Following up on last week’s discussion of document management, I had a chat with Michael Miller, who has had a career in archives and records management that spans 30 years. What he has found is that the first wave of SharePoint has included the implementation of document management and content management, but few if any organizations are addressing records management, or even employ a records manager anymore.
Miller said records managers would traditionally focus on what needs to get filed, so the organization can maintain good records of what took place. Further, the manager would work with the organization to define a records policy, including how long things need to be kept, and to look at documents in context, such as if they must be kept because they support a legal decision or a sales transaction.
One issue that doesn’t bedevil organizations the way it did in the past is findability. With the advent of advanced search capabilities for electronic documents, organizations are now creating new rules to deal with the changing nature of records-keeping and management.
The practice of records management is most critical in highly regulated industries: the government, healthcare, finance and pharmaceuticals, among others. Here’s a FAQ from the U.S. National Archives that is an introduction to the practice, and offers a view into how the government does it.