The AIIM Information Certification

By Jesse Wilkins posted 08-10-2011 13:49


Information Certification

As we prepare for the launch of the Information Certification I thought I'd share some background on where we are and how we got here.

AIIM has long been in the education business - indeed, that's a key component of any association's offerings. We first offered a certificate program, the ECM Practitioner, in 2002. It consisted of ten hour-long courses on the basic technologies of ECM: storage, BPM, imaging, etc. Based on its success we expanded it into two four-day certificate programs in ERM and ECM.   Over the years we've added more courses until today we offer 8 separate four-day certificate programs in ECM, ERM, BPM, enterprise search, email management, Enterprise 2.0, Sharepoint, and capture, with several more in development. More than 20,000 students have attended these courses. 

The mix of job titles and roles attending the various courses, as well as feedback from attendees, members, and the broader information community led us to believe that there is a need for a more formalized credential that identifies and recognizes defensible practices across processes and disciplines. We started seriously thinking about what that credential would look like, what it would cover, etc. towards the end of 2010.

We contracted with two consulting firms, Access Sciences and Prometric, to help us frame what the certification would cover and to develop it in a way that is structured, rigorous, and legally defensible. 

Earlier this year we asked 1100 AIIM community members and 350 non-AIIM-related IT practitioners (IT managers, IT staff, consultants, and small business owners) what areas and levels of expertise they would expect an information professional to have. We also used this survey to identify subject matter experts (SME)s on the different topics.

The SMEs then met in May and June 2011 to develop the exam blueprint - the list of domains and sub-domains that the exam would cover, and the knowledge statements that described what an information management professional would be expected to know. The exam blueprint is available for download at

Once the blueprint was developed, we worked with the SMEs to develop the exam items - the actual questions for the exam. Over the course of five days we wrote, reviewed, and rewrote hundreds of questions on all the different areas of the exam. Each question was sourced to at least one reference work. 

In July we used the item bank to build exam forms that cover the entire exam blueprint and that are of equivalent difficulty. We also conducted a modified Angoff scoring evolution to set the passing score for the exam. See a brief description of Angoff scoring here.

This month we are developing the rest of the program framework, including guidance on:

  • Qualification and registration for the exam
  • Certification notification and fulfillment
  • Continuing education (how much is required, what qualifies, how to submit)
  • Appeals and decertification

We followed the requirements in ISO 17024, the standard for personnel certifications, to put the program framework in place. 

We are also developing some training content in the form of videos that will be available for free from the AIIM website, and are actively looking for partners to develop more structured and comprehensive training materials.
The exam is scheduled for general availability at the end of September 2011. We think that information management professionals will find it valuable as a way to demonstrate and validate their skills and experience. 
Two last points. First, no exam is static. Tools, processes, and best practices are in a constant state of evolution. We will be reviewing exam items on an ongoing basis to ensure they are performing as expected and will be adding new items on a regular basis. We will solicit SMEs as part of that process. 
Second, this exam is not intended to test at the same level as the PMP for project management, the CRM for records management, the CISSP for information security, etc. Rather, it is targeted to information management professionals who have to work with a broad variety of information sources, systems, topics, etc. and who understand enough about enough to know when to get the deep experts involved. It is a great complement to those deep, focused certifications by demonstrating an understanding of different disciplines and how they interact and influence each other. It should also help expert practitioners "walk the talk" better with their peers through acquiring and demonstrating that broader understanding. 
You can find out more details about the certification at

#information #ScanningandCapture #informationmanagement #ElectronicRecordsManagement #Certification