Noark is a Norwegian abbreviation for Norsk arkivstandard, or “Norwegian Archive Standard”. Noark was developed as a specification of requirements for electronic recordkeeping systems used in public administration in 1984 and quickly became established as the de facto standard. The standard was developed further with new reports in 1987 (Noark 2) and 1994 (Noark 3). This further development covered both modernisation in line with technological advances and expansions to the systems’ information content and functionality.

Noark 4, which arrived in 1999, became a common standard for public sector administration. Noark 4 took the standard a major step further by specifying a complete electronic records management system, integrated with e-mail and general case handling systems. Noark 5 further develops the principles from Noark 4.

When the Archives Regulation was introduced on 1 January 1999, it became mandatory for public bodies to use a Noark-based system, approved by the Director General of the National Archival Services of Norway, for electronic recordkeeping. When case documents are archived electronically, the system used must meet the requirements for electronic archiving in the Noark standard and have been approved for this purpose.

Noark 5 sets out requirements concerning record structure, metadata and functionality, but does not contain any requirements concerning how these requirements should actually be met in system development. Noark 5 therefore does not define a system, but facilitates for different solutions.

The requirements are stricter for depositing, transfer and migration. Obligatory metadata must be included in the export, and the export must have a defined structure.

The standard does not contain a description of procedures or the way in which different requirements can be met. Where it is necessary in order to understand the requirements, some introductory text has nevertheless been included before the tables of requirements.