National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Records Management Standards

The State Archives Service actively works with the International Organisation for Standardisation on the establishment of international standards. The State Archives Service also contributes to the development of NEN-ISO, the Dutch organisation for ISO-standards.

The NEN-ISO 15489 standard of 2001 is oriented arounds records management for central government and its industries. It describes records management as the delivery of a policy that completely satisfies the needs of an organisation with regards to maintaining evidence and information about its activities and proof of its accountability. The standard expressly places records management in the service of the tasks or functions that an organisation carries out and the risks that result from the absence of good records management practices.

In 2001, the Nederlands Normalisatie Instituut (NEN) translated the international standard for information and records management into Dutch. NEN-ISO 15489 is a description of the steps that lead to the adequate organisation of information management, oriented around the tasks of an organisation. The standard is formulated at a rather high level of abstraction, so as to provide sufficient capacity for translation by specific organisations.  

The following subjects are discussed in the standard, including:

  • Policy
  • Allocation of responsibilities
  • Advantages of good information management
  • A method for implementing the standard
  • The different information management processes
  • Quality assurance and auditing
  • Training

The standard offers organisations a framework around which to formulate their requirements for records management. Supporting software is important in this process, but it particularly covers more organisational aspects such as responsibilities in an organisation, from management to all employees that have a role to play in ICT and information management. The general rule of thumb is that each organisation, or rather every type of business process, can have specific requirements for records management, and that these requirements must be foremost in the construction of a strategy.

Before an organisation can formulate its information policy, an analysis must take place. This must establish which documents are needed by which tasks, and which requirements must be met by them. It is also important to consider how businesses processes can be made more efficient or effective. Above all, the risks posed by a lack of reliable and authoritative documents must also be assessed. The conclusions reached after such an analysis can then lead to formulation of the information policy.

A related NEN-ISO standard is the NEN-ISO 26122: Business process analysis (Information and documentation – Work process analysis for records: 2008).