Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (the Principles)

What is Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (the Principles)?

Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles is a framework for managing records in a way that supports an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk mitigation, environmental and operational requirements.

Framework for the Principles

The framework -- also known as simply the Principles -- has eight precepts for creating information governance best practices. They include the following:

  • Principle of Accountability. An organization shall assign a senior executive who will oversee a recordkeeping program and delegate program responsibility to appropriate individuals, adopt policies and procedures to guide personnel and ensure program audit ability.
  • Principle of Transparency. The processes and activities of an organization's recordkeeping program shall be documented in an understandable manner and be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties.
  • Principle of Integrity. A recordkeeping program shall be constructed so the records and information generated or managed by or for the organization have a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.
  • Principle of Protection. A recordkeeping program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection to records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret or essential to business continuity.
  • Principle of Compliance. The recordkeeping program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities, as well as the organization's policies.
  • Principle of Availability. An organization shall maintain records in a manner that ensures timely, efficient and accurate retrieval of needed information.
  • Principle of Retention. An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, considering legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational and historical requirements.
  • Principle of Disposition. An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records that are no longer required to be maintained by laws and organizational policies.

History of the Principles

The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles were created in 2009 and updated in 2017 with the assistance of ARMA International and legal and IT professionals that reviewed and distilled global best practice resources.

These best practices included the international records management standard ISO 15489-1 from the American National Standards Institute and court case law.

The Principles were vetted through a public call-for-comment process involving the professional records information management (RIM) community.

This was last updated in May 2023

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