Author: Government recordkeeping

Project background

During 2017-18, Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) undertook the Digital Appraisal and Disposal Research Project to investigate digital appraisal close appraisal Definition The process of evaluating business activities to determine which records need to be captured and how long the records need to be kept to meet business needs, the requirements of organisational accountability and community expectations. and disposal close disposal Definition A range of processes associated with implementing appraisal decisions which are documented in disposal authorities or other instruments. techniques and initiatives that could be implemented to help manage growing volumes of digital records.

A key objective of the project was to gain knowledge in current and emerging digital appraisal and disposal practice so that we could improve our digital recordkeeping close recordkeeping Definition Making and maintaining complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in the form of recorded information. advice and products for our clients close clients Definition  A person or organisation served by or utilising the services of the agency in Victorian Government.


Findings and recommendations

The research found that while there have been various papers published on the topic, many do not cover practical advice. They also lack case studies showing the successful application of appraisal and disposal to manage digital records. 

Also, other archives close archives Definition Records considered to have continuing or permanent value that have been, or will be, transferred to the custody of an archival organisation; also used to refer to the buildings in which archival records are stored and to organisation that have responsibility for archival records. in Australia and overseas have already developed excellent advice and tools related to digital appraisal and disposal practice - with some even beginning to explore machine assisted and machine learning technologies to appraise and dispose of records.

The project also highlighted gaps in PROV knowledge and coverage of advice to agencies. 

Future actions that could be undertaken by PROV to improve digital appraisal and disposal practice include:

  • developing new web topic pages and tools for Victorian Government agencies
  • testing applications for appraising unstructured information (We have actually already begun this. See our Machine Assisted Email Appraisal Project web page)
  • sharing resources and knowledge with other government archives.


Further information

Please see our Digital Appraisal and Disposal Research Project web page for further information about the project.