a business classification scheme. Sentencing on creation works best when new folios can be strictly controlled to ensure that items with the wrong attributes and/or a different disposal action are not added. Sentencing on creation is more likely to occur with records in a digital recordkeeping system. Review dates may be added as a quality control measure.

Series

A group of records created and maintained by an agency or person that are in the same numerical, alphabetical, chronological or other identifiable sequence, or result from the same accumulation or filing process and have a similar function, format or informational content. A series transferred to the custody of the National Archives is given a unique letter and number, eg. A21633 or J921.

Series system

A method of describing records and their contexts of creation and management over time. It involves the separation of records from their contextual descriptions. In practice this means that records, the people or organisations that create and manage them and/or the business they describe are each individually registered as separate descriptive entities. They are then linked to enable a full and informative representation of records, their context and their administration through time.

Adapted from: Australian Society of Archivists Committee on Descriptive Standards, Describing archives in context: A guide to Australian practice, consultation draft, August 2003, published online at www.archivists.org.au/cds/Series%20system%20codification%20-%20August%202003.pdf.

Server

A computer system that provides services such as electronic mail routing, database sharing and file transfer to local or remote users; software that enables a computer to offer a service to another computer. Other computers contact the server program by means of matching client software. It is also the computer on which the server software runs.

Software

Computer instructions or data. Anything that can be stored electronically is software. The storage devices and display devices are hardware. Software is often divided into two categories: systems software - including the operating system and all the utilities that enable the computer to function; and applications software - including programs that do real work for users.

Software obsolescence

The phenomenon of software being rendered obsolete because newer versions are not 'backwardly compatible' (able to read older versions of that software) the software is no longer used and has been superseded by other software or it cannot function with newer equipment or software.

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.

Static website

A collection of static documents sitting in folders on a server and tied together with hyperlinks. The only interactivity is in the links that enable movement from one document to another, or from one part of the site to another.

Storage

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.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 2, Clause 4.3.7.

Storage facility

Any building, equipment or system that houses records, including commercial storage facilities, in-house storage facilities and archival storage facilities.

Source: State Records NSW, Standard on the Physical Storage of State Records, Definitions.

Structure

The appearance and arrangement of a record’s content, eg. the relationships between fields, entities, language, style, fonts, page and paragraph breaks, links and other editorial devices.

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 thesaurus

A controlled vocabulary that relates to a common theme for the purposes of describing the content of a resource.

See also: Thesaurus

Submission Information Package (SIP)

An information package that is delivered by the producer to the open archival information system for use in the construction of one or more archival information packages.

See also: Archival Information Package (AIP)Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Source: International Standards Organisation, Space data and information transfer systems, Open archival information system, Reference model, ISO 14721, 2003.

Subscriber

Either the person, or the business entity and the person who acts on behalf of that business entity, that is in possession of or has control of the private authentication key and who uses that key to digitally sign/receive messages.

System (1)

A set of interrelated components that work together to achieve some common purpose.

System (2)

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

See also: Business information system (BIS)Electronic document management system (EDMS)Electronic records management system (ERMS)

System access control

Any mechanism used to prevent access to the system by unauthorised users. It may include the definition of user profiles or the use of ID and password login.

See also: Access controlsSecurity controls

System administrator

A user role with designated responsibility for configuring, monitoring and managing a system and its use. This role may exist at different levels of seniority and be associated with a variety of permissions to undertake system administration functions and some records management processes.

See also: System (2)

System rules

The policies internal to system software that may be established and/or configured by a system administrator in order to govern the functionality of a given system and determine the nature of operational processes applied by that system.

T

Table

A set of one or more related database fields, each comprised of related data elements. One or more tables may combine to form a database.

See also: Data elementDatabaseField

Taxonomy

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

See also: Classification (2)

Temporary record

A record that has value for a finite period of time only to the Australian community, the individuals and organisations that do business with the Commonwealth and Australian Government agencies themselves. Temporary records are needed by agencies to meet specific accountability requirements. Previously referred to as 'short-term temporary records' (retained for less than 30 years) and 'long-term temporary records' (retained for more than 30 years).

See also: Retain as national archives (RNA)

Thesaurus

A classification tool comprising an alphabetical presentation of a controlled list of terms linked together by semantic, hierarchical, associative or equivalence relationships. In a thesaurus, the meaning of a term is specified and relationships to other terms are shown. A thesaurus should provide sufficient entry points to allow users to navigate from non-preferred terms to preferred terms adopted by the organisation.

See also: Functions thesaurus

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 4, Clause 7.3.2.2; and Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 2, Clause 4.2.3.2.

Thesaurus application

A software application that can be used to create or manage a thesaurus.

Top numbering

The practice of amending numbers (or other identifiers) of records when their control is transferred from one recordkeeping system to another to bring them into line with the new control system.

Topic

A term used at the third level of classification. Sometimes a fourth level of classification - sub-topic - is also included. Topic terms may relate to groups of transactions, subject concepts, record types or abbreviations used in the organisation.

Tracking

Creating, capturing and maintaining information about the movement and uses of records.

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS-ISO 15489, Part 1, Clause 3.19.

Transaction (1)

The smallest unit of a business activity.

Transaction (2)

The third level in a business classification scheme.

See also: Business classification scheme (BCS)ActivityFunction

Adapted from: Standards Australia, AS 4390, Part 1, Clause 4.27; and AS-ISO 15489, Part 2, Clause 4.2.2.2.

Transaction (3)

The process of a request being made on a website and a service being received and/or acknowledgement of the request.

Transfer

A disposal process consisting of the confirmed export of digital records and folders and their subsequent destruction within the exporting electronic records management system. Records may be transferred from one Australian Government agency to:

  • another Australian Government agency following administrative change
  • archival custody
  • a service provider
  • the private sector
  • to another government jurisdiction.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 6.

Transfer (of custody)

The transfer of custody of a Commonwealth record is subject to section 24 of the Archives Act 1983. It involves transferring the duty of care for the ongoing physical management of records from one custodian to another. This duty of care may include responsibility for the record's:

  • the record's physical storage and protection
  • making its existence known
  • making it accessible
  • preserving its authenticity
  • protecting it from unauthorised access, theft or disposal
  • accounting for its management.
Transfer also involves the imposition of intellectual control in preparation for transfer of custody. It does not include transfer of legal ownership or intellectual property rights over the record.

See also: Transfer (of ownership)

Transfer (of ownership)

The transfer of ownership of a Commonwealth record is subject to section 24 of the Archives Act 1983. It involves one party relinquishing physical, legal and, in certain instances, intellectual property rights over the record to another party.

See also: Transfer (of custody)

Transfer device

The medium used to transfer electronic records from an agency to the National Archives, eg. CD or disk.

Transfer job

A group of records that belong to the same series, have the same disposal class, have the same security classification and are of the same format. For transfers to the National Archives prior to 2002, the term 'consignment number' was used. Since 2002 the format has been in the style '2005/722'. The format is not limited to series number and includes the year of transfer.

See also: Consignment

Transformation

A digital migration in which there is an alteration to the content information (CI) of an archival information package (AIP), eg. changing ASCII codes to UNICODE in a text document being preserved.

See also: Archival Information Package (AIP)Migration

Source: International Standards Organisation, Space data and information transfer systems, Open archival information system, Reference model, ISO 14721, 2003.

U

Unauthorised destruction

In the case of Commonwealth records, destruction that is not carried out in accordance with:

  • a current records authority
  • a valid normal administrative practice (NAP)
  • a legal requirement to destroy.

In addition, destruction may be unauthorised if it is done without the consent of the Commonwealth institution to which the record belongs (in practice, the head of the institution or their delegates). Unauthorised destruction may place staff in breach of the Archives Act 1983, the Crimes Act 1914 and the Public Service Act 1999.

Similar factors apply to unauthorised disposal, transfer of custody or ownership, damage, alteration or addition of or to records.

Unauthorised term
Uncontrolled record

Records that have not been documented or brought under a system of control or arrangement.

Unencrypted record

A record that is intended for encryption but has not yet been subject to an encryption process, or was once encrypted but has now been returned to its original state.

See also: Encryption

Uniform resource indicator (URI)

An addressing technology for identifying resources on the Internet or private intranets. URIs are usually of two types: URLs, which locate resources, and URNs, which are persistent names that are address independent.

See also: Uniform resource locator (URL)

Source: URIs, URLs and URNs: Clarifications and recommendations 1.0, W3C Note 21 September 2001, published online at www.w3.org/TR/uri-clarification/ and A. Brown, Archiving Websites: Practical Guide for Information Management Professionals, Facet Publishing, London, 2006, p.44.

Uniform resource locator (URL)

A type of URI that identifies a resource via a representation of its primary access mechanism (ie. its network ‘location’). URLs may be absolute (a fully qualified domain and path name) or relative (only including the path name relative to the source object). Relative URLs remain functional even if the source object is moved, thus avoiding broken links.

See also: Uniform resource indicator (URI)

Source: URIs, URLs and URNs: Clarifications and recommendations 1.0, W3C Note 21 September 2001, published online at www.w3.org/TR/uri-clarification/ and A. Brown, Archiving Websites: A Practical Guide for Information Management Professionals, Facet Publishing, London, 2006, p.44.

Unsentenced record

A record for which a value has not been determined and which consequently, has not been sentenced using a current records authority.

User access group

A discrete set of named individuals (users known to the system) that make up a stable and nameable group. Access to particular records or other file plan entities may be restricted to members of certain user access groups.

See also: Access controls

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 28.

User profile

A summary of all attributes allocated to a user of the electronic records managment 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 managment system functional permissions that may be granted to a predefined subset of system users.

Adapted from: The National Archives (UK), Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, 3: Reference Document, 2002, p. 6.

V

Vendor

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 while retaining the history of the changes. Version control functionality allows for older versions of the record to be recalled if necessary.

Vinegar syndrome

A characteristic of the decomposition of acetate-based magnetic tape where acetic acid is a substantial by-product that gives the tape a vinegar-like odour. After the onset of the vinegar syndrome, acetate tape backings degrade at an accelerated rate. The hydrolysis of the acetate is further catalysed by the presence of the acetic acid by-product.

Source: Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling: A Guide for Libraries and Archives, 1995, published online at www.imation.com/government/nml/pdfs/AP_NMLdoc_magtape_S_H.pdf

Vital records

The records without which an organisation could not continue to operate, ie. those containing information needed to re-establish the organisation in the event of a disaster. Vital records are those that protect the assets and interests of the organisation as well as those of its clients and shareholders.

Source: J. Kennedy and C. Schauder, Records Management: A Guide to Corporate Recordkeeping, 2nd edition, Longman, Melbourne, 1998, p.302.

Virtual private network (VPN)

A private data network that makes use of the public telecommunication infrastructure (ie. the Internet). Privacy is maintained by employing secure protocols and security procedures such as data encryption to restrict access to a specific target audience.

W

Web Record

Any type of web-based information that meets the criteria of a record, including public websites, virtual private networks, extranets and intranets.

Web snapshot

A full and accurate record of an agency’s public web resources captured at a particular point in time.

Website

A collection of electronic files, usually under common administrative control, linked together and made accessible via the Internet.

Whole-of-Government Functional Analysis

Over the period 2003 to 2005, the National Archives undertook a project to identify which agencies perform which functions with the aim of locating where high-value records are most likely to be found. This project was called a Whole-of-Government Functional Analysis.

Workflow

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.

Source: Workflow Management Coalition, The Workflow Management Coalition Specifications: Workflow Management Coalition Terminology and Glossary, WFMC–TC–1011, February 1999, p. 8.

X

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

A simple, flexible computer language developed by the World Wide Web Consortium as an open, non-proprietary technology that creates common information formats so that both the format and the data can be shared among organisations, regardless of their respective Internet computing platforms.

Adapted from: Australian Government Information Management Office, B2B E-Commerce: Capturing Value Online, 2001, p. 90.

XML wrapping

A part of the National Archives' digital preservation process in which digital objects are converted to Base 64 and wrapped in XML.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2013