Records systems provide controls which support the creation, capture and management of authentic, accurate, complete, unaltered and useable records.

Records systems that have the following characteristics and functionalities enable creation and maintenance of accurate, authentic, and information rich records. 

Characteristics of records systems

To operate effectively, records systems should have the following characteristics:

Characteristics    The records system should...


  • routinely capture   records within the scope of the business activity it supports
  • routinely create process metadata  
  • provide adequate information about the records within them
  • have controls that will ensure accuracy and quality of records created, captured and managed
  • present records in useable and readable form
  • provide timely  access to records
  • prevent unauthorised access, use,  alteration, concealment,   deletion, destruction or removal of records
  • manage and store records for as long as they are needed
  • allow setting up access and  permission controls to protect records from unauthorised use, alteration, deletion or removal, such as user registration/deregistration
  • have security controls that allow logging, monitoring and termination of access and use.  The logs should be protected from tampering.
  • be designed and managed in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements that apply to the business documented within them. Please note that the records system’s compliance should be regularly monitored and assessed.
  • create, capture and manage records and associated metadata resulting from the business activities supported by the system
  • capture and preserve records as an accurate, unaltered record of the business activity or systems event it documents in a fixed point in time. Records may be captured through the process metadata which shows information on the changes made to the record, when and who changed the records.


Functions of records systems

In addition to having these characteristics, records systems must be capable of performing a range of standard functions.

Functions The records system is able to...


  • create and/or capture records by assigning them unique identities and when necessary allow users to provide additional  description, such as a title and date of the record
  • create and/or capture process metadata such as date of creation and/or capture and by whom.
  • build a list of keywords or index, associated with the record. The index aids in searching and retrieval of records and may be built using metadata or the record content.
 Search and retrieval
  • provide a mechanism to identify and show records in response to search queries.
 Access and security   monitoring
  • assign  and implement  rights or restrictions that protect records against unauthorised or inappropriate use or access
  • log, monitor and show  events such as user access, additions, alterations and deletions carried out on the record, date of the action and by whom.
  • facilitate authorised disposal of records
  • log and show information on disposal actions such as date and time of disposal and by whom.
  • extract select or all records (including associated metadata, when needed)  regardless of format without loss or degradation of content or metadata
  • generate any reports deemed necessary by the organisation



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