LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for RECMGMT-L Archives


RECMGMT-L Archives

RECMGMT-L Archives


View:

Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font

Options:

Join or Leave RECMGMT-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives


Subject: Re: Definition of Record vs Document
From: Gary Vocks <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 22 Oct 2003 08:44:20 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (259 lines)


IMHO, the word "document" as a noun should be banned from the "Records
Management" lexicon.  Too many people hear the word "document" and think
"paper".  I know that there is a need to define what we're speaking of but I
really think that we're  setting ourselves up for more questions and
confusion when we try to apply paper-oriented definitions to the modern
electronic world.

An example that comes to mind is a surveillance camera tape (or digital
record on disc or in memory) from a particular camera.  If someone were to
ask you if that is a document or a record how would you define it?  My guess
is that it is both but my answer would be, "What does it matter?"  It, IMHO,
is a record of what happened (or didn't happen) at your company or agency
and, as such, should be scheduled for retention or disposition in your
records management program.  It may be grouped with other tapes; it may be
grouped as part of a general "security logs" record series, or it may be
grouped as part of an even more general "facility record" series; but it is
still a record.

But, as long as we have people thinking and defining in the terms that
relate to the days of paper and quill we'll have a hard time convincing them
that they have to think differently in the era of electrons,  magnetic bits,
and pits on a disc.  Maybe we need to scrap both words and coin something
new.

Gary Vocks
Records Management Officer
Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine
Springfield IL  USA

   > -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Pearce-Moses [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 10:08 AM
> To:
> Subject: Definition of Record vs Document
>
>
> I've been struggling with the definitions of document and record quite a
> bit recently.  (Everyone needs a hobby ;^)  If I've learned one thing,
> it's that the definitions change with context.  For example, in
> government, something may fall within the scope of the public records
> law, but not within the business record exception to the hearsay rule in
> the Federal Rules of Evidence.  That same thing may or may not be
> covered by FOIA.
>
> Then we get to more philosophical distinctions from records management,
> which distinguishes between official records, record copies, and
> non-records.
>
> One of the real challenges of defining these terms is that people often
> use the general term 'record' or 'document' when they mean something
> more narrow.  That, no surprise, leads to enormous confusion for people
> using the same term with very different understandings of what those
> terms mean.  In fact, some people use document as a synonym of record,
> while others use them to refer to two very distinct things.
>
> Given that, here are my current definitions (with notes) of document and
> record (comments welcome).
>
> -- Richard Pearce-Moses
>   Director of Digital Government Information
>   Arizona State Library and Archives
>
>
> DOCUMENT
>
> n. ~ 1. Any written or printed work. - 2. Information or data fixed in
> some media. - 3. Information or data fixed in some media, but which is
> not part of the official record; a non-record. - 4. A written or printed
> work of a legal or official nature that may be used as evidence or
> proof; a record.
>
> Notes
>
> Document[1] is traditionally considered to mean text fixed on paper,
> especially those that are flat (nearly two-dimensional). However,
> document2 includes all media and formats. Photographs, drawings, sound
> recordings, and videos as well as word processing files, spreadsheets,
> web pages, and database reports are now generally considered to be
> documents.
>
> Like records, documents are traditionally understood to have content,
> context, and structure. However, the nature of those attributes may
> change in electronic documents. Electronic formats can present
> information in complex layers that are three-dimensional or have a
> non-linear structure. The phrase 'four-corners document' is sometimes
> used to distinguish between an electronic document that can be printed
> on paper without loss of information from more complex, three
> dimensional documents. Similarly, some electronic documents' content do
> not have fixed content, but may change over time; for example, a word
> processing document that pulls data from a constantly changing database.
> These documents are described as dynamic documents to distinguish them
> from traditional, fixed documents
>
> In some contexts, document is used to refer to an item that is not a
> record[2, 3], such as drafts, duplicates of record copies, and materials
> not directly relating to business activities. In this sense, documents
> not usually not included on retention schedules and can be disposed of
> without authorization.
>
> However, in other contexts, document[4] is used synonymously with
> record[2, 3]. In this sense, record connotes an official document,
> especially the final version of those created in the routine course of
> business with the specific purpose of keeping information for later use
> as evidence or proof of the thing to which it refers.
>
> In some instances, there are clear distinctions between a document and a
> record. For example, in civil litigation in the United States all
> documents held by an organization are discoverable. However, those
> documents are admissible as evidence only if they fall within the
> definition of business record in the Federal Rules of Evidence (or state
> equivalent).
>
> Document is often used interchangeably with publication, although this
> use has the sense that there are many identical copies in distribution.
> This use common in state and federal depository libraries that collect
> government documents.
>
> A document's content may reflect formula and convention in its
> structure, including formal rules of representation, literary style, and
> specialized language that reflect the author's political, professional,
> or social cultures. A document's physical characteristics may also
> follow conventions relating to the medium, organization of internal
> elements, and presentation of the information.
>
>
> RECORD
>
> n. ~ 1. A written or printed work of a legal or official nature that may
> be used as evidence or proof; a document. - 2. Data or information that
> has been fixed on some medium; that has content, context, and structure;
> and that is used as an extension of human memory or to demonstrate
> accountability. - 3. Data or information in a fixed form that is created
> or received in the course of individual or institutional activity and
> preserved as evidence of that activity for future reference. - 4. An
> instrument filed for public notice (constructive notice). - 5. Audio * A
> phonograph record (see sound recording). - 6. Computing * A collection
> of related fields treated as a unit, such as a row in a relational
> database table.- 7. Description * An entry describing a work in a
> catalog; a catalog record.
>
> Notes
>
> The use of the general term record when referring to a particular type
> of record inevitably leads to confusion because attributes of the
> particular type are not conveyed by the general term. In particular, see
> business record, which is defined in the Rules of Federal Evidence, and
> public record, which is defined in law. Similarly, records are not
> synonymous with archives; while an archives collects records, not all
> records merit on-going preservation.
>
> A record[1, 2, 3] has fixed content, structure, and context.
>
> Content is the text, data, symbols, numerals, images, sound and vision
> that make up the substance of the record. A record's ability to fix
> information so that it can be repeated, recited, or recalled at a later
> date functions as an extension of memory and is at the heart of the
> concept of record. A record may be created specifically to preserve
> information over time or to prevent future misinterpretation of that
> information, although a record cannot be presumed to be reliable without
> authentication. However, any item - no matter how ephemeral it was
> intended to be - may serve as a record if it is later used as evidence
> of the thing to which it refers.
>
> Fixity is the quality of content being stable and resisting change. To
> preserve memory effectively, the record's content must be consistent
> over time. Records made on mutable media, such as electronic records,
> must be managed so that it is possible to demonstrate that the content
> has not mutated or been altered. A record may be fixed without being
> static. A computer program may allow a user to analyze and view data
> many different ways. The database itself may be considered a record if
> the underlying data is fixed and the same analysis and resulting view
> remain the same over time.
>
> Structure refers to a record's physical characteristics and internal
> organization of the contents. A record's structure is the form that
> makes the content tangible and intelligible. Physical characteristics
> include components and methods of assembly, such as paper, ink, seals,
> and font families, or character sets, encoding, and file formats.
> Structure also includes the intellectual organization of a document. A
> record's structure may be very simple, such as plain text on a page; it
> may be organized into an outline or sections with headings; or it may be
> highly complex, including a preamble, the body, and the signatures of
> witnesses. A document's structure is contained within boundaries, which
> define the record as a unit and give it identity by distinguishing it
> from other information. A record may consist of many physically or
> logically discrete parts that function together as unit, such as several
> pages or data values from many tables. However, those parts must be
> bound together in some fashion.
>
> Context is the organizational, functional, and operational circumstances
> surrounding a record's creation, receipt, storage, or use. Context
> includes a record's date and place of creation, compilation, or issue,
> and its relationship to other records.
>
> Records may be in any format, including text, images, or sound. However,
> the concept of record is ultimately independent of any specific carrier
> or format. Paper records may be microfilmed, and electronic records may
> be transferred from memory to disk to paper.
>
> A records is often unique, whereas a publication is always created in
> multiple copies. However, a record may be a single copy of many that has
> been selected for preservation or special treatment (a record copy). For
> example, a publisher may keep one copy of each publication as a record.
>
> Record[2, 3] is sometimes used with the sense of record copy or official
> record, a complete, final, and authoritative version that is preserved.
> This sense of record is distinguished from non-record or document[3],
> which includes copies of the official record or materials that are not
> scheduled and can be disposed of without authorization.
>
> Record is frequently used synonymously with document. To the extent the
> vernacular uses record to refer to any document, without specification,
> the terms are synonymous. However, the concept of record is independent
> of format, and it includes things that are clearly not documents. For
> example, an artifact may serve as a record if it is preserved to bolster
> human memory or to demonstrate accountability.
>
> Records are sometimes distinguished from papers, with records referring
> to items that were generated as the result of routine activities or a
> transactions, especially those of an organization. Papers refer to
> documents created on a more or less ad hoc basis, especially those of an
> individual.
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
> Disclaimer:   The information contained in this communication is subject
to
> copyright and intended only for the use of the addressee(s). Unauthorised
> use, disclosure, or copying is strictly prohibited. Should a virus
infection
> occur as a result of this communication the sender will not be liable. If
> you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
> Disclaimer:   The information contained in this communication is subject
to
> copyright and intended only for the use of the addressee(s). Unauthorised
> use, disclosure, or copying is strictly prohibited. Should a virus
infection
> occur as a result of this communication the sender will not be liable. If
> you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.
>
> List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance
>

List archives at http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main RECMGMT-L Page

Permalink



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager