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[log in to unmask] wrote:

> While content is certainly important, what makes a record a record is this
> content's place in a meaningful physical and intellectual context.  We
> understand and schedule records based on their function in and worth to our
> organizations.  The more unstructured the data (no matter the medium) the less
> meaningful any records based on the data are.  I think most of us would agree
> that at some point data become just numbers and words when they are divorced
> from the circumstances of their creation and use.  We have to make sure that
> sufficient metadata are created and preserved to help the content retain its
> "recordness" for as long as required.
>

Folks,
Not to beat a dead records issue any more but I think this is the point I was
trying to make.  In the past if one found a series of numeric entries on pages of a
book one could define this as a "ledger" and give it an appropriate retention
period.  Now those numeric series may be in a relational database that can be
sliced and diced in a number of ways by a report writer application and one of
those ways may still be called a ledger.  If the numeric series in the relational
database never goes away how can one say that the "record" no longer exists if
litigation comes along.  This seems to be analogous to "deleting" records from a
computer file by hitting the delete key.  I don't know if this issue is worth more
spilled electrons but the notion of masses of "data" being accumulated in data
warehouses in my institution gives me a queasy feeling as an "information"
manager.  I am going to meet with our data stewards committee ASAP and discuss this
issue.  If anything of import comes from that I will pass it on.  Dick King,
University of Arizona