ISSN 1321-6260
June 2016 - Number 117

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New website

State Records has launched its new website. The new website’s Drupal CMS foundation enables richer tagging and categorisation of site content, easier content-editing and publishing, and integration with social media. The new style guide for the website is modern, clear, mobile-responsive and accessible.

Our advice and resources are still categorised by topic, making it easy to find relevant guidance and tools. There is also a new A to Z index which provides another way of finding particular content.

The Government Recordkeeping team has been busy checking the content in the new site to make sure it’s all up to date and working well. Our priority has been top level pages and those pages that receive the most traffic. We are aware that the migration of content from the old CMS to the new has resulted in some odd formatting and broken links, and we are working to rectify these issues – so please bear with us as we resolve any outstanding issues!

Please also bear in mind that you may need to update any bookmarks you had created to content on the old site.

Further information about using the new website, including advice about accessing the State archives collection, is available.

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Records and archives in times of change

Organisational change is a constant in the NSW public sector. The change may involve the:

  • transfer of a function between NSW public offices
  • transfer of a function to another government, either from NSW to another government or into NSW from another government, e.g. the Commonwealth
  • creation of a new function
  • abolition of an existing function
  • privatisation of a function, or
  • amalgamation/merger of public offices into a larger organisational entity.

Some of the triggers for this change can include new legislation, machinery of government changes, Government policy to merge organisations or reshape the delivery of services.

Amalgamations and organisational change can involve significant disruptions, loss of key staff and corporate knowledge. These changes can also have considerable implications for the management of records and State archives in public organisations.

Each NSW Public Sector organisation is responsible for ensuring that records created in the course of official business are well managed and safeguarded. This responsibility exists through normal business operations and also through any business or organisational transformations, including organisational amalgamations or transfer of functions or activities to other organisations.

This responsibility is especially important during times of change. At periods of transformation and change it is critical that adequate consideration and planning is given to the management and protection of records and information through transition processes. Inadequate or poor planning can mean that records and information are at risk of loss, illegal destruction, poor control and lessened security, or become inaccessible.

If the change involves a privatisation process, it is important that the organisation is fully aware of the requirements of the State Records Act 1998, expectations and purchaser obligations with respect to the transfer and management of State records (including digital records and systems), and State archives.

State Records has guidance to help NSW Public Sector organisations manage records during transition or change, managing records as part of a privatisation process, migrating data to new corporate systems, and a Futureproof blog post on change and what this means for records and information . We will also be launching a new FAQ page on the Local Government Resources page which will be updated regularly with responses to the commonly asked questions around records and local government amalgamations.

State Records staff are also available to provide advice on the records and information management considerations and compliance requirements in situations such as amalgamations and business transformations.

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Goodbye Mandy!

State Records farewelled Amanda (Mandy) Barber recently after 38 years with us.

Mandy joined the then Archives Authority of NSW in February 1978 and worked in a range of technical positions, including being based at Parliament House where she surveyed the records of the Legislative Assembly prior to Parliament implementing their first archival program.

Mandy quickly established herself as an expert in the areas of records appraisal and legislative regulation. One of Mandy’s most significant achievements was the development and implementation of State Records’ appraisal policy for identifying the records to be retained as State archives under the new State Records Act 1998.

Mandy was appointed to the position of Manager Government Recordkeeping in 2002. Her knowledge of best practice recordkeeping in the implementation of and transition to digital records systems led to her involvement in the development of both Australian and International Standards, being a member of the NSW Government Enabling Information Sharing Working Group, and advising agencies across the State on how best to meet their responsibilities under the State Records Act.

We wish Mandy all the best for whatever adventures lie ahead. She will be missed!

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Hello to the new Digital Strategy team!

We have three new members in our Digital Strategy team. Brennan Wong, Ann Naidoo and Irene Chymyn. Emma Harris is currently on leave and will return next year. Brennan, Ann and Irene will be at the Records Managers' Forum on 19 July if you would like to say hello. The team provides strategic advice on digital recordkeeping, runs the Digital Implementers Group, and manages the Future Proof blog amongst many other things. If you would like to get in touch email us at

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Scanning bound records

It is very important that care is taken when assessing whether material is in a condition suitable for digitisation. It is strongly recommended that agencies contact State Records during the early planning process before a digitisation program begins, especially when material identified for permanent retention may be within the project scope. The following criteria need to be looked at before a scanning method is decided upon:

  • whether the equipment to be used is appropriate to the record format,
  • what is the physical condition of the record (are there tears, mould, previous repaired damage),
  • is a digital transfer to be undertaken as well as a hardcopy one.

There are many formats, such as bound volumes, that are not suitable to be put through  a flat-bed or feeder scanner. For volumes there are alternatives such as over-head book scanners which do not require material to be removed from the housing cover. Dis-binding should not be considered unless there is no alternative and the process has been discussed with State Records staff. Also, there are paper types held within standard  files that should be copied with a flat-bed scanner. Paper produced in the 1950’s can be of poor quality and may tear if processed through a roller scanner mechanism.

If the physical format of an item is changed as a consequence of the scanning process, then State Records needs to be contacted to discuss how the material is to be re-housed so that the record continues to be protected. For further information and advice about appropriate scanning methods for all record types, email us at

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Recent Future Proof Blog posts

State Records uses its Future Proof blog to post information about current digital recordkeeping issues. On the blog we road-test new ideas, distribute new information and initiate discussion on digital recordkeeping issues. Recent posts include:

  • Digital Implementers Group discussion of E-Approvals
  • Student perspectives: the changing role of records managers
  • Goodbye Mandy! A farewell to the Manager of Government Recordkeeping Amanda Barber
  • The Information and Privacy Commission wants to hear from you
  • Q&A with Warwick Hunter on public access to records
  • Q&A with Information Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd on public access to records
  • Q&A with Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Coombs on privacy
  • Welcome to Information Awareness Month 2016
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Full details of our training for this year are available on the Training Calendar.

The following training is being offered in July and August:

  • 26 July Implementing a Retention and Disposal Authority for Local Government Records (Queens Square)
  • 9-10 August Records Management Fundamentals (Queens Square, Sydney)
  • 11 August Managing Digital Records: An overview (Queens Square, Sydney)
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Disposal authorities approved

State Records recently approved a disposal authority for the regulation of motor accidents insurance scheme (State Insurance Regulatory Authority).

Copies of our retention and disposal authorities are available from the Retention and disposal authorities page on our website.

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