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RECMGMT-L  November 2004, Week 2

RECMGMT-L November 2004, Week 2

Subject:

Re: "theory" question

From:

Kathleen Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 8 Nov 2004 09:25:48 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

This is a little late, but, I am the records manager for a County and have
unofficially appointed myself as the archivist as well since no one is
filling that function.  This is a new operation and when the records stored
in the usual attics, basements, etc. were being gathered in the new records
center I saw the need to preserve the historical records and items we were
finding.  It's a rather schizophrenic job style since the records manager
wants to dispose of everything when legal and the archivist wants to keep
everything!  Not perfect because of facility limitations, but it does work
for the County.

-----Original Message-----
From:   Larry Medina [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Tuesday, October 26, 2004 11:10 AM
To:     [log in to unmask]
Subject:        Re: "theory" question

>I haven't read the article but couldn't agree more with the premise that
>archivists and records managers must work together.  Archivists can't come
>into the equation at the end (especially with electronic records) and
expect
>to have the infrastructure and expertise to permanently preserve these
>records.  Waiting until the active life of the record has ended will
>typically be too late or cost more in blood, sweat, tears, and money
because
>no thought was given to using standardized hardware, software, and media.



Well... I guess there are a couple of schools of thought here...

The requirements to manage active records during the useful (business and
ongoing research) portion of their lifecycle are a bit different than those
used to manage them during their "archival life".  The active system must
be much more robust, able to support the needs of multiple users in a
production environment and it's not at all uncommon for data to need to be
converted and migrated multiple times to stay accessible for the user
population and stay ahead of the curve on obsolescence.

For the archivist to be involved much prior to the end of the
active/required lifecycle of the records seems to be
counterproductive.  There is a need for them to understand the formats
records are maintained in during their active lifecycle to determine how to
handle and address those issues when the records are transferred for
appraisal, but that's where their primary concern begins.

One of the areas that I've found problematic if the archivist isn't
familiar enough with the RIM Policies and Procedures is they are prone to a
desire to evaluate materials being managed in an organization and attempt
to secure them during their active lifecycle as holdings for the archives,
which is inappropriate.  Records should be managed in a consistent manner
across an organization until they have met the end of their required
retention and then they can be processed as archival holdings, which
typically apply a completely different theory to the method of organizing
and managing "materials".  When they reach the archive, they are no longer
records... they are holdings.

I think it's appropriate for the archivist to be involved in the
development of the Retention Schedule, so that items of significant
interest for preservation due to their intrinsic, historic or other value
when they have reached the end of their retention can be identified for
transfer to the archives for evaluation prior to final disposition.  This
can be properly noted in the retention schedule under the "disposition"
column to ensure they are not simply discarded.

Larry

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