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Digital records and archives

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Access to digital records

Center for Technology in Government
Based at the University at Albany, SUNY. Their publication, Opening Gateways: A Practical Guide for Designing Electronic Records Access Programs contains a practical guide for designing digital records access programmes.

Case studies in digital records management

Cornell University Electronic Student Records Systems Project Report


Technical Advisory Service for Images
A JISC funded site with lots of documentation on how to manage a digitisation project. It also has a programme of training. See for using CD-R and DVD-R for Digital Preservation and for an overview of digital image projects.

JISC Digitisation Conference 2007 briefing
This short resume of the conference raises the main issues in implementing successful and persistent digitisation projects.

Digitising history: a guide to creating electronic resources from historical documents
“Digitising history: a guide to creating electronic resources from historical documents” provides guidance on computerising historical source documents. As such it focuses on development of databases of findings.

Creating Digital Resources for the Visual Arts: Standards and Good Practice
“Creating Digital Resources for the Visual Arts: Standards and Good Practice” provides guidance on digitisation.

Planning and managing digital resource creation projects
From the Arts and Humanities Data Service

Managing the Digitisation of Library, Archive and Museum Materials
From the British Library

TownsWeb Archiving
TownsWeb Archiving is a commercial digitisation service provider and the website has some useful free resources for archives including guides on Funding for digitisation, Best Practice on digitising bound books, photographs and glass plate negatives.


Information Age
The Department of Trade and Industry’s pages on the impact of IT on commerce.

UK Electronic Communications Act 2000

E-mail policy

University of Arizona: Electronic Mail Policy

University of California: Electronic Mail Policy

University of Colorado: Use of Electronic Mail
Good for access to electronic communications belonging to others.
This website claims to cover everything you need to know about e-mail policies: why you need a corporate e-mail policy, how to create one and how to enforce it. Also includes sample policies, books, e-mail security software and links.

Institutional Records Management and E-mail
This is a JISC-funded project being run by a team at Loughborough University. It is a case study of practices at Loughborough with outcomes expected to be widely applicable elsewhere. It will develop policies for retention and disposal of e-mail, examine current and possible practices for dealing with e-mail at a corporate, department, or group level rather than a personal level, and evaluate various technical options for archiving e-mail in line with the policies and legal requirements.

Functional requirements

Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records
Moreq (Model requirements for the Management of Electronic Records) prepared for IDA Programme of the European Commission.

Electronic Records Management
The Public Record Office’s evaluation scheme for functional requirements and testing of electronic records management systems.

Design criteria standard for electronic records management software applications
The US Department of Defense Standard (DoD 5015.2-STD) of June 2002 which defines the basic requirements based on operational, legislative and legal needs that must be met by records management application (RMA) products acquired by the Department of Defense — now a de facto standard for US Government agencies.

Electronic recordkeeping
The Norwegian National Archives specification of functional requirements for electronic recordkeeping systems used in public administration.

Government sites

European Union

European Union Information Society

United Kingdom

Office of the e-Envoy
The Office of the e-Envoy has made the transition to the e-Government Unit, operating out of the Cabinet Office.

National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD)
The National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) website has examples of catalogues for electronic records — it is the repository for UK electronic public records in dataset formats.

The National Archives

  • Electronic Records details and guidelines on the management, appraisal and preservation of electronic records.
  • PRONOM is a link to a repository of file formats and software maintained by the UK National Archives. This also includes details of the PRONOM Unique Identifier (PUID) scheme. This is an extensible scheme for providing persistent, unique and unambiguous identifiers for records in the PRONOM registry: essentially a way of recording the digital object format.

United States of America

US National Archives and Records Administration

New York State Archives
This is a page which lists many useful publications based on recordkeeping practice in the New York State Government.

Department of Defense
This is the section of the US Department of Defense’s website that covers their specifications for records management applications: Joint Interoperability Test Command Records Management Application (RMA). These specifications have become a de facto standard.


National Archives of Australia

National Library of Australia: Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI)
National Library of Australia’s Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI) initiative which aims to provide mechanisms that will help to ensure that information in digital form is managed with appropriate consideration for preservation and future access. See:

State Records Authority of New South Wales
This is the website for the State Records Authority of New South Wales. It has an example of an electronic records policy — click NSW Public Sector button for useful documents and guides.

Victorian Electronic Records Strategy (VERS)
This is the Victorian Electronic Records Strategy (VERS) Homepage. VERS is an initiative of the Victorian government (Australian) to preserve its electronic records for the long term. Useful for examples of documentation and for publications and papers. See for the Toolkit designed to help those who find themselves dealing with the issues of recordkeeping and information management in the digital age.


Archives of Ontario
This is the Archives of Ontario website. It has publications, including some useful information leaflets on managing electronic records at:

Guidelines and policies

English Heritage
Click on the Archaeology icon, and then on “Consultation Documents” for gives English Heritage’s strategy developed by the Centre for Archaeology for managing its digital archives.

ICA publications on managing electronic records

Interest groups

AIIM International: enterprise content management association
This website belongs to AIIM International, a global industry association that connects the users and suppliers of document and business process management technologies and services. The site has details of standards, current trends, publications and events.

Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
JISC, the Joint Information Systems Committee, promotes the innovative application and use of information systems and information technology in further and higher education across the UK. See for managing and preserving access to digital information.

DLM Forum
This is the website for the DLM-Forum (DLM is an acronym for the Données lisibles par machine, or Machine-readable data). The DLM-Forum is based on the conclusions of the European Council (94/C 235/03) of 17 June 1994 concerning greater cooperation in the field of archives. The Conclusions establish “a multidisciplinary forum to be held in the framework of the Community on the problems of the management, storage, conservation and retrieval of machine-readable data, inviting public administrations and national archives services, as well as representatives of industry and of research, to take part in the forum.” DLM’s website has been archived and is now available via the EU Information Society website — it is available via this link and some later DLM products are available from:

Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS)
This is part of the website for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It was created in 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the Web’s evolution and ensure its interoperability. The PICS specification enables labels (metadata) to be associated with Internet content.

International Federation for Information Processing
“IFIP’s mission is to be the leading, truly international, apolitical organization which encourages and assists in the development, exploitation and application of Information Technology for the benefit of all people.”

Object Management Group
A consortium that produces and maintains computer industry specifications for interoperable enterprise applications. It seems to be the heir of the Metadata Coalition.

Commonwealth Network of Information Technology for Development (COMNET-IT)
An international foundation hosted by the government of Malta co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It works primarily within Commonwealth member countries to support activities related to the policy-development and capability-building in implementing, managing, and using new information and communications technologies.


IFLA metadata resources
IFLA (International Federation of Library Institutions) page for web links relating to metadata.

NEDLIB report on metadata
‘Metadata for the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Records’ by Catherine Lupovice and Julien Masenès of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

UK GovTalk
UK Government site from the Cabinet Office with policies and standards for e-government, including the UK Metadata Framework and the e-government Metadata Standard.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
This project is developing a metadata element set intended to facilitate discovery of electronic resources on the Web. It was originally conceived for author-generated description of Web resources and has attracted the attention of formal resource description communities such as museums, libraries, government agencies, and commercial organizations.

Alberta Information Management news
This site contains a metadata resources guide from the Government of Alberta.

New Zealand metadata standard
Provides an introduction to the Metadata Standards Framework for National Library of New Zealand.


Representation and Rendering project
A recently published report from JISC: “Survey and assessment of sources of information on file formats and software documentation: Final Report”. The report discusses the issue of file format documentation, crucial to digital preservation, and published and other sources for obtaining it.

Avoiding Technological Quicksand report
Jeff Rothenberg’s report, ‘Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation’, on the emulation solution to electronic records preservation: this describes one of the current trends in preservation strategies for electronic records.

Digital Preservation Coalition
The Digital Preservation Coalition’s Preservation Management of Digital Materials Workbook. See also Decision Tree for Selection of Digital Materials for Long-term Retention.

Handbook for Digital Projects
The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is an American regional conservation centre. It aims to improve the preservation programmes of libraries, archives and museums. This URL take you to the Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access.

RLG DigiNews
This is the website for RLG DigiNews, which is a bimonthly web-based newsletter concentrating on digital initiatives with a preservation component or rationale — either supporting new initiatives or highlighting relevant projects.

Digital Archaeology report
Here you can find the ‘Digital Archaeology: Rescuing Neglected and Damaged Data Resources’ report by Seamus Ross and Ann Dow.

Digital Preservation Testbed
The Digital Preservation Testbed is researching digital preservation for Dutch government organisations. It is experimenting with digital information in a unique E-lab to determine the best methods of long-term preservation.

Digital Preservation Europe
This organisation aims to share expertise in managing and preserving digital records from the academic research, cultural, public administration and industry sectors. It builds on the earlier work of ERPANET ( On the homepage you will find a YouTube cartoon on avoiding digital disaster.

UK National Archives’ PRONOM database
A web-enabled database that stores and provides information about file formats and the application software needed to render them. Digital preservation depends on reliable knowledge about file formats, and how these formats are rendered by different software applications. To safeguard this information and support the archiving of electronic government records, the National Archives developed this database.

Electronic Records Archives Requirements Document
This is a NARA consultation document with specifications for preserving virtually any kind of electronic record, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software.

Cedars Guide to Preservation Metadata
Document providing background on preservation metadata for those interested in digital preservation. Includes brief recommendations for collecting institutions and the creators of digital content.

Digital Preservation Program
US Library of Congress site for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program led by the Library of Congress.

Strategies for Digital Data
A report by the Archaeology Data Service on the status of archaeological data in 1998. It includes a section on digital preservation.

File Formats and Software
This is the survey and assessment of sources of information on file formats and software documentation: Final Report, another piece of JISC-funded research.

The Camileon Migration on Request approach to digital preservation
The CAMiLEON Project was a collaboration between the University of Leeds and the University of Michigan which ran from 2001 to 2003. It aimed to develop and evaluate a range of technical strategies for the long term preservation of digital materials.

BBC Domesday Project
How they rescued obsolete computer records, from the Ariadne website, the web magazine for information professionals in archives, libraries and museums in all sectors.

LIFE Project
Summary of report on LIFE Project (JISC funded, carried out by UCL and the British Library) examining the costing of digital preservation activities.

Care, Handling and Storage of Removable Media
The National Archives’ advice note on Care, Handling and Storage of Removable Media

Research and teaching

CEDARS: CURL exemplars in digital archives
The CEDARS digital archiving project, which came to an end in March 2002, addressed strategic, methodological and practical issues and provides guidance in best practice for digital preservation.

UKOLN is a national focus of expertise in digital information management. It provides policy, research and awareness services to the UK library, information and cultural heritage communities. The website has some useful tools and articles.

Electronic Recordkeeping at Indiana University
University of Michigan project to test the Pittsburgh model.

InterPARES project
This is the website of the InterPARES (International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems) project, a major international research initiative in which archival scholars, computer engineering scholars, national archival institutions and private industry representatives are collaborating to develop the theoretical and methodological knowledge required for the permanent preservation of authentic records created in electronic systems.

CAMiLEON project
The CAMiLEON Project (Creative Archiving at Michigan and Leeds: Emulating the Old on the New) is evaluating emulation as a digital preservation strategy by developing emulation tools, cost-benefit analysis and user evaluation.

e-TERM project
The e-TERM (European Training in Electronic Records Management) project is an EU-funded project to develop teaching tools for the delivery of voacational training in managing electronic records.

Records Continuum Research Group
The Records Continuum Research Group (RCRG), based at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, is looking at methods of analysis which enable records to be controlled at different points in time throughout their lifespan. This includes the way records are represented, used, retrieved and disseminated. The group is also looking into how continuum models apply to information management and data archiving.

YEA: The Yale Electronic Archive
The Yale University Library and Elsevier Science Publishing Digital Preservation Planning Project gives a prototype for a digital archive for publications.


US Office of Regulatory Affairs Title 21 Code
US Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Part 11), Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures.

What is a Digital Signature?
An idiot’s guide to digital signatures.


The Internet Archive
This organisation is “archiving“ websites for posterity. They are very concerned about digital preservation and software copyright issues.

Web archiving: a feasibility study
A recent report on preserving medical Websites, sponsored by JISC and the Wellcome Trust.

Links last verified: 28.06.2020. Links will open in a new browser window.

  Internal page links  Top of page | Access to digital records | Case Studies in digital records management | Digitisation | E-commerce | E-mail policy | Functional requirements | Government sites | Guidelines and policies | Interest groups | Metadata | Preservation | Research and teaching | Security | Websites
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