Types of information

All information you create, send and receive as part of your role is a record and needs to be managed according to its value. Records provide proof of what your agency did and why it did it.

No matter what the format or the location, all information and records must be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Archives Act 1983.

Digital information and records

If you have created information using your computer then you have created a digital record and it needs to be managed. The main types of digital information and records are found as:

  • office applications such as word-processed documents , spreadsheets, presentations and desktop-published documents
  • online and web-based environments such as intranets, internets, public websites, and records of transactions
  • business information systems such as databases, geospatial data systems, human resources systems, financial systems, workflow systems, client management systems, electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS).
  • digital communication systems such as email, SMS (short messaging services), MMS (multimedia messaging services), voice mail, instant messaging, video conferencing and teleconferencing.

Check your agency’s information and records management policy for instruction on how to manage this type of information.


You use email every day and is considered to be the largest body of digital records coming into and being sent from your agency each day.  Managing email is a part of your agency’s information and records management strategy.

Social media

Social media is another type of Commonwealth record. This communication tool uses the web to enable people to work together and interact online. Your agency uses Web 2.0 technologies as part of their business and needs to manage the information and records these interactions create. A social media policy needs to be developed to manage this type of digital information and records.

Mobile devices

Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are used by agencies as a means of communication. It is important that any key records of discussions, deliberations and decision making is captured from these devices. We offer advice on how to manage this information.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing presents both benefits and risks for agencies. The growth of the cloud has increased the interest in using cloud-based technologies for storage of information and records. It requires considerable analysis if it is to be used as a viable alternative to traditional approaches. We have developed some advice to assist and guide your agency.

Physical information and records

Physical information and records come in many different formats and they also need to be managed.They are usually in a non-digital format and range from paper records, artworks, photographs, maps and plans, samples and objects, CDs and DVDs, magnetic data and gramophone discs. Each of these formats has different properties and need to be managed. Find out about the processes for digitising and managing non-digital or physical records.

Where do I go to for help?

If you need help with managing information and records, contact the Agency Service Centre for advice. The Archives has a suite of short videos and eLearning modules  to help with information management knowledge and capabilities.

More information

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019