Records are those pieces of information that have an intrinsic worth which makes them important enough to save, and keep secure, for their evidential value.
ISO 15489 describes an “authoritative record” as being a record that has the characteristics of:
As explained in ISO 15489, the aim of all records management systems should be to ensure that records stored within them are authoritative. Summarising, an authoritative record:
- can be proven to be what it purports to be;
- can be proven to have been created or sent by the person purported to have created or sent it;
- can be proven to have been created or sent at the time purported;
- can be depended on because its contents can be trusted as a full and accurate representation of the transactions, activities or facts to which it attests;
- is complete and unaltered;
- can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted.
The requirements in MoReq® are designed to ensure that records stored in an MCRS are authoritative. However, compliance with MoReq2010® alone is not sufficient; the existence of, and compliance with, corporate records management policies is also required within every organisation.
The illustration is from the MoReq2010® specification and contrasts two different types of document: to the left a shopping list written on the back of an envelope compared to a receipt on the right of the same items purchased from a shop. The accompanying caption states, "One of these is probably not a record... the other may be".