Full steam ahead! Navigating the GRDS

You’ve probably noticed that there are a few things different about the new GRDS. One of the major changes relates to the structure and feel of the schedule. We’ve been thinking about ways that might help users navigate the GRDS, so they find what they’re looking for, and thought we’d share some ideas.

Customised table of contents

You can pull together your own extended ‘table of contents’ – including all of the activities – from the Word version of the full GRDS. This allows you to create a mapping document that you can modify and annotate to meet your business needs.

At the moment, the table of contents is just the main function headings but you can amend it to also include the activity and record class headings by changing the table of contents settings to include Headings 1, 2 and 3 in the Word version.


The GRDS Lite is a great tool that you can use to conquer those legacy paper mountains! The GRDS Lite is a streamlined and condensed version of the full GRDS and allows you to sentence records under broader, ‘rolled up’ record classes.

For legacy sentencing projects where you may need to take a print copy of the schedule with you, the GRDS Lite is a much smaller and simpler document to flick through and find the record classes you are after. It also makes sentencing the records easier.

We have the GRDS Lite available in PDF, Word and Excel formats on our website. You can also find out more about the GRDS Lite and how to sentence records with it there too. You can also contact us for more advice and help if you need to.

Thinking functionally

You might like to use a top-down approach for sentencing records where you fit the records to a function and/or activity first rather than a bottom-up approach of trying to find a specific word or term in a record class description to fit your records.

Instead of doing searches for keywords or specific terms in the schedule, you can work out the function that the records fall under and then look for the relevant activity and its associated record classes.

Learning more about the records you are sentencing – and the reason(s) why the records were originally created – will help you to successfully use the top-down approach when sentencing.

For example, when looking for a record class to help me to sentence timesheets, I’d look at the reasons behind why they are created. Basically, we create timesheets to manage our workforce and their leave and attendance. So, then I would go to the Workforce Management function and look for a relevant activity (such as Leave) to find the record class that fits my needs.

Customised index

Building your own customised index to map your own agency record terms to the GRDS – this type of tool may help your staff navigate the GRDS to search for record classes when sentencing. This is particularly useful if you have lots of specific or unique terms relevant to your agency.

For example, here at QSA we use a vehicle to return records to agencies – this service is part of the activities undertaken by our Collections and Access team. To find relevant record classes in the schedule for sentencing records created about this service, we might want to use an index term such as ‘lending service vehicle’. This would become a term in a customised schedule index that is specific to our needs and usage.

Mobile computing solutions and devices

For those of you who have access to mobile computing solutions and devices like iPads and tablet computers, you can use the new GRDS on your tablet in PDF, Word and Excel formats if you have the right apps. All versions will allow you to search for record classes and create notes about the classes you regularly use.

If you are waiting to leap into mobile computing, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to put forward a business case for the purchase of a tablet or other mobile device to allow you to use a digital copy of the GRDS to sentence your legacy paper records in a more efficient way.

QSA mapping tools  

With the tools that we have released to accompany the GRDS, you have options to create your own strategies and tools to navigate the GRDS. Mapping documents – like the full GRDS to GRDS Lite – gives you an overview of the layout of the schedule and where the record classes sit within functions.

So where to from here

It is likely that there will be more changes in the future to how schedules are created and implemented as QSA thinks about innovative solutions to traditional problems. We are currently exploring new ways to present schedules to make them easier for agencies to use – some of the options we are exploring are web-based versions of schedules or even an app! Are there other ways we could present the GRDS that would make it easy, more accessible and suitable for your business needs?

Join us on the journey and work with us to find new and innovative strategies and solutions for your records management issues. Together we can come up with ideas about how to work better and smarter in the digital environment!

For more tools and advice on the GRDS, please visit the QSA website.

Remember, you can contact us via email, telephone (3037 6630), blog or Twitter.

Allison Drechshage

Appraisal Archivist

Featured image: Brisbane pilot boat “Captain Heath”, Brisbane River, August 1946: QSA DID 2740

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