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Morning All and a Happy Friday!

Chris and I have discussed this off list before, but let me add another $.02.  We have the same system Chris does and the same problems.  I don't pretend to have answers, but agree that RM and IT need to work together on this.  Tough to do without support from above, as we are many times considered "the paper people".  I'm always looking for ways to get in on the table.

Some points I see in the discussion are:

Is this database/warehouse a record?  Maybe not by standards we've come to know and love via academe and our various other avenues ie:  to be a record the data needs format, context, and structure (I think that's how it goes, please correct me if I'm wrong).

Discoverable in audit or legal proceeding?  You bet!  No argument on this listserve that I've detected.   As already pointed out, if it's there, it's discoverable no matter what hassle or cost it takes to produce or re-produce it.  I don't think deleting the indices counts and I think any reasonable judge would see it that way.  I wonder if in these cases part of an IT department's reasoning would be excusable ie: add more storage, it's cheap.  Probably not.  Tantamount to saying that I can store any box of paper or tangible media for only $.25/year and that's a bargain! - so lets just add more storage and keep it all forever or until any one or series of disasters takes it off our hands.  I would be lashed with a wet noodle for suggesting such a concept on the paper end.  Records are records and information is information no matter the media.  Says so in Oregon Administrative Rules.  Now you've got risk management in on it.  Maybe that's the ticket - turn it into a risk management issue! (which I think it already is).

Is it record copy?   Hmmmmmmmmm.  Yes and no.  Are there not primary documents used to input information into this database?  Of course there are.  Kind of warps the origin theory doesn't it?   Our Accounts Payable are only scheduled for 4 years (5 years for grant accounting - a state audits thing).  These are used as base documents to input for payment through "the system" where another record is created.  So yes, and no.  Where would audits go to audit?  Wherever their heart desires, of course.  Many times to the point of origin.  Would it matter?  Would it be kept less if it were not record copy?  Theoretically it could be and probably would.

Part of the problem with "the" system as I understand it is that the manufacturer has absolutely no idea of what will happen when data from an element is deleted.  It could crash the system.  So part of the problem is the fear of the unknown.  So, again as I understand it, there is no way to get information out of the system.  The thing just grows and grows.

Will they listen to us?  Good question.  Probably not if they interpret our concern as poo pooing their pride, joy, and paycheck and trying to make them admit that they didn't consider something they should have.

Just scratching the surface I know, but I need to get back to work.  As the coffee time lady on Saturday Night Live would say:  "Discuss amongst yourselves"

Jim

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Jim Mullen
Records Manager
Oregon University System
P.O. Box 3175
Eugene, OR  97403
(541)346-5798
Fax (541)346-5764
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