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It's interesting to hear the two sides in this debate.  My position is
somewhere in the middle.  Early in my Records career (such as it is) I was
very electronically minded and I'm still a committed promoter of electronic
systems.  I think organisations waste far too much paper and people find
printing far too easy.  Printing to paper should be considered a luxury for
when absolutely necessary.

However, I also don't believe that electronic systems (in most cases) are
set up very well.  IT boffins or "marketing gurus" or whoever, come to an
organisation and promote a product to people who are not qualified to know
better and then, once the product is sold, the "experts" invariably
disappear and so a system that may not even be suitable is improperly
installed and used by people that have inadequate training (and perhaps even
limited common-sense).  Hmm, that sounds harsh, but you know it happens.

Some people then react against everything electronic because of this.

I think as Records Managers (which is part of Information Management) we
have an excellent opportunity to take a lead role in our organisations in
relation to communication (electronic and not).  As Records Managers we
should not restrict ourselves solely to documents - the most important part
of our jobs is information dissemination.  I think that we should involve
ourselves in all parts of the information/communication environment as it
all ties together.

But back to long term storage - the longer I spend in RM the more cautious I
have become about entrusting my long term records to electronic storage.
First of all it is an untested medium (in terms of decades and centuries).
We continually get conflicting advice.  Secondly there is the issue of
migration, as has been pointed out.  As enthusiastic as I am about
encouraging people to make as much use as they can of electronic systems, I
am developing some serious reservations about "paperless".

Grahame Gould
Records Manager
Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley
115 Coolibah Drive
PO Box 614
Kununurra  WA  6743
Australia

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08 9168 4111
www.thelastfrontier.com.au

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-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Pemberton [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, 24 September 2003 08:23
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Preserving Media Forever

The current issue of Consumer's Reports notes that Americans use twice as
much business *paper* as they did in 1985.  They must not know that,
according to one list subscriber, "98% of all records are electronic."

Mike


>And on the issue of "paperless": whilst I agree that paperless is more or
>less inevitable, I am far from convinced that it is reliable or wise.  But
>further comments can be reserved until a paperless thread starts.
>
>Grahame Gould

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