What is ISO 16175?


ISO 16175 is a suite of standards designed to harmonise principles and functional requirements for records management in all business systems, both line-of-business systems and dedicated "electronic document/records management systems" or "enterprise content management systems" (EDRM/ECM) systems, applications or modules, enabling them to create and manage authentic and reliable digital records.


ISO 16175 Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments, is organised into three modules:

  • ISO 16175-1: 2010 Overview and Statement of Principles
  • ISO 16175-2: 2011 Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments
  • ISO 16175-3:2010  Guidelines and Functional Requirements for Records in Business Systems

ISO 16175-1

ISO 16175-1 establishes fundamental principles and functional requirements for software used to create and manage digital records in office environments. It is intended to be used in conjunction with ISO 16175-2 and ISO 16175-3.

ISO 16175-1 establishes the high-level principles of good practice, guiding principles, implementation guidelines and lists risks and mitigations for the purpose of:

  • enabling better management of records in organisations;
  • supporting the business needs of an organisation by enabling greater effectiveness and efficiency of the operations;
  • providing, through wider deployment of automated records functionality, enhanced abilities to support auditing activities;
  • improving capabilities to comply with statutory mandates specified in various information-related legislation (for example, data protection and privacy);
  • ensuring good governance (for example, accountability, transparency and enhanced service delivery) through good management of records;
  • increasing general awareness of automated records management capabilities via the dissemination of key principles; and
  • maximizing cross-jurisdictional consistency regarding the articulation of functional requirements for managing records and to enable the global archives, records and information management community to speak with one voice to the software vendor community.


ISO 16175-2

ISO 16175-2 is applicable to products that are often termed EDRMS/ECMS. ISO 16175-2:2011 uses the term 'digital records management systems' for those software applications whose primary function is records management and covers ‘Office’ records, e.g. objects created by email, word processing, spreadsheet and imaging applications (such as text documents, and still or moving images), where they are identified to be of business value.

ISO 16175-2 articulates a set of functional requirements for digital records management systems. These requirements apply to records irrespective of the media in which they were created and/or stored. The requirements are intended to:

  • define the processes and requirements for identifying and managing records in digital records management systems;
  • define the records management functionality to be included in a design specification when building, upgrading or purchasing digital records management systems software;
  • inform records management functional requirements in the selection of commercially available digital records management systems; and
  • review the records management functionality of, or assess the compliance of, an existing digital records management system.

ISO 16175-3

ISO 16175-3 is a standard designed to harmonise principles and functional requirements for managing records in business systems, enabling them to create and manage authentic and reliable digital records.

ISO 16175-3 specifies general requirements and guidelines for records management and gives guidelines for the appropriate identification and management of evidence (records) of business activities transacted through business systems. It gives guidelines:

  • to understand processes and requirements for identifying and managing records in business systems;
  • to develop requirements for functionality for records to be included in a design specification when building, upgrading or purchasing business system software;
  • to evaluate the records management capability of proposed customized or commercial off-the-shelf business system software;
  • to review the functionality for records or assess compliance of existing business systems.


ISO 16175-3 can be used by records professionals to guide the development of electronic systems, so that they are able to manage the organisation's records.

ISO 16175-3 provides IT professionals with information to design and test in-house software developments to ensure that they are capable of creating, capturing and managing authentic and reliable  digital records.

 ISO 16175-3 lists recordkeeping requirements for business systems, and applications, and can be used as a checklist to assess system functionality.

Saim Riaz
Saim Riaz
Secretary to TC 46/SC11
Standards Australia

+61 2 9237 6073
Postal Address: GPO Box 476 Sydney, NSW, 2001, Australia