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Policy: Records and archives management


To ensure effective management of the University's records and archives.


The University’s records and archives are important assets that need to be managed in accordance with Commonwealth legislation and good-practice recordkeeping standards. The policy will enhance the operation of the University by ensuring that records are accurate, accessible, well managed and usable to support good business decisions and future research about the University.


This policy applies to all ANU staff members and contractors. It applies to all information assets (records, information and data) in any format, created or received, to support University’s business activities.


Archives: records selected for long-term retention for their continuing value

Business classification scheme: a classification tool to assist with the grouping of like records and good record management practice

Continuing value: the value of records beyond their immediate administrative purpose for future business needs, accountability, evidence, and research

Disposal: removal of records from a recordkeeping system by destruction, deletion or by transfer (e.g. to Archives)

Heads of Budget Units: includes College Deans and Directors of Colleges, Schools and Centres, and Directors of Service Divisions, as defined in the Delegations of Authority Policy

Metadata: structured data describing the context, content and structure of records and their management over time

Personal records: records created or received by a person which are not part of the University’s recordkeeping systems (but which may include University records)

Record (AS ISO 15489): recorded information, in any form, including data in computer systems, created or received and maintained by an organisation or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs and kept as evidence of such activity

Recordkeeping system: an electronic or manual framework for managing records which ensures their integrity and authenticity over time through control mechanisms to prevent unauthorised access, alteration or removal

Records authority: a formal instrument that defines the retention periods and consequent disposal actions authorised for classes of records described in the authority

University business: activities undertaken by the University including teaching and learning, research, community service, administration, and commercial and cultural activities

University records: information created or received by University employees undertaking University business and maintained as evidence of that activity

Policy statement


  1. The University recognises information assets as valuable corporate assets and is committed to achieving appropriate and ongoing management of these assets to advance strategic priorities and meet client needs.
  2. The University manages records for their full life cycle in accordance with principles outlined in National Archives of Australia Information management standard for Australian government:
  • records are systematically governed
  • necessary records are created
  • records are adequately described
  • records are suitably stored and preserved
  • how long records should be kept is known
  • records are accountably destroyed or transferred to archives
  • records are saved in recordkeeping systems where they can be appropriately managed
  • records are available for authorised use and reuse, including as archives.
  1. The University’s primary recordkeeping systems are approved through system information management plans and include:
  • the Financial Management System
  • the Human Resources System
  • the Records Management and Archives Systems
  • the Research Data Management and Repository Systems
  • the Student Administration System.
  1. This policy applies to records in all formats (paper, digital or audiovisual) whether registered files, text messages, working papers, electronic documents, emails, online transactions, data held in databases or on tape or disks, maps, plans, photographs, sound and video recordings, or microforms.
  2. The University’s policy and practice is based on its legislative responsibilities as a Commonwealth agency and on AS ISO 15489, Australian Standard on Records Management and National Archives of Australia guidance.

Creation of records

  1. The University ensures that records are created to document its business and are captured in recordkeeping systems for:
  • Good business practise: so that staff undertaking University business can access past records to ensure good decision making and effective business practises;
  • protection of rights: the University’s own legal, financial and other rights and its obligations to its staff, students, and others affected by its actions;
  • accountability: so that scrutiny can be made of its business by anyone authorised to do so.
  1. Records must accurately document the activities being undertaken and must include adequate contextual information or metadata for them to be meaningful, retrievable and usable. Metadata such as the identity of staff creating or capturing the record, date of creation, and unique identifier must be included in record. The University has adopted the National Archives of Australia’s (NAA) Australian Government Recordkeeping Metadata Standard.
  2. Records should be captured into a recordkeeping system as soon as possible after creation so that evidence is readily available to support University business.
  3. Staff creating or receiving University records using electronic devices such as email, text, messaging systems, etc. must incorporate these records into a recordkeeping system.
  4. Oral decisions and commitments should be recorded and incorporated into a recordkeeping system, e.g. documented in a ‘file note’ or confirming email message. Formal meetings should be documented by an agenda, minutes and supporting documentation.
  5. The University uses a Business classification structure to classify records in the Records Management System so that information can be easily located and to facilitate retention for the required time. It is based on University functions and activities.

Retention of archives

  1. The University Archives manages and makes available those records identified as having continuing value under approved records disposal authorities. Other records of continuing value are also acquired and kept by the Archives. These include personal records of academic and administrative staff, records of predecessor institutions, and University organisations and societies.

Relevant Standards


University Responsibilities

  1. The University is responsible for:
  • creating accurate records to support its business operations
  • designing, implementing and maintaining recordkeeping systems which preserve the integrity and authenticity of records over time
  • storing and providing access to records appropriately according to their format, usage and confidentiality
  • developing records authorities for approval by the NAA and applying them to University records
  • providing procedures, advice and training for staff in records management and on the continuing value of records
  • preserving records of continuing value
  • providing appropriate staff access to records
  • protecting personal information using the privacy principles in the Privacy Act 1988
  • providing access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Archives Act 1983

User Responsibilities

  1. Heads of Budget Units are responsible for:
  • making staff aware of their responsibilities in relation to recordkeeping and monitoring compliance
  • ensuring staff take responsibility for the capture, management and security of records
  • providing facilities and procedures to capture records within the University’s recordkeeping systems and to preserve them over time
  • seeking advice on appropriate recordkeeping procedures and on the storage and disposal of records when needed
  • ensuring staff have the appropriate authorisation to access records required to perform their duties
  1. Staff users must:
  • observe all relevant policies, laws, regulations, contractual obligations and procedures
  • document activities performed and decisions made on behalf of the University
  • incorporate records created or received into the University’s recordkeeping systems
  • manage records with care to ensure their preservation for as long as they are needed and to maintain information security.


  1. The University responsibilities identified in this policy are vested with the University Library (Scholarly Information Services).


Printable version (PDF)
Title Records and archives management
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_001233
Purpose To ensure effective management of the University's records and archives
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Information Management - Records & Archives
Effective Date 1 Nov 2022
Next Review Date 1 Nov 2027
Responsible Officer: University Librarian and Director, Scholarly Information Services
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Library, Archives and University Records
Authority: Archives Act 1983
Electronic Transactions Act 1999
Evidence Act 1995
Freedom of Information Act 1982
Privacy Act 1988
Information Infrastructure and Services Rule 2020
Delegations 398, 399

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.