Digitisation Terms & Phrases

What is Digitisation/Digitising

The means of converting hard-copy or non-digital records into digital format [1] ‘Scanning’ (or imaging) is one method of digitising records. Scanning converts hard-copy records into digital records.


Digitisation can be carried out relatively cost effectively, but being able to prove authenticity is the most important consideration. Refer to the AS/NZS ISO 13028:2012 Information and documentation – Implementation guidelines for digitization of records. Organisations should consider addressing the requirements in this document before proceeding with any digitisation.


Digitisation is a transitional process, required while organisations are making the move from paper files to electronic systems used to manage files/folders. Already the bulk of all documents and correspondence are born digital. However, many documents may be printed out and sent to an addressee via hard copy mail for a variety of legitimate and or custom or courtesy reasons. As digitisation is a transitional process it is suggested that investment be directed towards moving rapidly towards fully electronic operations and documents rather than investing heavily in a transitional process.

What is Back-Capture Digitisation/Digitisation Project

Establishing a Back-Capture Digitisation Project enables the business to access and use the digital reproduction as well as the original hard copy source document/record.

Retrospective or project-based digitisation of existing sets of non-digital records are used to enhance accessibility, maximise re-use or for preservation purposes [2].

Note 1: In such projects, the business action has been completed on a non-digital form of the record prior to digitisation and for ongoing management purposes the non-digital record on which the business action took place, or which evidences the action, remains the official record of action [3].

What are Born Digital Records/Documents?

Records which are created in digital form, without a non-digital equivalent, for example an email, word document, spreadsheet, web page, or database file. [4]

What are Digital Records/Documents?

Records created, communicated and/or maintained by means of electronic or computer technology, including both born-digital records and records that have been digitised. [5]

Digital records (i.e. captured electronically) kept in electronic format as evidence of the organisations’s business activity, these records may be born digital or converted to digital format.

What is a Record?

Information created, received and maintained as evidence and as an asset by an organization or person, in pursuit of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. [6]

What is an Authentic Record?

An authentic record is one that can be proven to:

  1. Be what it purports to be
  2. Have been created or sent by the agent purported to have created or sent it; and
  3. Have been created or sent when purported

Business rules, processes, policies and procedures which control the creation, capture and management or records should be implemented and documented to ensure the authenticity of records…[7]

What is Evidence?

Evidence is the documentation of a transaction and a transaction is the smallest unit of a work process consisting of an exchange between two or more participants or systems. Note 1: This is proof of a business transaction which can be shown to have been created in the normal course of business activity and which is inviolate and complete. It is not limited to the legal sense of the term. [8]

Why is Authenticity Important?

In the context of digitisation, ‘authenticity’ signifies that the digitised version of a record is an accurate, true and complete reproduction of the original source record. The digitised record must replicate specified attributes of the source record and be proven to be what it purports to be.

What is Digitalisation/Digitalization?

Digitalization is the integration of digital technologies into everyday life by the digitization of everything that can be digitized. … Digitalization also means the process of making digital everything that can be digitized and the process of converting information into digital format. [9]

What is Digital Disruption?

Digital disruption is a transformation that is caused by emerging digital technologies and business models. These innovative new technologies and models can impact the value of existing products and services offered in the industry. This is why the term ‘disruption’ is used, as the emergence of these new digital products/services/businesses disrupts the current market and causes the need for re-evaluation. [10]

What is Digital Transformation or Transition?

Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way. [11]

Digital Transition is where organisations progressively move to digital records and information management for efficiency purposes and other benefits.

Depending on your current situation, digital transition may require your organisation to:

  • commit to digital information management practices by discouraging the creation and use of paper for retention purposes
  • review work processes and information flows to determine where paper-based practices can be replaced by digital practices
  • limit the creation of paper-based information to that which must be kept and managed as paper, for example, information with security or legislative requirements that can only be met in paper format
  • implement measures to scan incoming paper information where it will provide efficiencies or other benefits
  • (when acquiring business systems) consider how the records will be managed for as long as they are needed. Give preference to those systems that effectively support records management and comply with the international standard ISO 16175 Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments. [12]
Number Footnote
1 International Organisation for Standardization, AS/NZS ISO 13028:2012 Information and documentation – Implementation guidelines for digitization of records
2 Archives of New Zealand (2007) Digitisation Standard: S-6 Standard for Digitising Non-Electronic Records for Recordkeeping Purposes and Retention of Non-electronic records in Electronic Form Only
3 Op. Cit.
4 Op. Cit.
5 Digital Records Queensland Government Chief Information Office Retrieved on 22 November 2019 from https://www.qgcio.qld.gov.au/publications/qgcio-glossary/electronic-digital-records-definition
6 International Organisation for Standardization ISO 15489-1 2016 Information and documentation – Records Management – Part 1 Concepts and principles. SIA Global
7 Ibid
8 Ibid
9 IGI Global Digitalization Retrieved on 20 December 2016 from http://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/digitalization/7748
10 Oxford College of Marketing. Digital Disruption. Retrieved on 20 December 2016 from http://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2016/02/22/what-is-digital-disruption
11 I-Scoop Digital transformation: online guide to digital business transformation Retrieved on 22 September 2016 from http://www.i-scoop.eu/digital-transformation/
12 National Archives of Australia Digital Transition Policy (2011) Manage digital information wherever it is held Retrieved on 22 November 2019 https://www.naa.gov.au/information-management/information-management-policies/digital-continuity-2020-policy/digital-transition-policy#clarifications