Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Records management

Records management, or RM, is the practice of identifying, classifying, archiving, preserving, and destroying records. The ISO 15489: 2001 standard defines it as The field of management in charge for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and nature of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining proof of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

The ISO defines records as information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligation or in the transaction of business. The International Council on Archives (ICA) Committee on Electronic Records defines a record as, recorded information fashioned or received in the start, conduct or completion of an institutional or individual activity and that comprises content, context and structure enough to provide evidence of the activity. While the definition of a record is often recognized strongly with a document, a record can be either a tangible object or digital information which has value to an organization. For example, birth certificates, medical x-rays, office documents, databases, application data, and e-mail are all examples of records. Records are to be managed according to their value to the organization quite than their physical or logical characteristics.

The other crucial aspect of the above definitions is their reliable reference to records as evidence. Indeed, records management can be seen as being mainly concerned with the identification and management of the evidence of an organization's business activities.

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