There is always a point at which one has to make a judgment call.
Actually, I do think that there is need for defining microforms, and insofar
as paper is not one thing either (look at preservation/degradation issues
relative to paper composition) it wouldn't hurt to define paper more
broadly. I do agree with Pilar that the concept is never ending and evolves
along with technologies. IMO, the most critical factor is how the document
will be used and not every document requires a comprehensive set of
To clarify, however, it was ARMA, not the SAA, that I suggested should
consider broader usage. That organisation does have a mandate to expand and
raise awareness in ways I do not see as necessary in the archival community
(yes, deeper/broader dialogue needed on this topic - over a glass sometime
As a long time practitioner through the ranks and leading internationally, I
have found that a significant barrier to the success of RM programs is its
virtual isolation from the thinking of those in other domains. (Sadly, this
is also true of archives where even some people responsible for the function
have limited grasp of its relevance--and where some practitioners are so
caught up in the "they ought" paradign that the idea of demonstrating
relevance is resisted...but I digress).
My view is that any effort that builds understanding of how our work is
relevant beyond our own desks is important. And, being a frugal kinda guy,
I like building that relevance into a hundred little decisions that are
integrating into practice in place of (sometimes along with) a larger
expenditure on a more overt promotion of the domain that lives briefly and
is archived. Language issues are fundamental to taxonomy design, consistent
classification of information and application of procedure under policy.
The comment was not intended as criticism. Rather, I simply offer the view
that there is (IMO) a need for us to pay greater attention to how we shape
the language that defines us--within our professions, and in bridging to
those whom we serve--and are reliant upon for funding, compliance, etc. Here
in Asia, I'll take all the help I can get to reveal the fundamental
importance of recorded information in all its forms.
John James O'Brien, CRM, MALT
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