The I.T. crowd

Welcome to the sixth blog in the series about the GRDSv8. The GRDS has gone out for whole-of-government consultation^ and we are blogging about some of the changes you may have noticed from GRDSv7.

Check out the hardware! Where can I get my hands on one of those? Oh, the sound of the dot matrix printer! We might have been working in the IT dark ages (well 2003) in GRK until very recently but that’s no excuse. We now have the opportunity to upgrade…I mean update the GRDS.

Information Management is one of the functions in the GRDS that has not been reviewed for a long time. Since the release of the first GRDS in 1997, technology has come along in leaps and bounds and the world is a very different place and we haven’t been keeping up with the changes – well the GRDS hasn’t.

What have we done

We have merged the Publication function and parts of Technology & Telecommunications into Information Management.

In this new-fangled 21st century function, we have:

  • Control – master control records are now primary control records and this class now includes case file registers. A new record class has also been added for estrays
  • Copyright administration – has moved out on its own. It waved goodbye to the activity of Intellectual Property (which has moved to Legal Services (blog coming soon))
  • Data administration – Application Development has grown up and has a new name
  • Preservation – previously called Conservation, the record classes are now more relevant to the records being created
  • Privacy administration – previously just called Privacy, these classes have been rolled-up and slimmed down
  • Publication – this was previously its own function, but it has now come back to Information Management (where it was once upon a time, in a GRDS far, far away)
  • Right to Information – previously called Compliance, these classes have been rolled-up and depending on the feedback you provide, they might roll-up some more
  • Security – is now simplified, all the record classes had the same retention period so we rolled them into one.

What we need from you

Do the scope notes make sense to you?

Are we missing any ‘see’ references?

Do you think the retention periods are too short, too long or just right?

Are there any record classes we have missed?

Are we being a bit too ambitious and agencies are just not quite there yet?

You have until Friday 26th February 2016 to provide your feedback on the GRDSv8.

Remember, you can contact us at any time via email, telephone, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Flickr.

Elizabeth Harvey

Appraisal Archivist

Featured image: Computer area, Treasury Building, Brisbane, June 1965 – Digital ID: 21835

^Please note: the GRDS Renewal project has finished. The new version of the GRDS was released on 1 September 2016.

5 thoughts on “The I.T. crowd

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  1. Just curious as to why Copyright has been separated from IP? Given the notes in your appraisal log for IP mentions copyright, I would have thought both topics could live happily under Legal Services? Will a reference be placed here if not? Also, your appraisal log does not mention that it takes into consideration the pending changes to the Copyright Act 1968 via the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.
    RTI often sits within the Legal Department of an agency, so there are arguments for it to be under Legal Services as well as Information Management. Good to see the Data Admin section. If we can have Estrays (and btw have had to explain this term already), please can we have Ephemeral back? 😀

    1. Hi Angie thanks for your feedback.

      As you noted with Copyright, some GRDS activities can really sit under a couple of different functions. So our thought processes when drafting the copyright and intellectual property sections were:
      • Copyright has been included with Information Management because it is an automatic protection given to material produced in Australia. You don’t need to register it or go through any formal process for copyright to apply so the majority of these records relate to the use of copyrighted information. Also, copyright is currently included in GRDS version 7 under Information Management. (N.B. The schedule is based around the Copyright Act as currently in force. We have been in the drafting stage for a while and now really need to focus on getting the new version finalised. However any changes which may come in after the review is finalised will easily be able to be updated due to the introduction of unique numbering within the next version).
      • New classes for intellectual property (e.g. patents, trademarks and designs) were added to legal services as these must be applied for, registered and managed if they are to have any legal standing. The drafting team thought that, as the management of Intellectual Property would be performed by an agency’s legal staff, this was the best location for these new record classes.

      However, all of the above were our thoughts in drafting. We are completely open to considering any suggestions for relocating record classes/activities which agencies put forward and we have already logged your suggestions for moving both Copyright and RTI to Legal Services in our feedback log. We are also happy to accept any clearer suggestions for the term “Estrays” – this looks like one word of records jargon that has slipped through despite our attempts to use more plain English in the Schedule.

      After the GRDS consultation period closes, we will be conducting a survey to determine the level of agency support for putting the Transitory Records and Short Term Retention and Disposal Schedule, which is what the Ephemeral section became, back into the GRDS.

  2. I feel that the GRDS is framed so that the Activity areas only cover the “backroom mechanism” of a department and don’t give any guidance for the “activity purpose” of why the Dept is there.

    For instance if I am a Medical Science unit, are there Activity guidance on archiving/ storing/ freshly derived scientific data that is still being researched. What if my data is on analog charts or digital slides. How do I maintain that “collection”? It is not an IT record or a Finance record or any other “backroom” Activity.

    For instance, if my dept is a Tribunal, I actively prosecute people/ organisations. But does the class for Legal cover this. It is written in a protect the organisation mind frame.

    For instance if I collect decades of records from earthquake monitoring or tide gauge monitoring, and the scientific reason to keep them is “repeatability”., do I trash them because there is no GRDS that supports the collection activity?


    1. Thanks Col for your feedback. Remember, you can’t dispose of public records even if you can’t see them covered in a schedule.(FYI – Under the Public Records Act, public records that are not covered by an approved retention and disposal schedule cannot be disposed of by a public authority). The records you are looking at may be covered by a core business schedule, a sector schedule or the GRDS. If you are ever unsure, please contact QSA and we can help you determine if they are covered by an existing schedule or if you need to develop a new schedule.

      With your comments on the GRDS you are absolutely correct. The GRDS is only intended to cover activities which are common to all agencies. As we wanted all the focus to be on the schedule and record classes, we didn’t include the standard pre-amble in the consultation draft. However, if you look at the front cover of GRDS version 7 (the current schedule) it includes the following information:
      • the schedule may overlap with public records created in the course of an agency’s core or unique business functions
      • the General Retention and Disposal Schedule for Administrative Records should be used in conjunction with an agency’s core business or sector schedule
      • where a disposal action prescribed under this schedule is inconsistent with a disposal action approved in an agency’s core business or sector schedule, the core business or sector schedule takes precedence. This is provided that the schedule is current and up-to-date
      • where a disposal requirement under this schedule does not meet the specific regulatory requirements which apply to an agency, such requirements must be incorporated into the agency’s core business or sector schedule.

      This information will be included on the authorisation page when the new version of the GRDS is released.

      However, just to note, based on agency feedback the GRDS is moving from just being focused on administrative records to those that are common across government. Part of this expansion will include gradually increasing the coverage of the GRDS – for example, scientific research records are one area which has been suggested for future inclusion (and many agencies already have coverage for these types of records in their core schedules).

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