Hello Bill,

It is good to hear from you even if you do disagree with everything I say.
Prior comment from Bill Benedon:

 I for one feels there is an acceptable concept of records management and
its purpose.
A concept that is proven by an organization that has grown from a tiny
number to 10,000 plus and is
successfully supported by RIM vendors. Surely our organizational growth and
the stature of many practicing records managers is not representative of an
unrecognized profession. There are many records managers today that have
passed over the threshold that David says they are unable to attain and are
still successful with their RIM designation.

My response:

I am not saying that people should give up their RIM designation. I also
recognize that ARMA has grown to over 10,000 plus members and their
profession is recognized.
But we are in changing times. The changes are so monumental with regards to
records management that we must adapt to these changes.

At one time there were many Blacksmiths who were associated with the
transportation industry. There are still Blacksmiths who are shoeing horses
and fixing buggies, etc.
But, when the automobile came along some of them worked on them as
Blacksmith's and then later adopted the name Auto Mechanic. They still fixed
and repaired transportation equipment. Some of them had to learn new

All of the principals, concepts, professionalism, ethics, standards, etc.
that records managers have will apply, with the inclusion of new techniques,
to the systems processing electronic records. If I didn't feel that this
body of RIM knowledge and the experience of the RIM professionals was
valuable I wouldn't be a member of ARMA stating these views.

I am sure that their will always be Blacksmiths working on horses, an
honorable profession, but they are fewer in number.

New technology is arriving at an exponential rate. IBM has announced the
development in their laboratories of a small thin membrane information
storage device that can keep terabytes of information in the size of a
wristwatch. Within the next five to ten years, and I believe closer to five
we may be able to keep all of the information we are concerned with storing
On-line redundant storage may be the cheapest method of storage in the

It took years for the PC to be accepted and not to be considered a toy. We
used to have to explain that they had a business purpose. It took years for
the "Year of the Lan" to occur". It was always in the future, now I don't
know when it occurred, but what organization doesn't have one?

I believe we will always use paper, but the amount of paper transactions
will be reduced and the amount of electronic records is increasing. We need
to support the changes taking place in the direction ARMA is taking. I know
of organizations where the CEO has stated that they want to move to a
reduction in paper files to where in future they will not maintain any of
their records in paper form. I do not believe at this time that that is a
correct approach, but he is headed in the right direction.

What will the records manager in the future do? Leverage his/her existing
knowledge in the identification, categorization, and retention schedule
application to records. But, they will need to be involved more with IT in
systems design. They will have to be proactive in making decisions with IT
about how systems can be made more "user friendly" so that the users don't
have to become records managers. They will have to participate in changing
organizational direction to the enterprise processing of all documents. It
is only is this way that their expertise can be used.

I don't think that either of us believes that records managers will sit in
the future at computer screens and manually apply retention numbers to
documents as they are presented.
Prior comment from Bill Benedon:

One alternative to failure (and
this refers to the efforts by our national association to properly promote
RIM and its logical evolution to today's technologies and strategic
involvement) is to try another course of action. All the high spoken words
about SII may have some merit but such merit is lost in the "closed shop"
attitude regarding its operations and the constant downgrading of the RIM
profession. Consider the promotional program for support of RIM and its
expanded capabilities if close to a $1m were spent in its promotion.

My response:

I agree that SII and this initiative may have moved along at to fast a rate
for some of the ARMA membership. But, ARMA elected board members have been
involved in this process all along. I understand that there have been those
in opposition to this course of action all along.  But, in a membership of
10,000 plus, you will always have those in opposition to any proposal or

I disagree with you that this is a "closed shop", it is a volunteer
organization, and when you volunteer you can participate. There has been a
lot said in the past about confidentiality agreements, and boards of
directors maintaining confidentiality. Isn't this the case in most
organizations? As a consultant I sign confidentiality agreements and
maintain that confidentiality. But, if what we are working on is beneficial
it comes out eventuality. If you want to work on the project, you sign the
agreement and participate.

If you disagree with the whole concept and then don't sign the agreements,
and don't volunteer to contribute your services, then you are the one
excluding yourself from the process. It isn't a closed shop.

 I think that we should question the decisions and the direction that ARMA
is taking. But, the nature of the discussion borders on accusation of
impropriety, and incorrect motive. This direction that ARMA is taken is the
result of trusted, well intentioned elected individuals who are except for
the hired staff not paid for their services. I still think it is the correct

I don't think that those who recommended to Blacksmiths to improve their
skills and learn to work on automobiles were downgrading the Blacksmith
positions. I don't believe that by offering my recommendations to records
managers on the directions I believe we are technologically headed, and how
they can improve their situation, is downgrading the RIM profession. I
respectfully believe that the RIM profession is going to change weather you
like it or not, or weather I talk about it or not.
Prior comment from Bill Benedon:

Perhaps David can identify a cadre of strategic information managers who can
their transition from the "glass ceiling" syndrome to the new buzzword. I am
certain he is planning to change his organization name from Information
Technology and Records Management to Information Ethnology and Strategic
Information Management. Or would that be double-talk?

My response:

AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT consulting services.
But if in future it would be better to be called Think-A-MA-Bob consulting
services then I would do so if it improved my business. I am not hung up on
a name or title.
What about before their were officially records managers. Weren't there file
clerks, or secretarial assistants? Records managers, as a title is a much
better fit and define the nature of the functions. All records managers
should not and will not become Strategic Information Officers. But, they
need to update their skills. They need to be recognized as a critical part
of a more important function.
Prior comment from Bill Benedon:

I know David has read the Board's status report. I am surprised not at his
support of SII but his
lack of questions on the details of the SII business plan. I defend his
to take a position on the subject, but theory is a long way from reality and
those records managers that rely on ARMA to assist them with professional
support need it now and not projected opportunities that are five years

I want to thank David for making this a LISTSERV topic. Hopefully, the vocal
few (unfortunately the name given to those in opposition to SII by its
proponents) will increase in number and Board members, when queried, will
deal in specifics rather than canned statements.

My response:

ARMA is right now providing very good services. You are right we could spend
$1million on promoting ARMA as an organization and in providing additional
benefits to its members. But in five years we would here from members who
would say, why didn't you spend more effort on training me for the changes
that have occurred.

I agree with you say that theory is a long way from reality, and change is
also difficult to accept. I think the reality of change is closer than you
are willing to accept. If we see the road curving ahead to the left, we must
alter our course or we will have an accident and the result could be

If I am correct in my point of view then regardless of what we say or do,
regardless of the success or failure of SII, regardless of the direction
ARMA takes, information management and records management are changing.
Those who educate themselves properly and make the necessary changes in
there career path have an increased chance of success.

I thank you Bill, for the professional level of your communication with me.
I know that you disagree with me, but I wish you didn't. If you would take
an active roll in the support of SII, I believe it would have a greater
chance of success and that you could probably have an effect on the end
result that would make it more acceptable to you.

David K. Kasparian

David K. Kasparian, CNE, MIT              20426 Blythe St
ANALYTICAL SOLUTIONS                   Winnetka, CA 91306
Voice: (818) 998-4774                 Fax: (818) 718-7239
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