Digital Appraisal

What is Digital Appraisal?

Digital appraisal is the process of deciding which records organisations should keep for permanent preservation and which records should be deleted.

Government departments must transfer records of historical value for permanent preservation to The National Archives within a time period of 20 years (previously 30 years). Before records can be transferred, they must be appraised and selected for permanent preservation and reviewed for sensitivity.

However, with the growing shift from physical records to born digital records and the escalating volume and quantity, as well as the ever-evolving transition of technology, the lifecycle of information over the past two decades has altered significantly. Almost all information today is created and held digitally. This ranges from documents and presentations to email and spreadsheets and much more. All are information formats that need to be managed appropriately.

The challenge is that over the past two decades the technology and approaches haven’t been applied consistently or effectively for managing the lifecycle of born-digital information.  This has led to the digital heap where organisations are left with a mass of digital data stored on shared drives and legacy EDRM platforms that is poorly organised and indexed, and often archived data is virtually inaccessible.

How Datalift can help:

Datalift offers an intuitive interface for the analysis and classification of data, facilitating informed decisions on subsequent actions. Its capability for content interrogation, including keyword and pattern searching, assists in comprehending data that may be less familiar to the business due to its age.

Datalift enables users to make well-founded, defensible decisions regarding legacy data through a user-friendly interface. This approach simplifies the complex process of evaluating and managing outdated information by providing tools that streamline the decision-making process. Users can efficiently assess, categorise, and determine the appropriate course of action for their legacy data, ensuring that each decision is justifiable and in line with organizational policies and regulatory requirements.

Discover how the Cabinet Office achieved £0.5m savings on storage costs per year against a dataset of 11 million files in 170 different file formats. Additionally, the government departments’ time in motion study showed that without Datalift it would’ve taken 59 staff a year to review the documents at a cost of £2.2m to the public purse. Watch the video below.


Automated Intelligence provides an interactive dashboard enabling the following features:

  • Duplicate Detection: Visibility of exact file content duplication across different information repositories
  • Pattern Detection: Auto-detection and extraction of ‘out of the box’ PII/PCI patterns with custom pattern support
  • Advanced Search: Keyword and phrase search with results highlighting for document review and selection
  • Policy Action: Fully-audited defensible disposition for redundant, obsolete and trivial data at source
  • Security: Visibility of users and groups with data access for information detection
  • Dynamic Categorisation: Rules based classification of metadata and content for records identification, selection & reporting
  • Embedded Objects: Analysis and indexing (i.e. email attachments) for keyword and pattern matching
  • Image to Text: Text extraction and familiar object description to extend search to images and non-OCR files
  • Cloud Processing: Secure cloud architecture for processing, analysis & review to protect existing infrastructure


Datalift will enable you to excel your digital appraisal methodology including:


Gain full visibility of disparate data repositories for faster macro-appraisal and selection


Combine metadata, structure and content search for reporting to assist business function engagement


Perform relevancy scoring against collections to filter redundant, obsolete and trivial files


Identify records to be retained and whether they can be transferred closed or open due to sensitivity


Extract and preserve structure, metadata and content to enable faster decommissioning


Audited data migrations available to provide support for internal preservation and TNA transfer


Cover image for file: Digital Appraisal Infographic

Digital Appraisal Infographic

17 Oct 2022
Cover image for file: Automated Intelligence Solutions Overview

Automated Intelligence Solutions Overview

26 Apr 2023



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Cover image for file: Appraising Information Through Value & Risk Whitepaper

Appraising Information Through Value & Risk Whitepaper

16 Mar 2022
Cover image for file: 20 Year Rule: Managing the Digital Deluge Whitepaper

20 Year Rule: Managing the Digital Deluge Whitepaper

17 Aug 2022

Cabinet Office Video Case Study

Discover how the Cabinet Office are using our digital appraisal solution

Digital Appraisal Blog

We outline what has led to the challenges Government organisations are now facing in relation to digital appraisal