Archive and record content

Before you remove content from your website, you’ll first need to archive it for some time after. This is evidence of government business and is a Commonwealth record.


Find out what you need to keep

Websites are Commonwealth records. There are rules about how you manage major changes to government websites.

For major updates, or when you decommission a website, you’ll need to keep a copy of the website. This is a legal and business requirement.

For minor updates that only affect a few pages, you may be able to use your CMS.

The records and information management people in your agency will be able to inform you about requirements. They will also know how long you'll need to keep content.

They should work with you to create an Information Management Plan.

Your agency should have a Records and Information Manager. If you don’t have one, contact the National Archives:

Archiving for Commonwealth records

There are several ways to ensure your website has been captured as a record.

Check with the National Library if they’ve stored your website

The National Library of Australia (NLA) might do this. This will be a snapshot of your website as part of the National Library's Australian Government Web Archive (AGWA). This meets Commonwealth archival requirements. You'll need to consider saving a copy for your business purposes.

If the site you want to remove content from is not archived with the AGWA, contact them. Ask if they will capture it in their next website harvest: Under special circumstances would they capture a website on request.

Be aware of certain restrictions the National Library capture might have. For example, PDFs might be stored in different systems, there could be complex JavaScript, or downloading is disallowed because of robots.txt.

If your website is not stored with the National Library

You’ll need to send a copy of your website to the National Archives. You can use tools such as HTTrack, or similar software. These tools will snapshot your website for sending to the National Archives.

You may need to contact your ICT area to ensure that local HTML files work properly. If you have any questions please contact the Archives via the Agency Service Centre.

You do not need to include linked objects that are separate from the website. For example, transactions and datasets.

Archiving for business records

Your agency may need to keep a record of the versions of content. If so, you should use a recognised information management system such as a CMS.

The best ways are either: A content management system (CMS) or electronic document record management system (EDRMS).

If you can't capture your content in a recognised information management system, you'll need to find another way.

If you're only making a minor change

Capture your website content and manage it in your CMS or EDRMS from the point of creation. This makes sure you're able to make changes to content but also meet government record requirements.