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Subject: Re: Technological Obsolescence of Records
From: Gary Vocks <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:38:52 -0600

text/plain (85 lines)

My thought about scenario #2 is that just because Company Y doesn't have the
system to read the tape doesn't mean that it can't be read.  Destroying it
before the end of it's retention period would NOT (IMHO) be "in the normal
course of business"!

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

----- Original Message -----
From: "mckinney, susan" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 9:01 AM
Subject: Re: Technological Obsolescence of Records

> Let me just play devil's advocate on this one for a bit...I've been
> 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
> info vs. technological obsolecence, company X decides to keep the old
> 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
> 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,
> 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
> 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,
> that it can't be read.  I wonder if this came into court, what looks
> 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
> options.
> OK, off to meetings, presentations, conference calls and the rest of the
> day.  Anyone got coffee???
> Fondly,
> Susan
> 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)
> [log in to unmask]
> List archives at
> Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance

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