Competency C

Understand the evolution of information recordkeeping systems in response to technological change.

Interpretation

The RIM professional and the archivist must be able to stay current in our society by responding to technological change. This can be in the form of increasing or amending security protocol surrounding records and information in response to cyber threats, digitizing records to make them available for online access, migrating digital objects to newer or open source file formats to prevent the loss of access due to the obsoletion of the previous format, or utilizing a cutting edge cloud storage option to lessen the costs of record storage. This technological landscape is continuously changing and the records and information manager and archivist must never cease to explore, learn, and implement changes that keep pace with the current and future technological environment of the field. Additionally, the records and information manager or archivist must be able to communicate with legal, IT, department heads and stakeholders to effectively collaborate on approaches and solutions to the changing technological landscape.

An e-discovery request is a request for records in response to litigation. The RIM professional must collaborate with both IT and legal to ensure that the organization’s records retention schedule is being followed and that records requested are produced easily and within the time allotted by law. An e-discovery request can be complicated by lack of policies controlling email use, external drives by employees, mobile devices and their individual storage, and slow and cluttered servers. The RIM professional must stay current with the technological trends that would speed e-discovery requests as well as develop policies that support proper disposition and legal record holds.

Email is a technology that has all but replaced paper memos in an organization. The records and information manager must participate in the discussion on organizational email storage and retention policies. There can often be a conflict between departments in the correct retention. The IT department is primarily concerned with the capacity of the organization’s servers and how much information they can hold. Excessive email storage can burden servers and disrupt communications by slowing processing times. The legal department might view each permanently deleted email as intellectual information lost that might be useful to a legal proceeding. The regular employer or user of the email platform might want to hold on to emails for reference to conversations or attachments. It is the responsibility of the RIM professional to reconcile these disparities and develop a retention schedule that both satisfies each department and limits the risk of litigation that can be increased with too early or too late disposition. More frequently, RIM and IT find common ground in the utilization of an enterprise content management platform like SharePoint which allows a record’s lifecycle to be tracked.

Technology impacts the archival field in many ways. First, the archivist must react to the changes in how the user interacts with the record. For example, many users of archival information and researchers enjoy the convenience of viewing a record in an online environment. The archivist will take the time to digitize objects such as audiovisual media so that they can be viewed and heard from the comfort of the user’s personal or work computer. An archivist must also understand file formats and know the appropriate time to migrate to newer or open source formats. They can also utilize digital preservation programs such as Digital Archive that can make these decisions automatically.

These are just a few examples of changing technology and the response that a RIM professional and archivist must have. The RIM professional and archivist can best stay current on technological changes by attending and participating in conferences hosted by relevant organizations such as ARMA and Society of American Archivists (SAA), reading current peer reviewed journals, contributing to studies and research in the field, and by collaborating with peers and experts in all bordering fields such as IT and legal.

Supporting Evidence

MARA 200 Final Paper – Amanda Stowell

This work submitted covers the early years of recordkeeping and the trends and early inventions that shaped the field. While the definition of a record has not changed, the manner in which it is created and the form in which it takes has. It is important for the records and information manager or archivist to understand the origination of the record and the growth and change of the field.

MARA 211 Final Paper – Amanda Stowell

This work submitted cover the technological trend of mobile devices and their impact on the RIM profession. In response to this trend, organizations that see the potential risks have implemented policies to harness the increased productivity of their employees while mitigating the increased risk. This work supports my understanding of the importance of response to technological change.

284-10 Mid-Term Paper – Amanda Stowell

This work submitted shows my understanding of cloud services, software as a service (SaaS), and digital preservation and the roles they play and how they interact in the RIM and archival fields. Cloud services are a technological response to the increasing needs of organizations in the storage of their records and information. Additionally, SaaS has become a more frequently used way in which RIM professionals and archivists utilize their programs.

MARA 284-11 IG Technology Alignment – Amanda Stowell

This work submitted is a portion of my information governance (IG) project and required that I align the technology of my fictitious organization with the IG policy that I developed. In order to complete this, I had to research the current technological field of RIM and IT and ensure that the technology utilized by the organization was supportive of the IG policy and business goals. An organizational policy that is unsupported by its employed technology is effectively useless and will likely fail.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that technology impacts every corner of the RIM and archival fields. I have been able to apply the technological knowledge and skills that I have acquired in the MARA program through many opportunities. First, when I first learned about the term bring-your-own-device (BYOD) I began to systematically quiz persons in my daily interactions on their organization’s mobile device and personal device policies. I actually learned that many of those organizations did not have an official policy. In fact, I remember only speaking to one person who was explicitly aware of their company policy and how it affected their work/personal device interactions. While I was surprised to learn of the lack of policies, these conversations opened the door to conversation and provided me the opportunity to educate these individuals on the importance of separating their personal information from their work and consequences of not using proper security protocols on their devices.

From an archival standpoint, I have been able to see the importance of keeping up with technological change by digitizing materials to make them more readily available for users and researchers on our archive website. It assists us greatly when patrons are able to view our collection online and then provide us with a specific object number when they find something that they would like to research further. Additionally, the presence of our online catalog reflects to potential donors the importance of our museum in staying current with the times and relevant to the patrons.

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