Managing web information as records and archiving websites

Why keep records?

The Public Records Act 2005 makes all central and local government organisations responsible for creating and maintaining full and accurate records of their activities. This includes activities undertaken on their behalf by independent contractors. These records help your organisation run efficiently, as well as support government accountability and provide information about New Zealand's governments, society and citizens. Over time, they provide a corporate memory for the organisations that created and used them, and a collective memory for the New Zealand government as a whole.

In the course of a working day, people create, receive, or use records, data, and information of all types. They may be the means by which a transaction occurs, such as a contract or letter seeking or receiving information, or they may be created to reflect a transaction, such as minutes taken at a meeting or an electronic payment of an invoice. The information that contributed to a transaction or its outcome can also constitute part of the record. Records:

  • Provide documentation, or evidence, of activities
  • Include both original sources of information and copies of information
  • Come in a variety of media/formats such as paper, electronic (analogue or digital), and can be documents, letters, emails, digital images, sound recordings, or web pages.

For more information about the Public Records Act and keeping records see Archives New Zealand's Fact Sheets on the Continuum website:

Websites and web information as records

Web records should be captured and managed within recordkeeping systems so that they are linked to business activities, retain records of past actions and fix the content and structure of records.

In practice web records can be captured and managed within recordkeeping systems either by capturing the records into existing corporate recordkeeping systems, or by integrating recordkeeping functionality into websites during their redevelopment or design.

More information on managing web records can be found in Archives New Zealand's Guide to Managing Web Records.

This guide is under review as part of Archives New Zealand's Web Information Continuity Project (details below).

Web Information Continuity Project

Archives New Zealand is undertaking a project until June 2009 to research current and international trends in the management of web information. As part of this project a new guide was developed to support the management of web records and provide guidance on web archiving and the disposal of web information.

The research findings and new publications are available in PDF format on the Archives NZ web site.

If you would like further information about this project please email:

Further reading

Advice and guidance

The Government Recordkeeping Programme at Archives New Zealand provides advice and guidance to central and local government on the creation and management of records. For further advice on managing websites as records email: or phone (04) 499 5595.