I had no idea blogging would be so educational FOR ME. Putting an idea out there and getting input on it really forces you to refine your thinking. So, I am going to take this opportunity to revise my previous statement that “Everything is a record” as follows: Record or non-record has become a meaningless label. * Turns out I was oversimplifying my position in my previous blog: http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/Everything-is-a-Recordthere-I-said-it.
Instead, what I meant to say was, in retrospect, if I may be allowed to back-peddle….since anything potentially could be a record, and there are so many other characteristics of information that have a greater influence on how it’s managed than whether or not it falls into your definition of a “record,” then why bother to put the additional burden on the users of information to make a record or non-record determination? As a steward of information, there are decisions many they make in order to determine how to manage it. My updated decision diagram follows:
Based on my experience, and the comments I got on my previous blog, if I tried to put “Declare it a Record” on this diagram, it would appear in different places, depending on how your organization defines a “record.” AND it might appear more than once. Some fuzzy “record” or “non-record” examples:
The contents of my recycling bin under my desk are NOT a record until I am under investigation for mis-directing corporate secrets. Then they are subject to a Legal Hold. Record or non-record? When did it change?
I download a really useful AIIM white paper that I use to develop our new corporate information security policy. Record or non-record? How about 2 years after the policy has been in place?
I arrange lunches with my co-workers using email. Non-record, right? Then one of them accuses me of using email to harass them? Now it’s a record, right?
Looking at the diagram, it seems we already have “enough on our plate.” Is it an original? Is it under legal hold? Is it past its retention? Is it one of those pieces of information that needs to be “locked down” and stored as an unalterable version? Those are the questions that lead to the decision about what to do with that information. In order to figure out whether or not it’s a record, you have to answer all those questions anyway. So what does “Is it a Record?” add in terms of value to the process? Decision fatigue is a quantified issue in our society. If we can remove a low value decision from the process, don’t we owe that to our organization? (Interesting article on decision fatigue: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=1)
So, since everything needs to be governed, everything needs a retention schedule and everything is subject to a Legal Hold, let’s just come up with a common approach to governing all that information. Applying the “record” or “non-record” label doesn’t help you get the job done. It just adds a step.
So, here’s my better impersonation of Linda Richman from CoffeeTalk:
“Records Management…it’s neither aboutjust Records or just Management….DISCUSS.”
*to anyone except Records Managers, who constitute 90% of the market for Ronco label makers**
**totally made up statistic#non-record #InformationGovernance #ElectronicRecordsManagement #record