The purpose of this policy is to establish a set of principles underpinning the New South Wales Government's approach to the preservation of digital records.

Digital State records must be properly preserved so that they survive in authentic and accessible forms over the whole of their existence - from a few years, or the lifetime of an individual or asset - or forever, in the case of digital State archives.

If digital records are not preserved, there is a risk that Government will lose essential evidence of its business, that citizens will not be able to access records documenting rights and legal obligations and that there will be a significant gap in the body of records documenting the society and communities of NSW in the State's archives.

Archival appraisal is perhaps the most important — and certainly the most final — decision-making function that an archives institution undertakes. A decision not to keep records as archives is forever: once the records are gone, they cannot be brought back. A decision to keep records as archives is also forever: it involves an explicit commitment to apply the resources needed to preserve them — and to keep applying resources — for as long as the archives survive.

The purpose of this document is to establish a policy framework for the conduct of records appraisal in the NSW public sector and to state fundamental objectives to guide the identification of State archives.