Choreographing the website two-step

Website under construction

Sometimes updating a website feels like a dance… we have to take a jump to the left then a step to the right before we can go forward. And there have been a few times where it’s felt like we take a few steps backwards.

Updating the website and all of our advice to make things easier for you (and us) has been a long time coming and we know that from your end it seems as though we’re only doing the website shuffle, but there is actually a lot of complicated choreography happening in the background.

So, here’s an update so you know what’s been happening, what’s next on our dance card and a few other bits and pieces you might like to know about the Recordkeeping SPOT.

The cunning plan

We’ve got a cunning plan… which is to move all (ok, most) of our advice to a web-based format and just leave tools, forms and templates as documents you can download.

This not only makes it easier for you to search for things on the website but also easier for us to update when needed because we can just amend a sentence or a paragraph, or add an extra bit here and there rather than the rigmarole of changing a whole publication.

We’re hoping that this also mean that you can go to one section and find everything you need to know about that topic in the one spot. It also means that we’re not repeating ourselves in multiple places and that the advice can be tailored by you to fit your records rather than have the same advice for all the different types and formats.

Why don’t we have specific advice anymore?

The advice we provide on the website is designed to work for every one of the nearly 500 government agencies in Queensland, from the tiniest agency to the big departments. You don’t all use the same eDRMS, some don’t even have an eDRMS, you don’t all do recordkeeping the same way, or create the same records or use the same formats, some agencies don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to recordkeeping, and not everyone has a lot of knowledge about records either.

But no matter where you work, records are records no matter what format they’re in. You either have to capture them or you don’t. If you have to capture them then you need to keep them and so on and so forth. Some formats and record types have some very specific requirements, but generally speaking your responsibilities remain the same regardless of what format or record type you have to manage.

If some record types or specific recordkeeping challenges need specific advice on how to manage, capture, keep, destroy them etc. then we’ll look at providing advice on that – and let us know if there are any that you are struggling with so we can look into it.

Most of the time though we’ve gone down the path of providing general guidance that works for everyone and tells you what you have to do and what you should do.  This advice then can be used to fit the majority of records you create regardless of format, activity or record type.

What happened to the publications?

All these changes have meant that we have removed a lot of our publications and placed the relevant advice on one of the pages of the Recordkeeping SPOT or a blog or another publication.

The publications page is still a work in progress, so while it has been restructured to fit with the Recordkeeping SPOT sections (hopefully to make things easier to find), there are still a few documents we need to review. The review might mean that we:

  • update the existing publication with clearer information and better advice
  • consolidate a few publications into just one
  • incorporate existing advice into the SPOT and remove the publication

Those decisions will be made when we go to review each publication but don’t worry, we’ll keep you informed of the changes when we can.

What’s under review now?

We’re currently looking at the publications we have on the following topics:

  • Mobile and smart devices
  • Backups
  • Surveillance footage, including CCTV, body cameras, drones etc.
  • Digital images
  • Online resources

We’re very close to releasing a new and improved advice about transferring records to QSA, all things preservation, more information about what’s what in the Public Records Act 2002 and answers to some of our most frequently asked questions,. We’ve also got some great machinery-of-government related advice in the works.

Later down the track we hope to look at everything to do with developing and implementing a retention and disposal schedule and of course we have a review of the digitisation disposal policy in the works as we speak.

What we can’t do (yet)

We’re working on improving the website and ideas about what we could do with the website get bandied about here almost daily.

At the moment there are constraints with what we can do, so while we are working on improving the website as a whole (I’ll be singing the hallelujah chorus when it’s done), we are focusing on updating all the content on the Recordkeeping SPOT.

All these changes have repercussions though – like broken links, error messages, things that work in some browsers and not in others, some things are still tricky to find. But there is good news…you can help us make it better.

Have your say

We’re actually in a good place at the moment because we can make changes. The good news is that you can have some input on those changes too – we might be the creators of the website but all of you are the users.

What works? What doesn’t work? What advice is missing? Where are we too long winded and complicated? Where have we not said enough? Is information in the right place? What can’t you find?

Send us your feedback – we can’t improve if we don’t know what doesn’t work. Remember, we have to provide advice for lots of different agencies.

You can contact us via email, telephone on 3037 6630, or our blog, Twitter or Facebook.

Sally Upham

Research Officer (aka Chief Recordkeeping SPOT updater)

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