Records management

Records management, also known as records and information management, is an organizational function devoted to the management of information in an organization throughout its life cycle, from the time of creation or inscription to its eventual disposition. This includes identifying, classifying, storing, securing, retrieving, tracking and destroying or permanently preserving records. [1] The ISO 15489-1: 2001 standard ( "ISO 15489-1:2001") defines 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". [2]

An organization's records preserve aspects of institutional memory. In determining how long to retain records, their capacity for re-use is important. Many are kept as evidence of activities, transactions, and decisions. Others document what happened and why. [3] The purpose of records management is part of an organization's broader function of Governance, risk management, and compliance and is primarily concerned with managing the evidence of an organization's activities as well as the reduction or mitigation of risk associated with it. [4]

Concepts of record

The concept of record is variously defined. The ISO 15489-1:2001 defines records as "information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business". [2] While there are many purposes of and benefits to records management, as both these definitions highlight, a key feature of records is their ability to serve as evidence of an event. Proper records management can help preserve this feature of records.

Recent and comprehensive studies have defined records as "persistent representations of activities" as recorded or created by participants or observers. [5] This transactional view emphasizes the importance of context and process in the determination and meaning of records. In contrast, previous definitions have emphasized the evidential and informational properties of records. [6] In organizational contexts, records are materials created or received by an organization in the transaction of business, or in pursuit of or in compliance with legal obligations. [7] [8] This organizational definition of record stems from the early theorization of archives as organic aggregations of records, that is "the written documents, drawings and printed matter, officially received or produced by an administrative body or one of its officials". [9] [10]