About Records Management

About Records Management

Managing records sounds like a tedious and boring task for some people. It is easy to judge such work because many don’t really understand what managing records is all about. What really is records management?

There are several definitions of records management and each one gives a clear picture of the nature and scope of this business practice. Let’s look at some of the best descriptions.

From Wikipedia, this organizational activity is characterized in the following:

“Records management, or RM, is the practice of maintaining the records of an organization from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction (or in some cases, archival preservation) of records.”

“Records management is primarily concerned with the evidence of an organization's activities, and is usually applied according to the value of the records rather than their physical format.”

“In the past, 'records management' was sometimes used to refer only to the management of records which were no longer in everyday use but still needed to be kept - 'semi-current' or 'inactive' records, often stored in basements or offsite. More modern usage tends to refer to the entire 'lifecycle' of records - from the point of creation right through until their eventual disposal.”

CMS Watch on the other hand, describes it as, “A professional discipline that is primarily concerned with the management of document-based information systems. The application of systematic and scientific controls to recorded information required in the operation of an organization’s business. The systematic control of all organizational records during the various stages of their life cycle: from their creation or receipt, through their processing, distribution, maintenance and use, to their ultimate disposition. The purpose of records management is to promote economies and efficiencies in recordkeeping, to assure that useless records are systematically destroyed while valuable information is protected and maintained in a manner that facilitates its access and use.”

Lastly, the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO 15489:2001 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.”

These explanations show that records management is all about efficient and orderly method of maintaining, storing, and securing of records until they are eventually destroyed.

Records management is not just about collecting and keeping records, but also concerns the knowledge of which records to keep, where they must be stored, for how long they should be kept and managed, and who should have access to the data. This just reiterates that records management is actually more than just classifying and segregating files. It is more importantly, how to take care of the documents.

Records management is an important element in ascertaining the credibility of a company’s business transactions and the government’s activities. With the proliferation of digital records in the form of e-mails, electronic image files, video clips, and voice messaging, records storage and management has taken a more complex turn. 'Boring' sure is not the best word to describe this industry. 'Challenging' is more like it. Records managers and professionals face a trickier and more taxing job, which we can say can be extremely rewarding if one does a good job at it.

Managing records is a core activity within business processes. Companies need effective records management to help them in their quest for success. If a business wants to stick around for a long time, it takes more than just perceptive marketing strategies and other income generating techniques. It also calls for an effectual records management practice.

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