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Subject: Re: electronic docs + OCR - and Docs vs Records
From: Grahame Gould <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 23 Oct 2003 10:06:33 +0800

text/plain (81 lines)

No need to apologise Glenn.  I accept your logic (although I reject your
conclusion), and it's great we're having this discussion.

Perhaps I should accept that anything that can be a record is a document,
but I like Chris' comment that we don't make the definitions (although his
other statements seem to run counter to that thought).  If we define
document as (almost) any thing (or anything), are we flying in the face of
the generally accepted definition of that word?  Are we creating our own
jargon?  How can we converse intelligently with non-Records (and even
non-IT) people if we speak a different language?


-----Original Message-----
From: Glenn Sanders [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, 23 October 2003 06:28
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: electronic docs + OCR - and Docs vs Records

This is an answer to Bogdan on the RECMGMT list and also a reply to
various recent postings on that list and the RMAA one about the difference
between records and documents. Apologies for cross posting.

Here in Australia the Federal and NSW State Evidence Acts basically say
"if you can read it, regardless of the technology you may or may not need
to do so, it's a document". Any document, regardless of whether it is a
record, can be evidence in court, which is to my mind is different from
being ISO 15489's "evidence of a business transaction".

But what of audiotapes etc? Again, my reading is that they certainly can
be evidence under the Evidence Acts, which implies that any RM program
must at least consider whether they become records. Just like phone calls
or face to face conversations.

And our State Records Office have issued a specific disposal instruction
for surveilance videorecordings, which implies that these at least are

I think the recent debate over which is a subset of what, documents or
records, has been muddied by a lack of recognition of the (subtle?)
difference between records as evidence of a business transaction, and
documents as evidence in court. Whether a document is a record is an
administrative construct of little or no relevance in court.

Certainly the Federal investigators who recently raided the collapsed Pan
company recently in Sydney didn't bother with distinctions like this, they
just grabbed as highest priority all the PC's. And can you imagine Bill
Clinton refusing to answer a question about an email exchange with Monica
on the grounds that the email isn't a record?

I think the remorseless application of logic leads relentlessly to records
being a subset of documents (sorry Grahame).

Finally, I have to stress in any communications where I work that whatever
I do covers 'hardcopy AND electronic records'. The reason is simple: I'm
still waging a war to get across the message that a record is a record
regardless of medium, from the moment of creation, not just if and when it
is printed, and there are still lots of people out there who do not
appreciate this, or for political reasons do not want to recognise this. I
hope one day not to have to constantly repeat this mantra.



Glenn Sanders MRMA
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]

These views are mine alone. They may or may not be those of any previous
or present
employers or clients. I don't know. If I'd asked and they'd agreed, I
would have signed
it "Bloggs and Co and Glenn". Or whatever. But I haven't, so I didn't.

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