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Subject: Re: RECMGMT-L Digest - 6 Jun 2005 to 7 Jun 2005 (#2005-154)
From: Rick Barry <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Jun 2005 13:29:58 EDT

text/plain (82 lines)

Dear colleagues, Aussie and American alike: One of the first things I
learned when I started consulting in Australia about 10 years ago was that the
terms "disposal" as used in Australia is equivalent to "disposition" as used in
the US, i.e., as Marita Keenan has noted to reflect any kind of disposition,
not  just destruction. It was at first confusing to me because in US those terms
have  different meanings, the term "disposal" at least in recordkeeping
circles and to  a large extent beyond, being equivalent to destruction. While I'm
sure there are  exceptions, I was also told that the term "disposition" really
isn't used at all  widely in Australia. It is similar to the use of the term
"recordkeeping" which  as I understand it has a much broader (and I think more
correct)  connotation embracing all aspects of archives and records
management, than  it does in the US, where the term is used much more narrowly. Yet, I
gather that  the US got its way with the term as it was used in ISO15489. (I'd
be interested  to learn if others have a different understanding of that.) I
think it  comes from the traditional US life cycle approach that makes great
distinctions  between so-called "current" and "permanent" records than is the
case in the  Australian continuum approach, even though the Australian AS4390
standard was  the basis for ISO 15489.

As to the substance of the original question about the appropriateness of
"disposition management," I personally think it is a much more  preferable term
for a couple of reasons. As noted earlier, retention  schedules include
dispositions other than destruction. But beyond  that, especially with electronic
records, not just using the term  "disposition" but actually making disposition
schedules include other than  just recordkeeping schedules or, as a minimum
providing the wherewithal to  do so at a later time. In scheduling records, why
should we take a narrow view  that only recordkeeping concerns be addressed?
Why not a broader organizational  perspective that includes such dispositions
as HSM (hierarchical storage  management), knowledge management, security
classification downgrading, security  declassification, FOI, etc.? This approach
could have a number of advantages. It  could help to get other parts of the
organization to schedule documents in a  manner similar to the way that they are
scheduled for recordkeeping purposes.  Harmonizing the various interests in
scheduling records could also reveal  contradictions that need to be addressed,
including cases in which other parts  of the organization may be retaining
electronic records inconsistent with the  law, e.g., if certain records are
scheduled by law for recordkeeping purposes  for say 3 years while people dealing
with content in the organization's KM  system are maintaining them indefinitely.
It also lets the rest of the  organization know that RM professionals are
interested in a more holistic  approach to CM/DM/RM and might help to make more
allies with other scheduling  interests in the organization. If a large part of
records management is about  control of records, it would seem that such an
approach would be very  appropriate.


Rick Barry
_www.mybestdocs.com_ (
Cofounder, Open Reader Consortium
_www.openreader.org_ (
In a message dated 6/8/2005 12:06:28 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:


Date:    Wed, 8 Jun  2005 08:10:40 +0800
From:    Marita Keenan  <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Nitpicky Terminology  Question

Oh dear Glen

As an Aussie I have to say that I do  intorduce the term disposition when
training and point out that it means  not only destroy but any action to
remove it from the organisation the most  obvious being deposit in a formal
(e.g. government) archive.  However,  I do agree that it is not commonly used
but I think, from a training  perspective, that upcoming records managers do
need to be aware of the term  and its correct meaning.

Marita Keenan
Alchemy  Knowledge Solutions
[log in to unmask]

Suite 7 / 100 Mill  Point Rd.
South Perth W.A. 6151
M: 0417 096 703
Tel/Fax 61 8  9447.7782

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