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Electronic archiving

It is becoming increasingly common for public documents to be consigned to, and drawn up by, public authorities in electronic form. The same laws and regulations apply to university documents whether they are electronic or on paper, but the conditions for handling and archiving electronic documents are different and require different measures. This page tells you what to do with electronic documents.

Contents on this page:

Choosing an electronic format

You should choose a durable archiving format for a document when you create it (set it up). The following formats are approved by the Swedish National Archives:

Document type and recommended format:

  • Text and office documents (text, spreadsheets, graphs, MS Office documents): PDF/A-1
  • Scanned paper documents: PDF/A-1
  • Email:  PDF/A-1 or HTML
  • Sound files: Wav/Wave or Mp3
  • Video: MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 (with PAL colour coding)
  • Images – photographs, graphics, logos, drawings: TIFF or JPEG (for higher compression needs)
  • Images – graphics, logos, drawings (not photographs): PNG
  • Maps and drawings – CAD: PDF/E
  • Maps and drawings – GIS: GML
  • Maps and drawings – Raster: CALS
  • Websites: HTML, XML, XHTML, PDF 1.4

Making electronic documents searchable (metadata)

Metadata is descriptive data, i.e. information about information. By assigning documents metadata, you make it easier for your own organisation to retrieve and reuse information. You contribute to legal certainty (e.g. when a student asks for their study results) and you facilitate future delivery to long-term preservation systems (e-archives).

Metadata can be data that you register in an IT system together with the documents (e.g. status, department, document type), properties that you specify for an office document (e.g. author, title, subject, comments) or other information that can be linked to a document. Office documents include electronic letters, reports, policy documents and other documents with a defined content and appearance. Office documents are the electronic equivalent of traditional paper documents.

Remember to enter all requested information continuously into the relevant IT system and to follow the rules on how the information should be registered. When naming files and folders or equivalent, it is also important to give them clear and consistent labelling/naming that can be understood and searched for over time.

Storage of electronic documents

In order to secure the storage of electronic documents before they are delivered to the University’s e-archive, the following applies:

  • Documents and information in an organisational system should be stored in the system, provided that the system meets the requirements for information security.
  • Documents in the form of stand-alone files or databases should be stored on a server managed by an operating organisation and backed up regularly.
  • Shared folder directories and storage areas should not be equated with archives but can sometimes be used for temporary storage of limited amounts of information.
  • CDs and DVDs, USB sticks and portable hard drives should not be used for material to be preserved long-term, as these storage media vary in quality and longevity. They are mainly suitable for use as backups. If you are going to use these storage options temporarily, make sure to choose products of a high quality.
  • If the documents are confidential or have other access restrictions, it is important to ensure that they are stored and transferred in such a way that they cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons. Also bear in mind that there is an obligation to register confidential information.
  • For any questions about temporary storage solutions and information security, contact the Service Desk at servicedesk [at] lu [dot] se or your IT department.

Procurement of new systems from an archival perspective

When procuring new systems at Lund University, it is important to consider from the outset what metadata should be added to documents. Another thing that will benefit the system in the long run, and can minimise the risk of information loss, is to only allow the uploading of documents in formats laid out in the Swedish National Archives’ regulation (RA-FS) 2009:2.

Be clear from the start with those who will use the system that they should name their files consistently and clearly. This facilitates searches in the system, ensures legal certainty and is also cost-effective as no additional work will be required to rename files afterwards. It is also important to consider what possibilities there are for the deletion of documents when introducing a new system.

Read more about preservation and disposal of documents.

Think about what types of documents the system will store, and if any of them are eligible for disposal. Check the Records Management Plan if you do not know offhand. Is it possible to distinguish between the documents that can be deleted and the documents to be saved? What is the best way to label the documents so that it is clear which ones are not to be saved?

Lund University’s e-archive

All documents to be preserved in IT systems and in storage areas at Lund University will eventually be delivered to a system for long-term preservation, the central e-archive.

Things to think about before delivery to the e-archive

If your organisation is considering archiving electronic documents that you store in an electronic system, you as the system administrator, system owner or information owner must be aware of the conditions for delivery to the e-archive. Below is a brief description of key steps to be carried out and some points to consider.

All deliveries to the e-archive should be done in project form. This means that you and your organisation must be prepared to invest time and resources in the project. You must consider whether you still need the documents in your daily activities. After delivery, the documents are considered delivered to the University Archives, which means that a request for documents must go through the University Archives’ shared mailbox.

Before a delivery, you and your organisation should make an inventory of the documents in the system and delete all documents that are not being kept. Read more about which records should be preserved and which should be destroyed on the page Preservation and disposal of documents.

During an inventory, it is important to make sure that no unnecessary personal data is left in the system. Unnecessary personal data is personal data that has not been collected for the purpose of the organisation fulfilling its task.
You and your organisation also need to consider whether the documents in the system are sufficiently labelled with metadata, for example that the document is named after the document type and not “Unnamed1”. Do a spot check – try searching for a specific file in the system. Does it show up? Does it need metadata added?

Delivering to the e-archive

There are two archivists at the Records Management and Archives Division and three IT technicians at the Division of IT working on the e-archive.

If you are interested in delivering documents to the e-archive and thus starting a delivery project, please contact us at universitetsarkivet [at] legal [dot] lu [dot] se.




For questions regarding the e-archive or interest in archiving electronic information contact:

University Archives
universitetsarkivet [at] legal [dot] lu [dot] se (universitetsarkivet[at]legal[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 16 70
Monday-friday 09.00-11.30.

For more detailed questions regarding electronic preservaton contact:

Madelene Svensson
madelene [dot] svensson [at] legal [dot] lu [dot] se (madelene[dot]svensson[at]legal[dot]lu[dot]se)

Kajsa-Stina Ågren Jönsson
kajsa-stina [dot] agren_jonsson [at] legal [dot] lu [dot] se (kajsa-stina[dot]agren_jonsson[at]legal[dot]lu[dot]se)