Rival records management models in an era of partial automation
journal contributionposted on 2021-02-09, 13:49 authored by James LappinJames Lappin, Tom Jackson, Graham Matthews, Clare Ravenwood
Two rival records management models emerged during the 1990s. Duranti’s model involved moving records out of business applications into a repository which has a structure/schema optimised for recordkeeping. Bearman’s model involved intervening in business applications to ensure that their functionality and structure/schema are optimised for record keeping. In 2013 the US National Archives and Records Administration began asking Federal agencies to schedule important email accounts for permanent preservation. This approach cannot be mapped to either Duranti or Bearman’s model. A third records management model has therefore emerged, a model in which records are managed in place within business applications even where those applications have a sub-optimal structure/schema. This model can also be seen in the records retention features of the Microsoft 365 cloud suite. This paper asks whether there are any circumstances in which the in-place model could be preferable to Duranti and Bearman’s models. It explores the question by examining the evolution of archival theory on the organisation of records. The main perspectives deployed are those of realism and of records continuum theory. The paper characterises the frst two decades of this century as an era of partial automation, during which organisations have had a general capability to automate the assignment of business correspondence to a sub-optimal structure/schema (that of their email system and/or other messaging system) but not to an optimal structure/schema. In such an era any insistence on optimising the structure/schema within which correspondence is managed may paradoxically result in a reduction in recordkeeping efciency and reliability.
The National Archives (UK) (TNA)
- Business and Economics