The cartographic art of mapping a BCS to an RDS

Frustrated by not having your business classification scheme (BCS) and the General Retention and Disposal Schedule (GRDS) aligning? We receive numerous queries every year about mapping your agency’s BCS to the schedules you use and we want to dispel some myths about why a BCS and RDS need to align.

What is a BCS?

A BCS provides a framework around recordkeeping for business activities. It’s a hierarchical model of what an agency does and generally forms the foundation for other tools used like your core schedule or file plan. See example below:

Example File structure

Keyword AAA is a well known business classification scheme. This helps with classifying administrative records. There is also another version Keyword for Councils for local governments. This one is intended to cover all the functions performed by local governments. Both of these were developed by State Records NSW and can be requested for free from Queensland State Archives (QSA). If you want a copy just email us at

Why is mapping between a BCS and a schedule difficult?

In the past we relied on the terms used in Keyword AAA to develop schedules. However, with the GRDS released back in September 2016, we decided that we would move away from these terms and definitions and start using more relevant terms and definitions that are being used today.

When we published the GRDS renewal discussion paper there were quite a few comments about the issues of mapping between a BCS to a schedule.

Well, a BCS and schedule(s) don’t need to completely align. If this was the case, schedules would be extremely long. And considering how long some of them are already, that’s pretty long!

So, what is the solution?

You can map between your BCS and the schedules used by your agency. One thing you can do to help make this easier is create an implementation version – meaning you can merge all the schedules you use together into the one document and map that version to your BCS.  You can customise and modify the terms used in implementation version to reflect how the records are spoken about and used in your agency.

As some recordkeeping systems can only handle a single retention and disposal schedule, a merged schedule can be a handy way to make this process easier. Just make sure the merged schedule include all the information you need including the correct QDAN and record class number or disposal authorisation number because you’ll need that when you dispose of your records.

Now, about creating that implementation version – we have advice for that. Head over to the website, and on the Use a retention and disposal schedule page there is a section dedicated to how you can create an implementation version (section 6).

Here’s an example of how it could look:

Example merged schedule

Keep in mind, this is just an example – how you create an implementation version is up to you as it needs to work for your agency and will depend on the schedules you can use.

More information

Need more help? Send us an email ( with the details of what you need more advice on and we’ll do what we can to help.

Remember, you can contact us at any time via email, telephone, blog or Twitter. If you’ve successfully mapped your BCS tell others about it. Head over to CORIM the forum and pop it on there so others can see it too.


Featured image: Draughtsman using stereoscope in topographical mapping, c1949, Digital ID 4261

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