To keep or not to keep? That is the destruction question.

Map room

Map Room storage area at the Lands Department Survey Office, Brisbane, April 1970

We’re pleased to say that we’ve updated two of the biggest sections of the Recordkeeping SPOT – Keep and Destroy – and it came just in time for our end-of-year celebration 2015. We wanted to let you know though, these two sections supersede quite a lot of material so you might not be able to find some things at first. Some things have disappeared, and some things have just moved to a new home. But hopefully all your questions can be answered all in the one SPOT (see what we did there?)

What does Keep and Destroy cover…

… I hear you say. Well, pretty much everything to do with keeping and destroying records.

On the Keep page you can find what you need to know about retention and disposal schedules, storage for records, preserving records, preparing for a disaster and what to do if you have any lost or damaged records.

The Destroy page has information about the different types of disposal, sentencing records against a current schedule, having a regular disposal program, what to do before and after you destroy records, how to destroy records, disposal freezes and even the digitisation and disposal of records.

It is a work in progress though, and we haven’t updated all of our advice yet – for example, developing a schedule, and resentencing – but we’re working on it.

What have we changed?

Let’s talk about the changes to the structure of the Recordkeeping SPOT first. We’ve moved pages around a bit so they fit better with the main topics. All the schedules, the decommissioning business systems toolkit and preservation services have made the move to Keep, while restricted access (RAPs) and machinery-of-government changes both now sit under Transfer.

We’ve also removed a few pages too – both digitisation disposal and developing a retention and disposal schedule have disappeared, as has the old retention and disposal page. All of this information is now on the new Keep page. We’ve also deleted 19 publications.

But what’s new you ask? Well, hopefully we’ve made our advice more flexible and easier to use in the real world. We’ve made it clear the things you have to do (as some things are legal requirements), and the things you should do (the stuff that is good or best recordkeeping practice), and also the things that you might want to do if you can (the things that will help your processes and make it easier to do).

We’ve also refined our advice on disposal freezes, and have an area on the Destroy page for current disposal freezes issued by the State Archivist.

And (I can hear you celebrating already) we’ve made all of the superseded versions of the GRDS available – you can find them all on the GRDS page. Don’t worry, there is no way you will get them confused with the current version.

You might also notice that disaster has changed too. Let’s face it, we live in Queensland – so we need to be prepared for ever changing weather, which is why we’ve moved the information you need to know to plan for a disaster (aka disaster preparedness) to the Keep page. It goes hand in hand with how you store and manage your records every day so it makes sense that they sit in the same SPOT.

When the weather does head your way, hopefully you won’t be impacted but if you are, head over to our disaster recovery page for all the things you need to know about how, when, where and what to do after a disaster. Eventually this information will move too, and we still have work to do on the disaster preparedness advice, but that’s a change for another day.

It’s not just all about Keep and Destroy

We’ve also made some other changes too.

While we were writing Keep and Destroy, we found a few other areas that needed some extra information. We’ve added in more about recordkeeping roles and responsibilities – from CEO to employee. You can find it under people on the Strategic recordkeeping page.

There’s also advice about digital recordkeeping. We now have information about Metadata for long-term access to digital records on the Create and Capture page and advice on file formats on the strategies for capture page.

We’ve also added our advice on digital rights management and encryption to the Access page. What is digital rights management you ask? Please take a look at our Access page to find out.

What’s next for the website?

Well, as I mentioned before, we still have some work to do with Keep and Destroy. The main things we’re focusing on now are Preservation (of physical records), transferring records to QSA and machinery-of-government changes – so watch this space.

We’re also working hard on a new and improved glossary of recordkeeping terms and we’re looking at all of the publications that are left to see what other advice needs updating.

What do you think?

So, dear reader, once you’ve read our new pages, come back and tell us what you think. Did we hit the mark? Have we missed anything or do we need more information in a certain area? What works and what doesn’t work? Also, what areas of advice do you really want us to work on next?

You can let us know what you think of the two new pages (or any of the other changes) in the comments below, by email or on Twitter in 140 characters or less.

Lastly, if there is any information you need and you can’t find it, please ask us. We’ll be happy to show you where it’s moved to.

Ruth Dickson and Sally Upham

Principal Appraisal Archivist and Research Officer (aka, your Keep and Destroy authors)

5 thoughts on “To keep or not to keep? That is the destruction question.

    • Thanks Lyndall. We are trying to make our advice more practical and easy to read. Let us know if there is anything missing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s