Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Do you run serious records management?

I received a curiously titled email the other day (it was a commercial sales one from Aiim, no doubt received by lots of records professionals, so no confidences being broken).

Its subject heading was 'Do you run serious records management?' (as opposed to what: trivial records management, fun records management?...) It was advertising a one day training event in Slough around Moreq2. Aside from the title, the email's opening lines also struck me as interesting:

Does your organisation have a heavyweight records management obligation?
If so, MoReq2 - the Model Requirements Specification for the Management of Electronic Records - is something you need to know about.

I think this is probably the first time I have seen an open and 'official' admission that the kind of 'heavyweight' RM systems covered by Moreq and formally by the TNA testing regime are only likely to prove suitable in a limited number of specific, 'niche' areas. It definitely seems as though the days when EDRMS were being touted as the answer for organisations large and small and from every sector under the sun have well and truly gone for good. Certainly, despite its slightly odd tone, the email's title also implies that we are witnessing a welcome return to the notion of 'fitness for purpose' when it comes to records management - rather than the recent assumption that 'one size fits all'

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A spot of vanity publishing

There's been a small flurry of reviews of Managing the Crowd being published over the past couple of weeks. It's always fascinating (and a little daunting) reading what fellow professionals have to say about your work and I've been delighted - and relieved! - at the reception it has received. Thankfully the tone of most seems to be 'I don't necessarily agree with all you've had to say, but I'm really glad you said it' which is exactly the response I was hoping for.

Anyway, for those interested in hearing what others have made of it I can point you in the direction of reviews by:
- James Lappin in the Records Management Society Bulletin Issue 46, November 2008
- Barbara Reed and Stephen Clarke in the latest RMAA IQ magazine
- Marieke Guy in Ariadne (available online - hurrah!)

My thanks to all those who have taken the time and trouble to publish their thoughts and views about the book and in doing so are helping to keep debate about the issues well and truly alive

Friday, 7 November 2008

Why doesn’t the government realise our green credentials?

It’s hard to ignore the ever growing pressure on organisations, particularly those in the public sector, to reduce the carbon footprint of their IT infrastructure. This culminated recently in Greening Government ICT, a 20 page paper produced by the Cabinet Office to help government departments to play their role.

It’s a mine of useful information, ranging from the simple and obvious (‘shutdown PCs after office hours’) to the technical (‘specify low power consumption central processing units and high efficiency power units’).

Point 18 in Annex B appears to offer promise to records managers everywhere by mentioning a ‘data centre audit’ as a recommended step to be taken before then spoiling it by clarifying that this is about where your servers should be located in a room to increase air supply rather than referring to any form of information audit as we would recognise.

The ‘Areas for potential carbon reduction’ does at least mention ‘Remove unnecessary/duplicated data or information’ as an action (though as point 44 of 51 its hardly given high priority). Even more tellingly it has nothing listed under ‘possible implementation methods’. How depressing is that for records management? Apparently the Cabinet Office know of no possible technique for identifying what information stored within an organistion is ‘unnecessary’ and can, therefore, be safely deleted? Isn’t that exactly what records management, and appraisal in particular, have to offer: a proven methodology for identifying what information still has value and must be retained and which can be safely removed?

What a missed opportunity.