I think about this issue a bit differently... I don't see it all as what
software/applications/systems can do but more a policy, process and
procedure issue.

There are rather clear distinctions made in ISO 9001 about "document
management" (4.2.3) and "records management" (4.2.4), but as I have to
constantly remind some folks, this Standard applies to "documents and
records required by the quality management system", NOT ALL documents and

"Records management" as a practice is well defined in many sources and most
of us are familiar with them.  "Document management" however is much more
loosely described and in part, that is due to the "accepted" definition of
what a "document" is.

This one comes from ISO15489:  "Recorded information or object which can be
treated as a unit."  So the challenge for anyone is to take this definition
and attempt to socialize it throughout the various business segments within
your organization.  Go ahead... I'll wait... =)  Likely you'll get people
tipping their heads and looking strangely at you.

The same source defines a "record" as follows: "information created,
received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or
person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of
business." This is easier to socialize within most business settings, and
MUCH easier to get across than the 36CFR US Federal definition... but
still, it's simple to see the differences between how documents and records
are formally defined.

According to these two definitions both documents and records are
"information" but a document can also be an "object".  I think most of us
agree that an object (like a blood sample, or a drill core) can also be a
record.  It also says documents CAN BE treated as a unit, which is not very
clear at all.  To me that means a compendium of individual information
items or objects can be treated as A document.  And although this
distinction is not in the definition of a record, we also know the same is
true about a record... an example may be a case file.

So my point is all of this applies to documents and records in ANY form or
format, not just electronic and I think when the question is asked about
case law related to the two, you have to think more about them in a broader
sense than what an EDMS or an ERMS does.  Also, the whole concept of
"official record" sort of goes out the window when it comes to records in
electronic format- whether it's the one stored on system A or system B or
on a desktop or server or in a replicated environment, you're hared pressed
to say WHICH ONE is REALLY the "official record" unless your policy or
procedures make that clear through the use of an ESI data map.

Similarly, in the past, things had to be "declared a record" and even
though $harepoint offers this as an option (as do other ED/RMS) the whole
concept is pretty 'fuzzy' any longer.  This was once the distinction
between documents and records in MANY business settings.  Something was a
draft, then became a document, and remained in that state until/unless it
was declared as a record. Gone are those days in MOST organizations.

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On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:02 AM, Jones, Virginia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I've heard vendors differentiate between the two based on what functions
> their particular software can do.  For example, not all document management
> systems have the capability to apply retention to the documents or to
> freeze edit capabilities on "official" records. Conversely, not all records
> management systems have workflow or collaboration functions.

*Lawrence J. Medina
Danville, CA
RIM Professional since 1972*

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