When to submit an ADR

The purpose of an Architectural Decision Record (ADR) is to record an over-arching technical decision made by the development team in the Archivematica project. The development team consists of software developers, archivists, and digital preservation specialists. An ADR is akin to a policy in other contexts- it describes a way that future features or changes should be implemented, rather than describing the features themselves (to submit a feature idea, head to the Issues repository). Developers, analysts, and end-users will use ADRs to understand how code was written and implementation decisions that may be visible to the user.

Examples of situations when an ADR is appropriate:

ADRs may be written retroactively to make a record of core features or functionality.

How to submit an ADR

ADRs must be submitted as a pull request to this repository. To get started, first review currently accepted ADRs, then use the template to write yours. As per ADR-0000 the ADRs in this repository will use Markdown Architectural Decision Record formatting.

ADRs must be submitted with the status “proposed” in the heading of the template. An ADR can also be submitted as Work In Progress (WIP) if desired.

While ADRs are often technically focused, it’s good practice to write them in plain, understandable language (the Archivematica docs style guide provides good guidance on this subject).

When you submit an ADR be sure to assign at least one reviewer. If you’re concerned about understandability you might include a reviewer of a different background than your own (e.g. assign an analyst as a reviewer if you are a developer and vice versa).

How an ADR is reviewed and merged

The purpose for code review of an ADR is:

Once the ADR is approved it can be merged by the submitter. While the code review ensures understandability of the ADR, all Archivematica team and community members are encouraged to participate in discussion about the proposed changes.

ADR statuses

After discussion and code review the ADR may be merged with the status accepted (or rejected, or remain in proposed if deemed more appropriate). ADRs can also be deprecated, or superseded by another ADR.

Changes to the ADR process

To propose changes to ADR templates or these guidelines, file an issue in the Archivematica Issues repo.

More information

More information on Markdown Architectural Decision Records (MADR) is available at General information about architectural decision records is available at