Document Management and Records Management. . .What’s The Difference?

By Dennis Kempner posted 04-28-2014 11:15


Document management and records management sound very much alike, don’t you think? However, they are two different organizational techniques that can be used separately or together to help business practices.

Knowing the difference between document and records management helps businesses and business professionals choose the best solution for their needs as well as know what to expect upon implementation.

Documents vs. Records 
The term document encompasses paper, electronic forms and files, emails, faxes, contracts, leases, vendor communications, etc. Records are any of those documents that have been made final and are no longer meant to be altered.

Document Management 
Document management is the processes of handling documents in a way that enables them to be created, shared, organized, stored and retrieved efficiently and effectively.

Objectives of Document Management: 

  • Reduce lost and misfiled documents. 
  • Provide faster search and retrieval of documents. 
  • Reduce the amount of physical space used to store documents, such as file cabinets, boxes and shelving. 
  • Better organize existing documents. 
  • Streamline information and workflow. 
  • Allow instant access to documents. 

Records Management
Records management is the practice of maintaining records including classifying, storing, securing and destruction or archival preservation, which protects fragile historical archives and assures permanent records are accessible and readable for years into the future. 

Objectives of Records Management: 

  • Control the quantity and quality of records. 
  • Simplify the activities, systems, and processes of records maintenance and use. 
  • Identify what records exist by records inventory. 
  • Apply required retention periods to stored items. 
  • Develop and administer policies and procedures. 
  • Preserve records throughout their life cycle.

#documentmanagement #Records-Management #ElectronicRecordsManagement



09-21-2018 13:05

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02-18-2015 01:31

Document Management is a broader term while Record management is what we can achieve with ease if document management is implemented. Both are implemented depending on the goal of the organization.
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05-07-2014 11:38

My understanding is that the disposition of the records at the end of its retention period is also within the purview of Records Management. The Records Management keept track of the retention schedule and initiate the dieposition and keeps the report of the records deleted.

05-06-2014 11:25

I agree with the comment made by Paul - yes document management and record management are two different processes, but it is document control that holds the seams of the two together. With the digital revolution we are seeing new advances in analytics and records intelligence that is linked to metadata capture within documents. In other words, using your records to analyze information and applying that information to document creation and collaboration. One great example of records keeping is ensuring that your employees read or did not read policies and procedures (documents). Another could be utilizing records to do a gap analysis to see where your organization is experiencing inefficiency. This is difficult if your documents and records are not centralized - to read more:

05-06-2014 10:33

In manufacturing engineering, some physical objects are kept as records eg metal samples and weld replica putties. These have some similar requirements as document records eg correct identification, storage space & environmental control, indexing, retention periods and access permissions. However, they do not lend themselves to digitization and consequent electronic backup or remote access.

05-06-2014 10:21

From a Project (especially engineering) perspective, there is a third leg to the triangle - Document Control. Often confused with Document Management, but with a focus on issue, receipt, tracking and reporting. I suggest the flow would look like DM ->DC ->RM.

05-06-2014 06:09

Yes document management and record management are two different things. Documents are not final product but what we have as record is something that is the final outcome that has to be stored. I work for Document Scanning service and have to deal with all such things regularly.