Bringing order to document management and recordkeeping within an organisation is increasingly being seen as a necessity in order to improve efficiency and increase added value within the organisation. In an electronic environment, systematic and controlled records management may be even more difficult than in a paper-based system, as it can be impossible to know whether a document has been altered or which of all the versions that have been created is the “original”. Alternatively, the document may simply be deleted or impossible to recreate.

To ensure that the document is authentic and has its integrity maintained, it is a requirement that authenticated metadata is linked to the document. That a document is authentic means that the document is what it claims to be, e.g. by the fact that the identities of the parties in an electronic communication are correct. That the integrity of the document is maintained means that data has not been altered or destroyed in an unauthorised manner or erroneously; it is therefore a property associated with data which makes it possible to detect whether data has been altered in an unauthorised manner or erroneously.

Authenticated metadata means metadata which is intended to support the document’s authenticity and credibility, partly by giving the recipient information which can be utilised in connection with checks on the document’s content and sender.

It is important to be aware that recordkeeping and document management are organised differently. MoReq defines the differences as follows:

Solutions for document management Solutions for recordkeeping
Allows documents to be altered and/or stored in several versions without there being any control over which version is the final version. Prevents fonds documents from being altered and has version control.
Can allow the documents to be deleted by the document owner. Prevents documents from being deleted without them being subject to controlled, authorised disposal.
May contain some control over how long a document should be retained for and whether it can be deleted. Rigorous retention control, i.e. the solutions must have functions to manage the preservation, migration and disposal of fonds documents in accordance with established plans.
May contain structured document storage, which can be user-controlled Must contain a rigorous record structure with a classification system, which is maintained by an authorised administrator.
Performs the primary function of supporting the daily production and the use of documents in ongoing case handling. Supports the daily use of documents in ongoing case handling, but must also be a secure and credible archive for fonds documents.

Solutions for document management can therefore give no guarantee in the future that a document can still be retrieved or that it is readable or that the document that you do retrieve has not been altered. Solutions that have been developed specifically for recordkeeping, as the Noark standard facilitates, will ensure that the document can be retrieved, that it is readable and that it is authentic and has had its integrity maintained.