Recognize the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of records, recordkeeping, and records use.
Records, recordkeeping and record use plays a reciprocating role in society, culture and economics in that it is both influenced by and influential to all three. The decisions that are made in regards to records impact these dimensions and alternatively the role of records must be able to react accordingly to their changes. They cannot be disconnected and all are necessary to describe and govern the RIM profession. It is the same to say that records are pervasive in all aspects or facets of daily living and organizational operations.
The prevalence of social networking in our society, the abundance of personal emails, and the popularity of blogs posts is creating records at a rate that has never before been seen and does not show any sign of slowing. The immense quantity of records that are created by these transactions is quickly filling servers and overwhelming storage mediums. As RIM professionals and archivists, we must be able to understand the implications of this growth of data and be able to adapt policies to respond. It is not unheard of for a social networking post to be used as evidence in a legal case or for personal emails to be required as evidence. This makes it all the more important for organizations to adopt strict social networking policies, and to devise usage policies and email policies to create a line between personal use and work use to mitigate the risk of unnecessary litigation. Additionally, organizational policies must be created to limit the retention of non-records and transient records, as the proper management of all records makes certain they are not retained longer than legally and organizationally required, records are located in a timely manner, and costs associated with unnecessary data storage are avoided.
The RIM professional and archivist must understand the cultural implications of recordkeeping. The records that are kept or not kept will influence future generation’s perception of our period in history. When a person passes away, what is left behind are pieces of their memory in the form of oral histories, documents and records, artifacts, and possibly articles in a local paper. On a larger scale, when as an entire generation passes away we are left with the same things—some leave behind more, some less. Without preservation of these life snippets, the person or generation is eventually forgotten as memories and documents fade or deteriorate. It is the primary mission of an archivist to ensure that these memories and objects are preserved to the best of their professional ability. For an organization, the preservation of the organizational culture is important. Certain values, ethics, morals, or business practices are significant to the failure or success and often outlined in document and records and should be identified as valuable for preservation.
Recordkeeping has great economic implications for some obvious reasons and for some not so obvious. It is obvious that we create records every time we make a purchase as a consumer. Even cash transactions create a business record of sale, make a noted change in inventory, the cashier that rang the transaction record their time worked for the shift in which you made the purchase –it is challenging even list the total amount of records that were created or altered from your one purchase – this is not even taking into account the records that were created when you acquired the cash to make the purchase in the first place. On an organizational level, the proper creation, organization, preservation, and disposition of these records can mean the difference between profitability and bankruptcy. A records and information manager must be able to understand the economic significance of records and create policies to protect these assets.
It is important for the RIM professional and archivist to understand the power of records and the roles that they play in societal memory, cultural heritage, and economic influence. This work submitted demonstrates my own understanding of the implication of recordkeeping and the responsibility we have in their creation, organization, preservation, and disposition. It shows my respect for the origins of recordkeeping and acknowledges the implications of the misuse of records for personal gain.
This compilation of discussions reemphasizes my understanding of the history of recordkeeping, the influence of records on a culture or society, the important differences between a recordkeeper and an archivist, and the differences between museums, libraries, and archives in the creation, organization, preservation, and disposition of societal, cultural, and economical records.
Proper or improper recordkeeping can have serious implications on the economy of a person, organization, or nation. This work submitted focuses on the RIM professional at the organizational level and the importance of mitigating risks through the creation of a business continuity plan to ensure the longevity of the organization.
My time in the MARA program helped me to better understand organization changes that were made in the company that I worked for as a retail store manager. Over my eleven years in the position, I was able to see a rather small, privately traded corporation in five Western states transform into a much larger, publically traded one with stores in twelve Western states. The increase in size, changes in stock associations, and added corporate positions allowed me to see many policy and procedure amendments and additions. Many of these changes occurred during my time with MARA and because of that, I was able to more easily adapt, explain policies to my subordinates, and suggest additional changes to my superiors. This made me a stronger manager and leader. Additionally, my position as a store manager assisted in my understanding of MARA terminology relating to records and their economic significance and furthered my learning experience.
My position as a museum archives intern has given me greater understanding of the importance of cultural preservation through records and objects. One of the primary missions of the museum is to preserve the rich racing history of the Northwest. Unfortunately, due to the Great Recession, many racetracks and speedways are now defunct and their history is losing significance as memories fade and people pass away. I have been able to catalog many objects that are unique and add them to our collection further ensuring that that particular object or record is preserved and made available for research. This process preserves that particular culture and adds to the collective memory.