There are some records that are obvious – dental records, medical records, business contracts – but knowing what constitutes a ‘record’ is not always clear.
All information created, sent and received in the course of your job is potentially a record. Records can be in paper, digital or other formats.
Examples include emails, faxes, spreadsheets, databases, maps and plans, text messages, minutes, policy and briefing papers, photographs, research data and even social media sites.
That means that anything can be a record, but not everything is a record. Confusing, huh???
According to the National Archives of Australia, whether something is a record depends on the information it contains and the context.
You should keep the records that support your business decisions. Records provide proof of what happened and who made the decisions.
Make or keep a record if you need to show:
- what happened, when it happened and who was involved
- what was decided or recommended and by whom
- what advice or instruction was given
- the order of events or decisions.
Good record keeping makes it easier to find and use information, share information with your colleagues and produce evidence if needed.