Competency E

Understand the system of standards and structures endorsed and utilized by the recordkeeping professions, particularly in the areas of electronic records and digital assets management.

An ideal such as perfect recordkeeping is impossible, but with the development, enactment, and proper following of recordkeeping standards and structures by the recordkeeping professions, any given recordkeeping project or program can come to as close to that ideal as possible. Not only do standards hold endeavors to a certain quality level based upon the recordkeeping professions themselves, but according to Pember, “Standards provide enormous social and economic benefits in all aspects of human endeavor by enabling interoperability, ensuring quality, safety, consistency, uniformity, reliability, economic efficiency, and so forth, across organisational, state, national and international borders” (2006, 3). These standards and structures are not designed to punish those who do not follow them nor make the tasks of recordkeeping more difficult, but are designed to help create an environment of correct recordkeeping as agreed upon and adopted from common sources. This allows for both uniformity in the basics of proper recordkeeping as well as customization to fit the recordkeeping professional or environmental system in a given place.
The standard ISO 15489 is likely the most commonly used standard to justify and guide recordkeeping implementation. Established in 2001, it became the first international standard specifically for records management. With the contribution of several nations, the standard was written to provide “a blueprint for the establishment, structure, monitoring and auditing of a best practice records management program” and to permit “an organization to efficiently and effectively record and retrieve information, thus enhancing decision-making, productivity, and accountability, and at the same time reduce information risk exposure” (Pember 2006, 7). By setting a standard for both the action of recordkeeping and the management of a recordkeeping program, recordkeeping is not limited to facility or company, which therefore encourages collaboration when necessary and beneficial.
Due to the relative newness in electronic recordkeeping and digital asset management in the scheme of recordkeeping workflows, standards and structures have to be verified to work fairly frequently or be applied customarily in order to be usable in the long term. Nelson cites ISO 16175 as the “standard [that] uses the term digital records management systems for those software applications whose primary function is records management” and “includes digital objects created by email, word processing, spreadsheet and imaging applications (such as text documents, and still or moving images), where they have administrative and business value, and are managed within digital records management systems”, as well as ISO 23081-2, which relates to “standardized description of records and critical contextual entities for records; provide common understanding of fixed points of aggregation to enable interoperability of records, and information relevant to records, between organizational systems; enable re-use and standardization of metadata for managing records over time, space and across applications” (2012, 3). By addressing different aspects of an electronic recordkeeping program and applying those that best fit the workflows within said program, the recordkeeping professions have the ability to customize their strategies to the collections they have and the environment the program is being implemented in.


Evidence for submission

Digital Millennium Copyright Act – Information Assurance (MARA 284) 

This essay summarizes the capability of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and analyzes it for its necessity to the copyrighting and privacy of information in the advent of digital recordkeeping, as well as the potential benefits and consequences for a recordkeeping entity to comply with this law. One such example of a benefit to compliance states that “By having these set laws to abide to, an organization understands more clearly on how to set their own standards without resorting to infringement as outlined by the DCMA. The law and provisions under said law were created with unique businesses in mind, which is why it could be considered flexible when it comes to application of those provisions, as well as it extending to past, present, and future technologies an organization might use”.



Current Topics in Information Governance Analytical Essay – Information Governance (MARA 284)

This analysis of five current scholarly articles that pertain to the implementation of information governance had to be based upon why implementation would differ in certain fields. The student (myself) chose to analyze five articles based on the influence of standards and structures in the varying information-creating fields because “The importance of analyzing information governance strategy in varying spheres, such as the medical field, the consumerism field, the technology field, the government field, and so on and so forth, is that while all of these fields share the goal of establishing security within compliance, the fact is that their parameters and standards are going to differ, so their methods in information governance might vary greatly”.


Historical Society of Haddonfield Research Library Digital Preservation Policy – Preservation Management (LIBR 259)

This course-culminating project required the student (myself) to partner with an institution that did not yet have a digital preservation policy and create a draft of a policy in conjunction with the standards and structures that the institution was already in or needed to be in compliance with. In choosing the Historical Society of Haddonfield Research Library, I had to develop the policy based on the International Organization for Standardization’s “Open Archival Information System” (ISO 14721:2012), the New Jersey Administrative Code 15:3-6.5 for Records Retention as the institution is located in New Jersey, and the institution’s own Rights and Reproductions Policy for guiding permissions and access. With the combination of these standards and structures, the student was able to create a culminating yet flexible policy.


What was learned and how it will be applied

Ethically and uniformly sound recordkeeping does not arise from a guessing game. It will be up to the recordkeeper to comprehend, understand, and follow the standards and structures established and verified by their fellow recordkeepers or even to collaborate on creating those standards and structures to cover potential gaps in policy and workflow. Such standards and structures are not the definitive word on how to implement recordkeeping in a given organization, but are the guidelines under which workflows are created and carried out. Having worked with the National Archives at Philadelphia, I have had exposure to the workflow interpretations and adaptations of the Department of Defense policy 5015.2, ISO 15489, and the 2012 Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18).

However, I plan to familiarize myself with any standard and structure applicable to the environment I am working in, which is likelier to be an environment that requires standards and structures applicable to electronic records and digital assets management. Management at each step is going to need to be clearly yet generally defined by standards and structures, as the steps of electronic records and digital assets are likely going to have characteristics of less effort and less time required, and in that kind of environment, there needs to be more attention paid to whether records are being kept correctly. It will be my responsibility to familiarize myself to all of the elements that contribute to the workflow before implementing the workflow.

Nelson, T. B. (2012). Managing electronic records. NAGARA. Local Government Records Technical Publication Series.

Pember, Margaret. (2006). Sorting out the standards: what every records and information professional should know. Records Management Journal. 16 (1): pp. 21-33.


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