Steve Bailey is cited as follows: "He argued that we need new email
management policies and that we should listen to users. Not talk *to* them
or worse yet tell them what to do. But to understand how people use their
email accounts, then build reasonable management controls that will not be
evaded around those practices."
Regarding email and other desktop systems where the individual is the
primary records custodian: Rather than imposing enterprise taxonomies on
such systems for purposes of compliance, I wonder if a better approach would
be to train individuals to better tag/name their own information in a way
that makes sense to them, and helps them do their jobs.
A simplified classification approach would still apply: to paraphrase
Meadke, Robek and Brown, tags/names should be "logical, standardized,
practical, simple, functional, retention conscious, mutually exclusive, and
flexible". With some modification, these are basic trainable concepts that
can have meaning and use to individual users.
Our own surveys and experience indicate user frustration with organizing the
information they maintain. As technologies proliferate, individuals are
increasingly becoming responsible for their own compliance with organization
requirements. Perhaps they should become responsible for their own
"classification" as well. Presumably, a self developed classification would
have a better chance for compliance than one imposed externally, if that
compliance is the responsibility of the individual user. It doesn't have to
be hierarchical, it could use existing folder/tagging/naming technologies,
it doesn't even have to be particularly consistent - it just needs to help
the user do their job better.
To my knowledge, this type of training - "what to call stuff" - is not
widely done, as the skill is assumed. Most naming convention guidelines I've
seen focus more on structure, less on content. Most classification training
I've seen is focused on shared or enterprise systems. What if we trained the
same concepts, simplified, at the individual level?
Dwight Wallis, CRM
Multnomah County Records Management Program
1620 SE 190th Avenue
Portland, OR 97233
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