Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The 10 (published) principles of Records Management 2.0

Finally, after many months of effort and angst, I have held a copy of my finished, published book in my hand. Authors are prone to equating the process of writing a book with that of pregnancy and giving birth to a child. Rather foolishly I tried this analogy earlier today to my wife who is currently 7 months pregnant….

Without sounding too clich├ęd I would genuinely love this book to represent the beginning, rather than the end, of this (self imposed) mission to rethink and reinvent records management to ensure it is fit for purpose in the modern world. I have been gratified to receive several supportive emails from around the world from other professionals who share my concerns and desire to initiate change. What I would love to do is to build on this by establishing a community of like-minded records managers, plus those from related professions such as the library world and of course the web technologists. I am sure that collectively there exists the expertise and range of skills required to make a genuine difference to our profession, its just a question of identifying the right online tool(s) to facilitate this creative discussion and, perhaps, finding the odd bit of funding to help make this happen. I make no apologies for the fact that my book raises far more questions than it answers, but now those questions have been raised and are out there for discussion lets move on to actually doing stuff: practical stuff that results in applications and approaches which can make a real difference. If anyone is interested in being part of such a community feel free to let me know, likewise if you are familiar with any ‘business models’ and/or technical platforms to help realise them (or sources of funding of course).

Finally, I thought I would end with some of the conclusions from the book (don’t worry, it doesn’t spoil the ending!). Part of my conclusion is that what we need at present is a set of guiding principles and shared characteristics which help define ‘Records Management 2.0’ and which can be used to set the parameters for any further development work in this area. More detail on each of them is given in the book and naturally they are all open for discussion (see Principle 9) but I thought they might at least get the debate started and were a fitting way to celebrate the arrival of the book.

Records Management 2.0 must be:
1. scalable to an (almost) infinite degree
2. comprehensive: with the potential to address all aspects of the management of information throughout its lifecycle
3. independent of specific hardware, software or physical location
4. extensible and able to absorb new priorities and responsibilities as they emerge
5. potentially applicable to all information
6. proportionate, flexible and capable of being applied to varying levels of quality and detail as required by the information in question
7. a benefits-led experience for users, that offers them a positive incentive to participate
8. marketable to end users, decision makers and stakeholders
9. self-critical and positively willing to embrace challenge and change
10. acceptable to, and driven by, the records management community and its practitioners


Jesse Wilkins said...

Hi Steve,

First, congratulations and I will be ordering the book next week. :)

Second, I am very interested in the ongoing efforts and can think of a number of ways to take it, including:
- Putting together a wiki along the lines of Wikibon
- At least in the short term, creating a group on Facebook or LinkedIn
- Alternatively, creating an entire social network using Ning

I will chew on this some more and direct folks both to this post and the book. Let me know how I can assist.

Cheers, and congrats again!

Steve Bailey said...

Thanks Jesse,

Your suggestions are definitely along the lines I was thinking about - especially the wiki approach.



Alison said...

Hi Steve

This looks fascinating! I am at present working for a local authority which is on the verge of going down a Sharepoint/EDRMS route. I have a lot of years involvement in libraries/info management and have been involved in setting up categories, metadata, mapping tools, BCS etc. I know only too well the problems involved in trying to set up a system that can deliver AND be time efficient AND be understood/acted upon by users!! I do not totally understand web 2.0 from a technical point of view but I sure understand that we are all in a dilemma. Your principles are great. We definitely need your forum for working out how to get them into practice and avoid making expensive mistakes trying to reach the wrong goals! I must now get a copy of your book and read it!

Steve Bailey said...

Hi Alison,

Thanks for your supportive comments - I hope the book lives up to expectations! Its great to hear from someone from the broader information management community as I have had a few emails from the library community saying that these are very real issues in their professional lives too.

I'm actively working on the community forum at the moment and hope to have something to share in about a month or so.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I as well am struggling with the issues in establishing standard practices for records and documents in a federal govt. section.

Had you read think to research the current ISO standard on RM?

MC Verre

Steve Bailey said...

Hi MC Verre

I'm assuming that you are referring to ISO 15489. If so, yes I have read it and, as a summary of best practice for the management of records in what could best be described as 'traditional media' (including standard MS Office based electronic records) it is hard to argue with. However, I continue to have doubts as to whether the approach to RM that it espouses will prove of much use when it comes to dealing with the data deluge and diversity of system and format that we are currently witnessing - hence suggesting the need for a different approach and what i am calling 'Records Management 2.0'