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Find, access and use records

Make sure records can be found and used when required

A core responsibility of recordkeeping teams is to make information available to authorised users.

Digital records

Make sure digital records can be found and used. Start by organising them in a logical way, using consistent naming conventions, and ensuring they’ve been tagged with appropriate metadata.

The recordkeeping or business application they are stored in also needs to be kept running and accessible. This is usually the responsibility of the IT team.

For some core business applications, responsibilities may be divided between a recordkeeping team and those who actually manage the applications.

Recordkeeping teams should also focus on training users to use recordkeeping applications.

Physical records

How you make physical records available will depend on your agency’s recordkeeping policies and procedures:

  • if records are stored in local filing cabinets or in an open file room, users can self-serve
  • if records are stored in a secure file room or in off-site storage, the recordkeeping team may need to provide retrieval services.

How employees search for and find physical records depends on your recordkeeping system (e.g. a spreadsheet, database containing relevant metadata, or your recordkeeping application).

Location tracking

It is important to keep track of the location of records. If they can’t be found they can’t be used. This is especially important for physical records, which can be misplaced or lost by users.

If your agency holds a lot of physical records, think about doing a regular census or audit to help identify any missing records.

Digital records may be in a range of business applications. With this in mind, it’s important to train and educate users on the benefits of good recordkeeping practices.

Promote access: use and re-use

Records are an asset whose value is realised through re-use, including by people other than the original creator or business unit.

Internal access and use

Promoting the access and use of information within an agency is part of a recordkeeping team’s strategic role. This includes taking a longer-term view to ensure your agency’s overarching recordkeeping system is maximising value.

Public re-use

Right to Information and Information Privacy requests

Records may be accessed under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 or Information Privacy Act 2009. To assist your agency to respond to requests like these within the legislative timeframes, it’s important to know where your records are so you can locate and retrieve them quickly.

Open data

Government departments and statutory bodies have open data strategies

If you work in a data rich agency that doesn’t currently have a strategy in place, you may wish to explore opportunities for releasing your data.

Transferring records to Queensland State Archives

QSA makes permanent value records in its custody (those not under a restricted access period) freely available to professional researchers and other members of the public.