ISO 16175 – what you need to know

ISO 16175 provides internationally agreed principles and functional requirements for software applications used to create and manage digital information in office environments. This includes managing digitised copies of analogue source records. 

Changes from first edition of the standard

The second edition was released in 2020 and is in two parts (ISO 16175-1:2020 and 16175-2:2020). Standards Australia released an identical adoption of the new standard in 2021. 

The main changes compared to the previous edition:

  • The distinction between dedicated records management applications and business applications has been removed. As a result, a single set of functional requirements and associated guidance is provided in one document addressing both kinds of software applications.
  • The number of functional requirements has been refined. This will help users focus on the most important areas of software functionality.
  • Text has been revised to make it easier for users to adopt.


The standard has two parts:

  1. Functional requirements and associated guidance for applications that manage digital records; and
  2. Guidance for selecting, designing, implementing and maintaining software for managing records, including analogue records.

Both the functional requirements and guidance in the standard are consistent with the principles for managing records outlined in AS ISO 15489.1:2017, Information and documentation – Records management, Part 1: Concepts and principles.

Use of the standard by the Australian Government

We endorse the use of ISO 16175 by Australian Government agencies. This will support interoperability across agencies when making decisions to create and manage digital information and records. The standard assists agencies to:

  • review the information and records management functionality, or assess the compliance of an existing system; and
  • identify information and records management functionality to include in a design specification when building, upgrading or acquiring new systems.

The principles and functional requirements in the standard enable agencies to better manage their business information through:

  • enabling greater effectiveness and efficiency of operations
  • ensuring greater accountability, transparency and enhanced service delivery
  • increasing general awareness of automated records management capabilities
  • providing a foundation for government agencies, the National Archives and the wider information management profession to procure services and products from information technology professionals and software vendors.

We encourage software vendors to self-assess their products against this standard.

The Business System Assessment Framework

The Business System Assessment Framework will help to determine the right functionality for your agency. This Framework provides a streamlined, risk-based approach to the assessment of information management functionality in business systems consistent with AS/NZS ISO 16175.

ISO 16175 does not include the specifications for the long-term preservation of digital records. These requirements should be addressed separately as part of an agency’s digital preservation planning.