Alfresco Records Management – Using Rules to Make Records Filing Easy for Users

In a previous blog post we wrote about a common enhancement we often make to ECM systems to automatically file documents based on metadata values. Without development work, performing this same function in a DoD 5015.2 compliant records management system was difficult. However, with the release of version 2.2 of Alfresco’s Records Management module, highlighted at Summit London 2014, the same concept can be extended to automatically file records.  This post will describe how to take the guess work out of filing and instead use Alfresco Rules to make it easy for users to declare and file records.

Benefits of Automating Record Filing

There are several benefits to using Alfresco Rules for filing records. First, it removes errors prone to manual filing. Second, it enables the creation of records folders dynamically based on the metadata values. Being able to create folders on the fly saves time when setting up the Records Management module as well as for the on-going management of the file plan.  Finally, capturing the filing logic in rules provides a form of checks and balances to confirm how the file plan is configured to handle the records.

In-Place – Easy to Use, Easy to Declare

From an Alfresco user’s perspective, filing a record becomes a lot easier with rules. The user simply needs to declare the document as a record in his or her Alfresco Share site and the set of rules processes the document’s metadata and files it. This declares the record in-place and it stays in the Share site and it is added to the Records Management Share site.

In Alfresco, the Records Management module is built of a separate Share site for specifically managing the record metadata, record holds, and disposition processes.  This diagram shows how the Records Management Share site supports managing the records from other business-centric Share sites.




This video shows how a user can declare an in-place record in Alfresco.

With In-Place record declaration, Alfresco shares the single document record (content node) and makes it available through its original Share site location and the Records Management Share site. If needed, the record can be linked to multiple folders in the Records Management site. This may be needed if the record meets the requirements of two or more filing Rules.


If a record meets two or more filing rules it will be linked to a primary records management folder and then also linked to a secondary or tertiary records management folder. Regardless to which folder it is linked, the disposition rules for the record are independently evaluated and the longest disposition period wins.


To learn more about the latest Alfresco RM 2.2 features, the full presentation on Alfresco RM 2.2 from Alfresco Summit is available here.  Please your thoughts and comments below.

Many thanks to Kevin Dorr at Alfresco for use of his slide detail from Summit!



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