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The digitisation of records management makes it easier for any organisation, which handles a large volume of documentation, to clearly identify which types of documents should be retained.

In administrative records management, it is essential to be aware of the difference between archival documents and supporting documentation. It is impossible for an organisation to preserve all the records that pass through its hands. It is therefore essential to know exactly which records are essential to the business and should be preserved and which are secondary and can be disposed of. So, within the document management system, what differentiates one from the other and how should they be stored?

What is an archival record?

An archival record is a document created or received by an organisation in the course of an activity, according to the Digital Archival Preservation Glossary. Their main quality is that they are original and unique. According to the Law of 4/1993 on Archives and Documentary Heritage of Madrid, "an Archival Document is understood to be any expression of the activities of man and human groups in any language and on any type of material support. It excludes multiple documentation of a purely informative nature and that which, due to its nature, forms part of the bibliographic heritage".

Original and unique

They are thus a primary source of information and can be found in all kinds of media (written, photographic, audio, digital, etc.). Examples are: files, minutes of meetings of governing or administrative boards, staff pay slips, legal opinions, entry books, etc.

What is supporting documentation?

Supporting documentation refers to those secondary sources of information that assist in the administrative management of an organisation but are not part of the administrative procedures as such. Some examples would be: photocopies of resolutions, information dossiers, lists of suppliers, legal texts, commercial catalogues, etc.

Main differences between archival documents and supporting documentation

  • While archival documents are single copies, supporting documentation consists of multiple copies and can also be edited.
  • Unlike supporting documentation, archival documents are documentary heritage..
  • As already mentioned, the former are a primary source while the latter are a secondary source.
  • Archival records are organic assemblages and are based on the value of their evidence. However, supporting information records are an artificial whole based on the value of the information they contain.
  • For all these reasons, archival documents are preserved and passed to the central archive while the others do not have the same fate.

Alejandría, the easiest way to organise archival documents.

File management in companies and administrations has become a fundamental aspect when it comes to storing the information generated. For this reason, from Cuatroochenta we have developed Alejandría, a document management software capable of storing, managing and controlling the movement of archive documents, both physical and electronic, which generates an organisation with the maximum security guarantees.