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Handbook for Trustworthy Information Systems: Section 9

Criteria Group 5: Associated Metadata

Questions to Ask

  • What are the components of a complete or final record of a transaction?
  • What are the minimum components necessary to provide evidence of a transaction? If you went to court, what would be the minimum information you would need?
  • Are there any laws, regulations, or professional best practices that specify the structure (including medium, format, relationships) of the record of a transaction or any of its components?
  • What information is necessary to interpret the contents of a record?
  • During which agency business processes might you have to access a record?
  • Who are the external secondary users of your records?
  • What are the rules, laws, and regulations that restrict or open access to these records to external secondary users?
  • What are the procedures for reproducing records for use by secondary users? What are the reproduction formats?
  • Is there a mechanism to indicate sensitivity level on hardcopies? Who can enable/disable this function?
  • What are your industry’s standards for records retention?
  • What is the records disposition plan?
  • Who is responsible for authorizing the disposition of records?
  • Who is responsible for changes to the records disposition plan?
  • How does the system accommodate integration of records from other systems?
  • Who can access record metadata? Alter? Delete? Add?

Special Questions to Ask for Data Warehouses

  • Do you gather extraction metadata?
  • Do you cleanse the data? Do you document the procedure? Do you gather cleansing metadata?
  • Do you transform the metadata? Do you document the procedure? Do you gather transformation metadata?
  • What metadata and/or documentation do you offer users?
  • Who can access metadata? Alter? Delete? Add?
  • What are the legal liabilities regarding data ownership and custodial responsibilities? Where do data custody responsibilities reside—with the source systems, the warehouse system, or both?
  • Are there records retention schedules and policies for warehouse data? Is retention of warehouse data coordinated with retention for data extracted from source systems?


Criteria Group 5: Each record and/or record series should have an associated set of metadata.

Did You Know:


  • The Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard is administered by the Minnesota Department of Administration, Office of Technology, as IRM Standard 20. The standard is geared to Minnesota government entities at any level of government. It includes both mandatory and optional elements, and may be applied at either the record or record series level. The standard is referenced in the Minnesota Enterprise Technical Architecture under Chapter 4, “Data and Records Management Architecture.” A complete discussion of the standard’s purpose, structure, and requirements found here.


5A. The Minnesota Recordkeeping Metadata Standard includes twenty elements. Each is listed below along with associated sub-elements and the obligation for implementation. 

1. Agent (** mandatory)
Definition: An agency or organizational unit responsible for some action on or usage of a record. An individual who performs some action on a record, or who uses a record in some way.

1.1 Agent Type (mandatory)
1.2 Jurisdiction (mandatory)
1.3 Entity Name (mandatory)
1.4 Entity ID (optional)
1.5 Person ID (optional)
1.6 Personal Name (optional)
1.7 Organization Unit (optional)
1.8 Position Title (optional)
1.9 Contact Details (optional)
1.10 E-mail (optional)
1.11 Digital Signature (optional)

2. Rights Management (** mandatory)
Definition: Legislation, policies, and caveats which govern or restrict access to or use of records.

2.1 MGDPA Classification (mandatory)
2.2 Other Access Condition (optional)
2.3 Usage Condition (optional)
2.4 Encryption Details (optional)

3. Title (** mandatory)
Definition: The names given to the record.

3.1 Official Title (mandatory)
3.2 Alternative Title (optional)

4. Subject (** mandatory)
Definition: The subject matter or topic of a record.

4.1 First Subject Term (mandatory)
4.2 Enhanced Subject Term (optional)

5. Description (optional)
Definition: An account, in free text prose, of the content and/or purpose of the record.

6. Language (optional)
Definition: The language of the content of the record.

7. Relation (optional)
Definition: A link between one record and another, or between various aggregations of records. A link between a record and another information resource.

7.1 Related Item ID (mandatory)
7.2 Relation Type (mandatory)
7.3 Relation Description (optional)

8. Coverage (optional)
Definition: The jurisdictional, spatial, and/or temporal characteristics of the content of the record.

8.1 Coverage Type (mandatory)
8.2 Coverage Name (optional)

9. Function (optional)
Definition: The general or agency-specific business function(s) and activities which are documented by the record.

10. Date (** mandatory)
Definition: The dates and times at which such fundamental recordkeeping actions as the record’s or records series’ creation and transaction occur.

10.1 Date/Time Created (mandatory)
10.2 Other Date/Time (optional)

11. Type (optional)
Definition: The recognized form or genre a record takes, which governs its internal structure.

12. Aggregation Level (** mandatory)
Definition: The level at which the record(s) is/are being described and controlled. The level of aggregation of the unit of description (i.e., record or record series).

13. Format (optional)
Definition: The logical form (content medium and data format) and physical form (storage medium and extent) of the record.

13.1 Content Medium (mandatory)
13.2 Data Format (mandatory)
13.3 Storage Medium (mandatory)
13.4 Extent (optional)

14. Record Identifier (** mandatory)
Definition: A unique code for the record.


Did You Know:

  • Under the Minnesota standard, modified records are considered new records and are thus assigned new identifiers.


15. Management History (** mandatory)
Definition: The dates and descriptions of all records management actions performed on a record from its registration into a recordkeeping system until its disposal.

15.1 Event Date/Time (mandatory)
15.2 Event Type (mandatory)
15.3 Event Description (mandatory)

16. Use History (optional)
Definition: The dates and descriptions of both legal and illegal attempts to access and use a record, from the time of its registration into a recordkeeping system until its disposal.

16.1 Use Date/Time (mandatory)
16.2 Use Type (mandatory)
16.3 Use Description (optional)

17. Preservation History (optional)
Definition: The dates and descriptions of all actions performed on a record after its registration into a recordkeeping system which ensure that the record remains readable (renderable) and accessible for as long as it has value to the agency and to the community at large.

17.1 Action Date/Time (mandatory)
17.2 Action Type (mandatory)
17.3 Action Description (mandatory)
17.4 Next Action (optional)
17.5 Next Action Due Date (optional)

18. Location (** mandatory)
Definition: The current (physical or system) location of the record. Details about the location where the record usually resides.

18.1 Current Location (mandatory)
18.2 Home Location Details (mandatory)
18.3 Home Storage Details (mandatory)
18.4 Recordkeeping System (optional)

19. Disposal (**mandatory)
Definition: Information about policies and conditions which pertain to or control the authorized disposal of records. Information about the current retention schedule and disposal actions to which the record is subject.

19.1 Retention Schedule (mandatory)
19.2 Retention Period (mandatory)
19.3 Disposal Action (mandatory)
19.4 Disposal Due Date (mandatory)

20. Mandate (optional)
Definition: A source of recordkeeping requirements. For example, a piece of legislation, formal directive, policy, standard, guideline, set of procedures, or community expectation which (explicitly or implicitly) imposes a requirement to create, keep, dispose of, or control access to and use of a record.

20.1 Mandate Type (mandatory)
20.2 Refers To (mandatory)
20.3 Mandate Name (mandatory)
20.4 Mandate Reference (optional)
20.5 Requirement (optional)



Consider This:

  • Where records are not individually authenticated, record series metadata may include the name or title of the individual responsible for validating or confirming the data within the record series, and for confirming that the particular series was produced in accordance with standard procedures.




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TIS Handbook last updated July 2002, Version 4.