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Document Management System - Revisions & Out of Date Documents

1. What happens when a document undergoes the revision process? Is the original document kept online until the revised document replaces it or does the original document get pulled until the revisions are complete (and thereby leaving users with no document to reference).

2. What happens when a document goes past designated review time frame (annually, every 3 years, or whatever)? Does it remain online for viewing by all?

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
You could mark the obsolescent document “about to be updated - see <name of process owner>“.

And you could mark the document overdue its review likewise “review is overdue - see <name of process owner>“.

insect warfare

QA=Question Authority
1. Typically, in most situations the latest revision of a system document is kept public, until new changes are drafted, reviewed and approved by relevant authorities in the organization. Assuming your document control process is solid, the quicker this happens the better. For additional clarification, you should also refer to your organization's requirements and (if applicable) whatever your industry's (ISO/AS/TS) requirements mandate.

2. In cases like these I would recommend starting the review process for those documents well before the expiration date. During the review keep the current versions public (and somehow denote that they are undergoing a review) until your organization confirms that they are OK, require changes or needs archived. Pulling a document from online viewing prior to a review may result in double work (if your organization determines there are no changes needed to that document and you end up having to re-publish the very same document).

In both situations time is of the essence, so as long as you go about doing things without undue delay you should be fine.

Brian :rolleyes:

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
Yes, we must stop inadvertent use of obsolete docs so they’d be kept in a separate archive. Such docs are still available with planned retrieval.
If you don't keep the last revision (preferable offline in a controlled manner), how do you revert back if the new practice is not as good as what you had (i.e. control of changes)?

How do you assess the effectiveness of the change?

How do you do root cause analysis to see if the change cause the problem if you don't keep the history?

And finally, does the practice of getting rid of documents meet your own internal policy of retention (as per 7.5)?
If you don't keep the last revision (preferable offline in a controlled manner), how do you revert back if the new practice is not as good as what you had (i.e. control of changes)?
If you use a document change notice of some kind - with details of the actual change - you won't need to keep the document as a history. Just as with engineering drawings, if the correct level of detail is included, a change notice should be sufficient to track wuch things.
I think that you are confusing "documents" and the need to maintain and retain... You may wish to check your understanding. Having worked for some period in a design engineering function, I can confidently state, they didn't keep the actual previous drawings (pre CAD) for all revisions, but they did file all related ECNs. It's the same practice as makes good document control for a QMS.
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