The EDMRS Preservation Toolkit relates to the preservation of digital records that are held in record keeping systems such as Electronic Document and Records Management Systems (EDRMS). 

For the purposes of this resource, record keeping systems are defined as the manual or automated applications, policies and processes implemented to capture, organize, and categorize records. Record keeping systems support the management, access, retrieval, use, and disposition of records. They include both EDRMS and document-centric collaboration platforms such as Sharepoint, Office365 and Google Drive. There are many other systems in use within organizations that store records, for example, systems used to store Financial or Human Resources records. This resource hasn’t been created with these systems in mind, but it is anticipated that some of the advice may be more broadly applicable.

The advice within this guide applies equally to current systems in use, legacy systems that are falling out of use, and systems that are being procured for the future. Whichever stage of this lifecycle your document or records management system is in, if it contains records that need to be maintained for the long term, there are preservation considerations that should be addressed.

A record keeping system tends to facilitate the storage and use of current records. Though many of the features of a record keeping system overlap with those you might expect to find in a digital preservation system, they typically don’t support all the functionality that you would expect to find within a digital archive (for example, active monitoring of checksums and the migration of files into new formats for preservation and/or access).

This resource discusses several different approaches to the challenges of preserving records from a record keeping system.

    1. Transfer records to a digital archive

    2. Emulate the system or application that holds the records

    3. Leave in current system and manage ‘in situ’

    4. Migrate records to a new record keeping system

Generic advice on how to approach the challenge of preserving records and make a decision on preservation approach is included within this toolkit but detailed instructions on how to carry out the preservation actions on a particular system are out of scope.

A presentation by James Doig from the National Archives of Australia at the DPC’s EDRMS Briefing Day in May 2021 gives a good introduction and overview to the topic of the preservation of record keeping systems, particularly with regard to government record keeping and the challenges we face (Members login to view recording).

Preservation Across the Digital Continuum: The National Archives of Australia’s Experience With EDRMS Preservation (transcript available here) - James Doig (National Archives of Australia) 


Many different organizations can be charged with the task of preserving records. The advice within this resource is intended to be broad enough to be applicable to any type or size of organization faced with this challenge whether they are a national archive, a business archive or a local record office and whether they are responsible for preserving records from a wide range of external sources or their own internal record keeping system/s.

The challenge of preserving records is a global one. The issues and solutions are broadly the same across geographic borders but it should be noted that different record keeping practices (and in some cases terminology) may be in place. 

This resource is aimed at:

  • Those involved in managing records

  • Those involved in preserving records

  • Those involved in developing relevant policies and procedures

  • Those managing and overseeing relevant projects and services

  • Those involved in supporting relevant systems and software

  • Those involved in procuring relevant systems and software or developing business requirements

The toolkit assumes some knowledge of basic digital preservation concepts. The Digital Preservation Handbook provides a good introduction to digital preservation and a helpful glossary of terms.

Scroll to top