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Subject: Re: Technological Obsolescence of Records
From: "mckinney, susan" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:01:01 -0600

text/plain (55 lines)

Let me just play devil's advocate on this one for a bit...I've been thinking
about this all night, and it is very curious to me.

A couple of scenarios, and I'm going to throw them both out at the same
time, since I'll be in meetings until 4pm and won't have time to play the
rest of the day.

Scenario #1:

Company X changes email systems.  After looking at the cost of migration of
info vs. technological obsolecence, company X decides to keep the old system
for 1 year, then destroy all the info based on the cost justification that
keeping or migrating the data would be too costly compared with the value of
the info on the system.  This is well documented with costs, etc.  3 years
later, Company X is called into court.  They bring in their justification
documents.  Now, based on the knowledge of our judicial system, and maybe
even jurors, what do you think would happen???

Scenario 2:  Company Y is cleaning out some of their old storage space, and
comes upon a box of tapes marked email and dated 1999.  Company Y changed
email systems in 2000, and does not have the operating system to run the
older tapes, and also does not know what exactly is on the tapes.  The
retention schedule for correspondence is 5 years, so they have not met
retention yet, and there is no pending litigation on any issue currently in
the company.  The question is this:  Destroy the info since it can't be
read, documenting that it was found, etc. in the files, or keep it, knowing
that it can't be read.  I wonder if this came into court, what looks better:
having info one can't read at all, and the cost of trying to do that, or
getting rid in the "normal course of business" after doing an analysis of
the situation and documenting it.

I have to admit that after thinking over these situations, I wonder if Mr.
Wright doesn't have a point in some cases?  This is where we start asking
the hard questions...what would we do, and what could we justify.  I think
we should be careful to dismiss the alternatives before we look at all

OK, off to meetings, presentations, conference calls and the rest of the
day.  Anyone got coffee???


Susan McKinney, CRM
Records & Information Management
University of Minnesota
502 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN  55455
(612) 625-3497
(612) 626-4434 (fax)
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