The Keep the Knowledge - Make a Record eLearning module provides an introduction to what all staff need to know about managing their records. It has been developed by the National Archives of Australia. The principles apply equally to staff working at Flinders University. The eLearning module answers questions such as:
What is a record?
All information created, sent or received in the course of carrying out your work is a record. Records exist in many paper and electronic formats, for example e-mails, databases, PDF documents, paper letters, printed Policies, and so on.
The formal definition is that a record is “information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.
The reverse question clarifies the definition: Could I still do my job and carry on my business, and could the University still comply with its legal obligations, if I could not (re)produce this piece of information when required?
Why keep records?
There are two concepts associated with the necessity of recordkeeping: risk and value.
On the one hand, we look at the risks that the University runs when certain records are destroyed, lost, or inaccessible. If the University cannot produce its financial records when the ATO comes to audit, it will be fined. If construction companies work on Flinders premises and cannot be provided with the proper plans and maps, construction work will be delayed, resulting in extra costs to the University. In many cases, these risks stem from the requirement to comply with legal obligations.
On the other hand, we look at the added value that records hold for the University. Mostly, this comes in the form of ‘corporate memory’. When we know what decision was taken on a specific issue in the past, and why, we can expedite decision-making. When we know accurately what assets the University owns, we can manage and make use of them more efficiently. When we know the study issues a student has had in the past, we can support her more effectively. In many cases, knowing how and where your records are managed helps to improve your business processes and transactions.
Where to keep records?
University records are kept in a number of different record keeping systems. The University's electronic record keeping system, HP Records Manager (HPRM, formerly TRIM) is the optimal choice for managing any of the University’s records that are not managed in a business system like TechOne, StudentTwo, FLO, InPlace and others. A well-managed hard copy filing system is appropriate if you do not have access to HPRM. Many of the University’s records are kept on shared drives (the ‘V:Drives’). Although this is not considered the optimal way to keep records due to accessibility and disposal risks, in many cases it can be a sufficient method of keeping ‘low-risk’ records. Any record that carries a business risk with it because of its contents, or is classified ‘Restricted’ or ‘Highly Confidential’, or contains business decisions, needs to be stored in a compliant recordkeeping system (HPRM, a certified business system, or hard copy file).
In order to aid staff members and business units in organising the University’s V:Drives, the Records & Archives unit has made available the University’s Business Classification Scheme (BCS) . This scheme gives an overview of all the University’s business processes that lead to the creation of business records, and is based on the retention periods for each type of record. The BCS is used in the University’s central recordkeeping system, HPRM, for the same purpose, and by using the BCS to organise the V:Drives, staff can ensure that their records are organised in a uniform manner.
The following additional guidelines are issued pursuant to the Records Management Policy.
Quick guide on e-mail handling – Flinders University staff members
- If you receive or send an e-mail, determine if the e-mail is directly related to your work. If not, don’t worry, you do not need to keep it (you are allowed to keep it, but it will clutter up your Inbox).
- Determine in what way the e-mail is related to your work. Does the e-mail require you or your colleagues to undertake any work or action, or is it merely some information that is either not important or quickly superseded (like setting a date in a calendar). If the latter, you may not need to keep it.
- Determine who needs to make sure the e-mail is being filed and stored:
- If you are the first named recipient of an email originating from outside the University it is your responsibility to ensure that it is kept as a business record.
- If you are the sender of an email relating to University business to an outside party, it is your responsibility to ensure that the document is kept as a business record.
- If you are the first named recipient of an internal email that has ongoing value it is your responsibility to ensure that it is kept as a business record.
- Know where the e-mail needs to be stored and managed. Any e-mail that carries a business risk with it because of its contents, or is classified ‘Restricted’ or ‘Highly Confidential’, or contains business decisions that are being made in the e-mail exchange, needs to be stored in a compliant recordkeeping system (HP Records Manager/HPRM, or hard copy file). The next best storage area, suitable for some low-risk business e-mails as it is backed up, is on the shared drive of the University network. Keeping an important e-mail only in your own Inbox is not good records management practice, as the e-mail may be deleted prematurely, and is not accessible to others who might also need the information for their work.
- If you have any questions, or need advice on where to store e-mails, contact the Central Records Office by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or calling 12021 for advice on how to proceed.
1. Aim and Scope
Although the largest part of the University’s records are currently digital, there are still records that arrive at the University in paper format, or that are required to be printed and signed, and are subsequently scanned/digitised.
The purpose of this document is:
- to ensure that scanned images are true facsimiles of original source documents that canbe relied upon both for day-to-day use and in a court of law should they be presented inevidence; and
- to provide guidance on how to deal with the scanned paper documents (source documents) after scanning.
These guidelines apply to all documents scanned to the University’s electronic document and records management system, HPRM, and to other business systems, including file share drives.
2. Preparation of Paper Documents for Scanning
When preparing documents for scanning, care should be taken in the removal of staples, clips and other bindings. Preparation may also involve some photocopying prior to scanning. This might be necessary to increase the contrast of a faded document, or when a document is creased or damaged.
3. Technical Requirements
Most of the University’s network enabled scanner/photocopiers will have the technical capabilities needed for accurate scanning. Should there be a requirement to scan documents of non-standard sizes or colour intensity, or for assistance with any matter related to the specifications, please contact the Manager, University Records on 13056.
4. Scanning process
The object of digitisation is to render a true and accurate copy of the original source document. A visual inspection of all scanned images should be undertaken as part of the quality control procedures.
When scanning, note should be taken and a record made if:
- The source document was a photocopy (where applicable)
- A stick-on note was attached (if text is obscured, separately scan the stick-on note)
- ‘Opaque paint’ was used (and where)
- The image was enhanced in any way, eg despecking, border cropping, sharpening.
- Not all pages of a document were scanned (for example large reports).
Following the digitisation process, images should be checked for:
- Image resolution – check that all text and detail on the image is legible, in particular fine or small size text, punctuation, and decimal points
- Image orientation – check that the image is upright, not skewed or incorrectly centred
- Image completeness – check that the image is not cropped or incomplete
- Dimensional accuracy – check that the dimensional information is reproduced within acceptable tolerances
- Colour fidelity – check that original colours are preserved in the image•
Any images which do not meet the required standard must be re-scanned.
5. Disposal of Source Documents
Any disposal of paper records after scanning should be recorded in a business unit procedure approved by the Manager, University Records.
5.1 Outgoing correspondence
If the scanned document is outgoing (i.e. an outgoing letter is printed, signed, scanned, entered in a recordkeeping system and then sent off to the addressee), no paper record needs to be retained, provided verification that the digitised images are authentic, complete and accessible, has been carried out.
5.2 Incoming correspondence
If the scanned document is incoming (i.e. an incoming letter or invoice is scanned and entered in a recordkeeping system), the original paper source record needs to be retained for the period prescribed in the relevant General Disposal Schedule unless a disposal procedure has been approved by the Manager, University Records, and recorded. Such a procedure will include regulations on verification that the digitised images are authentic, complete and accessible, and a minimum retention period to ensure that the image can be rescanned should errors be detected.
Naming conventions for digital documents
- Use simple, meaningful and clear descriptions for your folders and documents
- Only use the following characters: 0-9, A-Z, _
- Do not use the following characters: \ / : * ? " < > | ! % & ‘ - ; = . ( )
- Do not use the name of the containing file/folder in the document name
- Do make use of standardised naming for similar documents
- As a general rule, use the following description style:
- 1. Date in YYYYMMDD (20150228), or full years for financial years (2010_2011),
- 2. Type of document (Minutes, E-mail, Proposal, Agreement etc),
- 3. Subject (Committee Meeting, Grant, Employment Offer, Maintenance, Grade, etc),
- 4. (optional) Object (University Hall, Victoria Square Level 2 etc),
- 5. Author or Person Involved (Individuals should be referenced by first initial (without full stop) and surname),
- 6. Version and Status if relevant (for example, if not in HPRM, DraftV0_5, FinalV1_0, RevisionV1_2; if in HPRM, Draft VO.5, Final V1.0, Revision V1.2)
- Avoid using jargon, acronyms and abbreviations as much as possible, except where there can be no doubt about the meaning (eg NSW, TEQSA, VC etc). When in doubt, write it out.
- Do not use truncated words eg Mtg for meeting.
- Do not use the e-mail Subject or scanner-generated information only as the record title.
Additional naming conventions for digital documents not in HPRM
- If possible, use only 30 characters to name your document (This can be difficult, and should only be attempted for records that have to be kept for long periods of time, as it improves digital longevity)
- Do not use spaces, Do use underscores, or write the words together
Additional naming conventions for digital documents in HPRM
- Punctuation should not be used in titles except for hyphens (with a space before and after).
- Do use the Notes field for any remarks about the record.