Records Management

Records management (RM) entail the maintenance of records for an organisation from its creation to eventual disposal and may possibly include the classification of the records (see Business Classification Scheme BCS), adequate storage facilities, appropriate security controls, and recognised destruction processes and policies (and in certain circumstance long term archive preservation) of records.

A record could either be a tangible, physical object, for example, somebody’s birth certificate, or (a hard copy of) their medical x-rays, or more likely, paper documents filed within an office. Or as digital information in the form of data held on a databases, application specific data, and / or an e-mail you may have received.

Primarily associated with the storage and retention of evidence of an organisation's activities, records management is usually applied according to the value of the records rather than their physical format.

Some Definitions of RM

Contemporary usage of RM tends to refer to the entire 'lifecycle' of the record - from the point of creation right through until its eventual disposal. Whereas in the past, RM was oftentimes used to refer to records which were no longer required for everyday use though may still need to be retained as 'semi-current' or 'inactive' for future recall as possible evidence and where / are often filed in basements, spare rooms or even offsite.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15489: 2001 standard describes records management as:

"The field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records".

So in slightly plainer English the ISO is saying records are "information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in carrying out their legal obligations or in the transaction of business".

The International Council on Archives (ICA) Committee on Electronic Records defines a record as "a recorded information produced or received in the initiation, conduct or completion of an institutional or individual activity and that comprises content, context and structure sufficient to provide evidence of the activity."

As you can see the key word in both of these definitions is ‘evidence’. So quite simply, a record can be described as "evidence of an occurrence".

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Other interesting Records Management Pages

What are Records
Better Records Management
Calculate Records Management Savings