Wanted: Information Management Policies

By Mimi Dionne posted 09-23-2010 16:46


Oleson & Wagner’s template on MOSS 2007 includes two sections on policies: operational and application usage.

Operational usage policies are more inclined to the technical.

  • Under System Administration: tasks, documentation, policies like disaster recovery, hardware and change management
  • Portal Administration: the same, but instead of geographic locations, the appropriate way to document releases and upgrades are discussed
  • And content management appears under the extranet.

Application usage skirts information management and concludes with an open call for volunteers to be SharePoint administrators (!):

  • Site provisioning
  • Site management
  • Storage quotas
  • Document management
  • Content management

For inspiration, I turned to my own library of SharePoint 2007 manuals that I bought beginning that year.

Leon, Tynes and Cathey’s “Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007” devotes a few pages to records management specifically and I find it the most helpful—primarily because the planning steps are simplified and based on configuration, not customization (since it’s 2010 and you’re just implementing MOSS 2007, this will be a BIG win with your IT department).

  1. Identify roles
  2. Develop a file plan
  3. Develop retention periods
  4. Determine the scope of the retention policy
  5. Design the records repository
  6. Develop workflows and methods to move content into the repository
  7. Plan email integration
  8. Plan for compliance and reporting

Keep in mind that you can create policies at the site and document library level.   I’m beginning to hear more about “data in motion” and “action data” for active records management and “data at rest” and “dead data” as opposed to inactive records, so I would use these terms to resonate with your IT colleagues.  Perhaps you split your policies into these two groups and then subdivide them based on short-term and long-term retentions.  You have a few choices, because if your culture hasn’t implemented electronic retention before, time will pass before the training on how to manually send one e-record at a time to the Records Center kicks in.

Maybe you like Choice A for your company:

  1. Action data stays on the site without retention periods assigned to content types and
  2. All retention periods are assigned to the Records Center libraries

Thereby guaranteeing that no movement will be made to declare any document a record until the Records group deems it acceptable (after working with the group extensively). Only after training would the working group assign retentions to their work on active sites—note: none of THAT effort is performed by Records.


Perhaps your steering committee prefers Choice B:

  1. All retention periods are posted to content on the active sites but content is manually moved only if it’s a
  2. Permanent retention assigned to one of the Records Center libraries

Therefore designating the Records Center a true electronic archive.  The use of the term, “archive” will resonate with folks who think of records and information management in simple terms (that’s what they call offsite storage, right?), while you wrestle with the implications of this arrangement on short-term retention periods. The positive? You, IT, and your customers will work quite closely together to delete data. The negative? Empire builders.


The most traditional, Choice C:

  1. All retentions are applied to content types on active records sites and you train extensively on how to manually move a record over one at a time
  2. To the Records Center, where content types and retention periods match

While conducting in-depth training on the Records program again and monitoring your Unclassified Library by the hour—because some metadata will go missing anyway. Plus, you have the headache of listening to customers complain about the lack of drag and drop for multiple items.

My point: information policies in the Records Governance Plan should be 50k-foot level as opposed to step by step configuration instructions. Determine the final choice with the guidance of your steering committee and express the cultural preference clearly in the document.  Stipulate the pros and cons of the choice and ensure each participant signs off, which will help you bear the weight.

Good luck—I’m interested to hear how it goes.

#retention #SharePoint2007 #archive #ElectronicRecordsManagement #declaringrecords