Help with using the Council of Europe's tools, good practices, recommendations, guides, policies and reference material. Many of the links on this page are only accessible to Council of Europe staff. If you require access to specific information, please submit a justified request by using the contact form

What names should I give to my files?

  • Use short filenames (no more than 30 characters), in the language of the document
  • Choose meaningful keywords that will help to find the document later on
  • Use dashes "-" instead of spaces
  • Use the underscore "_" and a language abbreviation (e.g. _eng) at the end when there is more than one language version
  • Use Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals unless the document reference already contains Roman numerals
  • Use either YYYY_MM_DD or YYYYMMDD for the date format. Place the date at the beginning, or at the end of the filename before the document status
  • Be consistent - use the same file-naming system for all documents
  • Do not use articles or linking words (for example: the, of, for, on, so, etc. in English or le, la, du, de, en, pour, donc, sur, etc. in French)
  • Do not use accents, cedillas or special characters ( ¨ ^ °  *  ‘ « » " ° ` # { } [ ] < > | \ / @ = ~ + * % $ € ? : & # ; ,).

Examples of good filenames:

Referenced document: EG(2004)5-violence-women_eng

Publication with ISBN or ISSN number: 978-92-871-6522-0-Learning-living-democracy_eng

Publication without an ISBN or ISSN number: ECHR-60-anniversary

Other document file: Satisfaction-Survey-2007-2013_eng

web page: crash-airliner-russian-egypt-condolences-secretary-general

For more information, see the Naming Files document on the Policies and Reference Documents page of the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site 

 

What access classification level should I give to my document?

The access classification level determines the read access right. Choose public, restricted, internal, confidential or secret after reading the explanations below:

Public applies to unclassified documents, for public dissemination

Restricted applies to documents made available to member governments and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe

Internal applies to documents that are accessible to all internal users, i.e. staff of the Council of Europe

Confidential applies to documents which can be accessed only by a specific group of internal users and, if applicable, external users defined by their roles. As regards official documents, for example, this group consists of member governments and the department or committee responsible for the document

Secret applies to documents which can be accessed only by a specific group of persons, who are listed by name and given authorisation by the secretariat or body concerned (Council of Europe Secretariat, Committee of Ministers or Parliamentary Assembly). Paper copies are numbered individually.

For more information, see the documents Guidelines for the document referencing and classification of Council of Europe documents,  Archival Policy of the Council of Europe, and the Transparency Database, available via the Policies and Reference Documents page of the Archives Correspondents' site. We also invite you to consult Committee of Ministers Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

 

How do I indicate the access classification level on my document?

It is recommended to indicate the access classification of a document in a footnote inserted next to the reference, together with information on its future declassification. For example:

This document has been classified restricted until examination by the XYZ Committee

This document has been classified confidential at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

This procedure has been introduced by the Committee of Ministers and should be followed as good practice, as it is in line with records management principles; official documents of the Council of Europe are locked records and modifications are not possible.

For more information, see the document Guidelines for the document referencing and classification of Council of Europe documents on the Policies and Reference Documents page of the Archives Correspondents' site

 

How do I share files too large for e-mail with people who do not have access to central applications?

MyCloud is a Web interface that allows you to share large files with persons who do not have access to collaborative workspaces or to a Council of Europe document or records management system. It also enables you to access your files any time using any device with Web access.

Link to MyCloud

User Guide and Quick Reference Guide

Rules for My Cloud 2014

 

What is a retention and disposal schedule?

A retention and disposal schedule is a timetable that sets out how long records need to be kept before it is safe to destroy them. It also identifies the records that need to be kept permanently in the Central Archives or other location. Each record (paper file, set of minutes, electronic document, photograph/digital image, audio cassette, film reel etc.) is not listed individually in the schedule: it is represented in one of several categories, called series, that are based on the activities of the Council of Europe. The records support and document these activities. A retention and disposal schedule usually covers all the records of an entity, so the Council of Europe has many schedules.

 

For more information, see the User Guide to Retention and Disposal Schedules.

 

What reference should I put on my document?

Source

References usually include an indication of the source, i.e. the authoring body, committee or department.

Entities can establish their own references which indicate the origin by use of an acronym, e.g. CM for Committee of Ministers, or CDCPP for Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape, as long as they take into account the guidelines presented in the document Guidelines for document referencing and classification of Council of Europe documents (see below). In this case, they have to manage the sequential numbers for documents themselves. Entities should use acronyms that already exist for a structure.

It is also possible to use as a reference the identifier provided automatically by the Council of Europe Records Management System. In this case, the acronym used is COE, e.g. COE(2012)0001724. For these references, both the year and the running number are generated automatically.

Year

When references include the calendar year of issue, this should take the form (YYYY), 4 digits within round brackets, e.g. CM(2004)10. If a document is re-issued, it should receive a new reference with the actual year of publication.

Length

The reference length should not exceed 25 digits (excluding suffixes).

Diacritics / Spaces

The reference must not include any diacritics (accents), nor spaces.

Language

The language of a document is not part of the reference. The reference is identical for all language versions. It is not recommended that the language version be written on the document.

Suffixes

It is possible to use suffixes to distinguish between versions or parts of a document. It is recommended to use abbreviated suffixes and these should be the same for all language versions, as they are not language specific. Suffixes can be further distinguished by numbers, for instance add1 or part2.

A suffix is hyphenated to the core reference without spaces, e.g. CM(2004)10-rev. If several suffixes are used, they are added directly without the addition of a hyphen, for example CM(2014)10-revadd. Adhering to these rules enables the use of “magic links” in the Council of Europe Records Management System: whenever a document reference is mentioned in the text of a Word document, an automatic hyperlink to documents which bear that document reference can be created with the help of a special function developed for MS Word.

The exact nature of the document version should also be mentioned in the title.

Abbreviations of suffixes are to be used consistently throughout the Council of Europe. The following abbreviations are recommended:

add (for Addendum)

amdt (for Amendment, Amendement)

app (for Annexe, Appendix)

corr (for Corrigendum)

fin (for Final, Définitif)

prov (for Draft, Provisoire)

part (for Part, Partie)

rev (for Revised, Rév, Révisé)

vol (for Volume)

For further information, please see the document Guidelines for document referencing and classification of Council of Europe documents on the Archive Correspondents' collaborative site

 

What are the recommendations for managing e-mails?

  • E-mail containing information that is not to be shared and does not need to be kept for long should be filed in sub-folders in your mailbox and then deleted as soon as you no longer require it
  • If you need to keep e-mails for longer than 2 years, you must move the messages concerned to the Records Management system or your Public Folders / collaborative sites
  • Your mailbox has a maximum size limit, which is 250 MB.  This "mailbox quota" includes your contacts, calendar appointments and tasks, in addition to the messages you have received and sent
  • Your entity’s Retention and Disposal Schedule  guides you with decisions about how long to keep documents (including e-mails)
  • It is recommended to store the full e-mail line (flow of exchange). To do this, you can set up your system so that the latest e-mail sent shows the entire sequence of e-mail correspondence.  Setting the Outlook “Replies and forwards” option to “include original message” will group e-mails on the same subject together.  Another possibility is to forward relevant e-mails and attachments so that they are included with your message.  Avoid using “copy and paste” when drafting the latest e-mail in the series
  • If e-mail correspondence relates to a review of the regulations or a request or application regarding a legal procedure, you should immediately contact the Archives to ensure that e-mail records are kept, in line with the legal hold requirements (process initiated by the audits/courts which suspends the usual processing of records during litigation)
  • It is recommended that you use the following sorting fields (metadata) for your e-mails: date sent/received, sender, recipient, subject line and attachment information
  • Some e-mails contain active URL links leading to an external information source.  URLs change. Saving an URL does not guarantee accessibility of the external source in the long term
Storing private e-mails
  • You should store e-mails unrelated to Council of Europe business in private mailboxes outside the Council system (e.g. Gmail, Orange, Yahoo, the internet provider you use at home etc.)
  • E-mails related to Council of Europe business such as cvs, job applications etc. can be stored on your P: drive.  Since the time limit for keeping items in these areas is 5 years, it is recommended that you store documents like this in personal mailboxes, as mentioned above, so that you can decide for yourself how long they will be kept
Storing work-related e-mails
  • To share work-related e-mails, move them to the Public Folders
  • E-mails containing fiscal evidence: move them to the Records Management System (or Public Folders if you are still using the old system)
  • E-mails containing legal or statutory evidence: move them to the Records Management System  (or Public Folders if you are still using the old system)
  • E-mails of historical value: move them to the Records Management System (or Public Folders if you are still using the old system).

Reference documents

E-mail Etiquette

Recommendations for e-mail

Instructions about sending emails to Permanent Representations

DGA/DIT(2014)1 - Corporate Retention Policy for Council of Europe Emails

 

What are current archives and how should I manage them?

Current archives are the files in frequent use that are related to ongoing activities. They can be in paper or electronic format. Current archives in paper format are kept in the office or nearby so that they are close at hand. Structure them and maintain them well so that they can be archived easily. Organise them with a view to eliminating documents in the future.  Sort them on a regular basis at least twice a year and eliminate any unnecessary clutter.

Current archives in electronic format are stored in personal directories (P:), shared directories, personal and shared mailboxes and on collaborative workspaces.

Personal directories (P:)

Personal directories are used to file:

  • working documents drawn up by individuals such as rough drafts, preliminary drafts of memos, speeches, reports, contracts etc.
  • external documentation, produced by other departments or organisations, used as a source of information on activities in progress
  • These directories are also used to file the personal items or documents of personal interest which are tolerated, with the exception of very voluminous files such as MP3, JPEG, EXE, PST

Shared directories

Shared network areas (for example Hawking-Share O) are used to store documents drawn up by a group of people

Recommendations for documents stored in personal and shared directories

  • delete the provisional versions of your files once the definitive version has been finalised
  • transfer the final version to a corresponding Public Folder
  • delete any out-of-date external documentation
  • transfer any documentation that might be of interest to your colleagues to an area intended for sharing information
  • make regular checks on the private files stored on your P: drive and delete the ones you no longer need (training requests, vacancy applications)

Personal and shared mailboxes - Responsibility for preserving incoming or outgoing messages  - See the Weeding Guide on the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site

Collaborative workspaces (SharePoint, TIKIWiki, E-room)

All documents created or stored on collaborative workspaces must be assessed in terms of their administrative utility period and the final action to be taken on them

It is also vital to draw up a retention and disposal schedule for every collaborative workspace that hosts documents with an administrative utility period of more than 10 years, and to designate a person responsible for archiving them in Public Folders pending their transfer to the Records Management System

For more information, see the Weeding Guide on the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site

What are intermediate archives and how should I manage them?

Intermediate archives are files preserved by the author departments in accordance with the administrative utility period, taking account of departmental needs and the statutory periods of limitation. They are consulted on the basis of their legal, financial or administrative importance and often relate to a completed activity or project. Intermediate archives in paper format include those files which, after sorting, will be deposited in the Council of Europe's Central Archives

Storing intermediate archives in paper format

These archives should be stored:

  • on the premises of the author department: office, corridor
  • on the premises of Central Archives (form 1601 in the Multiservice Assistant); or
  • in a reserved space in the basement of the Agora building.  If the department does not yet have a reserved space in Agora, its Archives correspondent must contact Central Archives via form 1604 in the Multiservice Assistant

At the end of the administrative utility period the author department will either destroy the files scheduled for destruction (form 1603 in the Multiservice Assistant). ; or deposit them in Central Archives for permanent preservation (form 1600 in the Multiservice Assistant). Destruction may take place only after validation by the Head of Central Archives

Storing intermediate archives in electronic format

  • Pending the roll-out of the Records Management System, transfer intermediate archives to the Public Folders
  • Organise files into directories and sub-directories using the same filing system as the paper equivalent to make both searching and sorting easier
  • Manage these documents in accordance with the administrative utility period and the final action to be taken on them (consult the entity's Disposal schedule)
  • Destroy the documents whose administrative utility period has expired, sending notification to the Information Life Cycle Division prior to destruction (form 1603 in the Multiservice Assistant).  Destruction may take place only after validation by the Head of Central Archives

For more information, please see the Weeding Guide on the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site

What are permanent archives and how should I manage them?

Permanent archives are files whose administrative utility period has expired. They are of historical interest or necessary to manage and justify the rights of physical or legal persons.

Permanent archives in paper format are stored in Central Archives (form 1600 in the Multiservice Assistant). Remove items having no historical interest from the files after checking your retention and disposal schedule.

Pending the roll-out of the Records Management System, permanent archives in electronic format are kept in the Public Folders

Recommendations

  • Delete copies of the same item stored on P: drives, in Public Folders and different shared areas so that only the original is kept
  • Organise files into directories and sub-directories using the same filing system as the paper equivalent to make both searching and sorting easier

For more information, please see the Weeding Guide on the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site

What is the role of the archive correspondents?

6 core functions have been defined for Archive Correspondants (AC)   

  • Ensuring liaison with Central Archives
  • Co-ordinating the management of his/her department's print and electronic archives
  • Attending the meetings of the AC community
  • Participating in the preparation and application of the retention and disposal schedule
  • Participating in the roll-out of ECM (Enterprise Content Management)
  • Communication and outreach to colleagues within the entity

We also invite you to consult the document Rôle des Correspondants Archives dans le déploiement de l’ECM) (French only) on the Archive Correspondents' Collaborative Site