Last updated:

March 22, 2018

What is digitisation?

Digitisation involves the conversion of an object, document or an image into electronic format. Digitisation is one means of converting an original, source record and is usually carried out through scanning or photographing the source record.

Records digitisation activities by Victorian government agencies include:

  • Pre action conversion. Where source records are converted before they have been actioned by an officer of an agency. For example, the digitisation of paper records as they are opened in the mail-room.
  • Post action conversion. Where source records are converted after they have been actioned by an officer of an agency. For example, back-file conversion of existing paper records.

See our presentation below for further information about digitisation.


Why digitise?

There are increasing expectations upon agencies to implement digital systems, operations and service delivery to the fullest extent possible.

 Digitisation can provide considerable benefits for agencies, including savings on storage, management and access close access Definition Refers either to the process of providing records for researchers to use in PROV reading rooms, or to the process of determining if records should or should not be withheld from researchers for a period of time. costs (particularly where the source record is disposed of), integration of records into Electronic Document Management Systems (EDRMS) and business systems, and preservation of historical records.

However, agencies should weigh up and carefully consider the intended outcomes of any potential digitisation projects. Digitisation is often an expensive and resource intensive exercise. In some cases disposal close disposal Definition A range of processes associated with implementing appraisal decisions which are documented in disposal authorities or other instruments. (including transfer of State 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. to PROV) may be a more strategic action to take on the records.


PROV requirements for digitisation

Most agencies digitise records with the intention to destroy the paper originals. However, before digitisation, let alone destruction, of public records occurs agencies must ensure they will comply with (Public Record Office Victoria) PROV specifications for digitisation. This includes a certification close certification Definition Formal authorisation from the Keeper of Public Records process.

See the following step-by-step guide for information about how to meet these requirements.

  1. STEP 1 - Consult with PROV digitisation products

    You will need to ensure that digitisation activities in your agency comply with PROS 11/07 S1 Digitisation Requirements Specification and PROS 11/07 S2 Digitisation Image Requirements Specification.

    PROS 11/07 G1 Guide to Digitisation Requirements Guideline is a useful first point of call to help you understand what’s involved, the documentation required and options for compliance.

    STEP 2 - Options for compliance

    Victorian agencies have two options in demonstrating compliance with the requirements of PROS 11/07 S1 Digitisation Requirements Specification.

    The first option is to prepare a Digitisation Plan in accordance with Requirements 1 to 7 (Set One), and to retain evidence that the Digitisation Plan was correctly carried out.

    The second option is to prepare a Digitisation Activity Plan and then implement the mandatory requirements listed in Appendix 1 of the Archives New Zealand Digitisation Standard (ANZDS), January 2007, (Requirement 8) with certain amendments as detailed in Requirements 10 to 12 (Set Two).

    STEP 3 - Certification

    All agencies must complete the Certificate of Compliance, available in the appendix of PROS 11/07 S1 Digitisation Requirements Specification. The Certificate must be CEO signed by your CEO and emailed or mailed to PROV. We will respond informing you that we have received your certificate.

    While there is no requirement to send a copy of your Digitisation Plan or other documentation along with your Certificate, you must provide it to PROV upon request.

    STEP 4 - Disposal of source records

    The original source record may be able to be disposed of in accordance with PROS 10/01 General Retention and Disposal Authority For Converted Source Records.

    However, some records may not be disposed of after digitisation regardless of whether the digitisation project satisfies the minimum requirements under PROS 11/07 S1 Digitisation Requirements Specification and PROS 11/07 S2 Digitisation Image Requirements Specification

    In most cases, these types of records are subject to particular requirements to keep the record in a specific format, or have a value as a physical or historical artefact.

    See PROS 10/01 G1 Guide to the GDA for Converted Source Records for more information.