LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for RECMGMT-L Archives

RECMGMT-L Archives

RECMGMT-L Archives


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


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

Subject: Re: Role of a Records Department
From: WALLIS Dwight D <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 15 Nov 2001 09:27:52 -0800

text/plain (75 lines)

Karen, without knowing the scope of your program, the first thing that
struck me in your proposed presentation is the emphasis on destruction.
Don't take this wrong, but this could give the impression that you are - in
essence - a glorified shredder. Yet, destruction is just one element of
records management. For example, you had to develop retention policies to
help you determine what to destroy, and - I'm assuming - what not to
destroy. Incidentally, it's not uncommon in my experience to see this
emphasis on destruction in newly established programs. Often, the whole
reason a program started was because someone ran out of space somewhere and
wants to know what to do with all of the old junk, but has some vague notion
that just tossing the stuff in the dumpster may not be a good idea. In my
own case, our program for years was seen as, and even marketed as, a very
easy to use warehouse for the storage of records and not much more.

As I'm sure you know, there's more to records management than destroying
records, or - in my case - storing them. Yet, based on what I'm seeing in
your presentation, clearly destruction is on everyone's mind (just as
storage was in my case). This is a good thing because you now have a hook to
get your customers into a larger system of records management. It's getting
folks into the system that often is the greatest challenge and provides the
greatest benefits, and if destruction processes are what do it, more power
to you. What I would suggest, however, that you attempt somehow to place
that process into a larger context.

Is it really the destruction of the records that is important in the long
term, or the development/maintenance of policies and processes that result
in the legal and orderly destruction of records (among other things)? My
guess is, it's the development/maintenance/management issues that occupy the
majority of your time/budget - destruction is just the end process. I would
try to bring those larger management issues into the picture, and place
destruction within that larger records management context. IN that way you
can start building a case for the
processes/staff/technology/facilities/etc... needed to ensure the
destruction process is carried out effectively (just as I was able early on
to build a case for the larger role of records management by pointing out
that things such as retention schedules, archives, etc.. are needed to make
the warehouse function properly). Otherwise, in your case, you may find that
after the initial big destruction, there's not a lot of support for
continuing records management since - well -  the destruction was

The county went through a phase like this before I arrived. The retention
schedules were "done", so all the county needed to do was hire low paid
warehouse folks to be "records management". All the professional records
people were let go. When the warehouse started falling into total disarray,
they hired me. My original position was only partially records oriented - I
was really to be a jack of all trades assigned to ...whatever. In fact,
after 2 weeks my boss suggested that the records piece was "done" and we
could turn it all over to the warehouse folks again. What I managed to do
over time is connect the warehouse to the larger world of professional RIM,
to where the records center is now seen as only a portion of the program's
overall responsibilities (and benefits to the county). I sense you have a
similar situation before you where you can leverage interest in one element
of a total RIM program into something larger. You just need to define that
larger RIM world a bit more, and place destruction within that context. You
certainly have the enthusiasm, and if you don't lose things, you're already
one step ahead of me (I'm notorious for misplacing pens, notepads, coffee
cups, etc..! Oddly enough(and fortunately), I don't lose records, but some
day I think a study should be done on how much it costs to locate misplaced
coffee cups. $180/lost cup? Downtime due to insufficient caffination?).

Hope this helps!

Dwight Wallis, CRM
Records & Distribution Services Manager
Multnomah County Fleet, Records, Electronic & Distribution Services (FREDS)
... AKA the "...whatever" division ;>)
2505 SE 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202
Ph: (503)988-3741
Fax: (503)988-3754
[log in to unmask]

List archives at
Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance

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



CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager