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Subject: Re: Classification Schemes
From: "Laiche, Elizabeth" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 9 Mar 2005 10:37:49 -0600

text/plain (75 lines)

As this topic is near and dear to my heart, here's my two cents worth...

We use the concept functions as the basis for our document/records
operations and all electronic file plans, and have defined it as such:

A "function" is a business process that is independent of the
organization's departmental structures; a "function" can be moved from
one department to another without changing the basic process (start/end
points, work flow, documents needed to perform the actions associated
with the function, and the end result of the process).

Our company's "records management function" is a good example of this
definition.  In the last 5 years, this "function" has been placed under
three different departments and departmental names, all of which were
under three different directorates.  Regardless of where it was moved,
the business process of managing records continued to operate exactly
the same.  The same sub-functional processes--records inventory and
disposition, records storage, record retrieval, records destruction, and
records disaster recovery--applied, regardless of where the main RM
function was relocated.  The same drivers applied (most DOE directives
regarding federal records). These sub-processes were carried out using
the same forms and procedures.  The only thing that changed was the name
of the department, and the directorate to which the oversight
responsibility of records management was transferred during the

-----Original Message-----
From: Records Management Program [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Chris Campbell
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 5:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Classification Schemes

A problem with the word function is the lack of a definition. The
international Records Management Standard (15489) suggests
classification schemes should be made up as follows:

'Classification schemes may be derived from analysis of business
processes to ensure that the records and their metadata descriptions
accurately represent the business processes that created them.

The structure of a classification system is usually hierarchic and
reflects the analytical process as follows:

a) The first level usually reflects the business function.

b) The second level is based on the activities constituting the function

c) The third and subsequent levels are further refinements of the

(pt2, p9)

But the standard does not explain what a function is.

A simple definition I like is one given by an early writer on business
analysis by function and activity, James Martin. He defined a function
as a task that the organisation must accomplish. This sets a limit on
the number of functions there should be in a classification scheme for a
particular business. If a term doesn't stand for a task of the business
then it doesn't have a place in the list of functions. The term may
stand for the subject of a particular document held by the business but
that doesn't qualify it to be a function.

Chris Campbell
[log in to unmask]

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